Welcome to the quiet. Most of the time, my wife and I are the only two people here. I read and write. Catherine reads and tends the orchard. The world roars by, but now that I am retired, we engage it at a certain distance—or we try to, despite the current danger.
What you will find collected on this website are writings of mine on religion, literature, culture, and politics that have accrued over fifty years, along with an eclectic assortment of reviews and interviews. In the years ahead—time, strength, cash, and patience availing—I intend to write a book on the ancient Greek translation of the Jewish Bible as the greatest translation ever written; a book on the Jewish writers who dared to imagine God himself as a village Jew; and a book of more personal reflections on the religious literatures of the world, to be entitled The Library of the Gods. These are labors of love, undertaken in quiet.
Yet the world does have a way of walking in on us. These days, when I leave the peace of my retreat, it is most often to speak about one of two pressing global issues:
First, the dream of inter-religious peace. For the the 2018-2019 academic year I was Boston College's Corcoran Visiting Professor of Christian-Jewish Relations. In November 2018, Knopf published God in the Qur’an, prominently reviewed in The New York Times Book Review, Illuminating Islam's Peaceful Origins. A year later, Knopf published Religion As We Know It: An Origin Story. Most recently (2022), I have published a book of correspondence I had with my friend, Mark C. Taylor, titled A Friendship in Twilight: Lockdown Conversations on Death and Life, about many topics including religion, philosophy, academia and nature during the deadly 2020 double pandemic of COVID-19 and Trumpism.
Second, the crisis of climate change and the promise of religion as just possibly an ally that may be rallied to help meet it--for example, my three-part contribution to "Bending the Curve," a new video course offered on all campuses of the University of California. [Here's the shooting script for the three modules.]
So, yes, it’s quiet here, but within the quiet a lot is happening, and I hope to have more to report as work progresses. Stay as long as you like. No one will disturb you. And come back soon.
Jack Miles - www.jackmiles.com