Digby Anderson

Christmas comes but once a week

In the 2 December 1995 edition, Digby Anderson bemoans a Britain in which people just cannot postpone any pleasure: not crisps, not carols. Christmas was and still is regarded as a time of feasting. Traditionally, however, the feasting started on 25 December and went on to 2 February, the feast of Candlemas. Now, the feasters

Give me stress

Christmas is one of the few remaining occasions when the English feel obliged to cook a proper meal at home. To help them, in the autumn, kind publishers bring out lots of huge, glossy books. The idea, or collusive polite fiction, is that the cooks read the books carefully, plan their meals, buy ingredients and

So farewell, John Bull

His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Fisher, keen to counter the dreadful spectre of the atomic bomb in the 1950s, observed that the very worst it could do would be to sweep a vast number of people at one moment from this world into the other, more vital world, into which anyhow they must

Taking it lying down

Europe thinks ‘that to achieve peace no price is too high: not appeasement, not massacres on its own soil, not even surrender to terrorists… Europe is impotent. A foul wind is blowing through [it]… the idea that we can afford to be lenient even with people who threaten us… This same wind blew through Munich

Hard acts to follow

Listing page content here At a time when Israel was under the rule of the Philistines, the angel of the Lord appeared to a certain barren woman and promised her a son who would deliver Israel. This son, Samson, when grown meets and wishes to marry a Philistine girl. On his way to her he

The case of the curious Christian

Alan Jacobs quotes Philip Hensher on C. S. Lewis: ‘Let us drop C. S. Lewis and his ghastly, priggish, half-witted money-making drivel about Narnia down the nearest deep hole … They are mean-minded books, written to corrupt the minds of the young with allegory, smugly denouncing anything that differs in the slightest respect from Lewis’s

The barbarians within the gates

Spectator readers have known of Dr Dalrymple for many years through his regular column in this magazine. Every week we muddled our way through, unreflectively finding life all right and other people not so bad. Then, on Fridays we took Dr Dalrymple’s little magic pill and suddenly saw that we were knee-high in a rising

The heresy of explanation

The Pentateuch belongs to all sorts of different people and I cannot speak for them and their needs, so I’ll stick with what I know. Most of my church friends rarely read the first five books of the Bible because they rarely read the Bible. They own Bibles, of course, several, maybe a Vulgate, a

The god that has failed to fail

Atheists were rare before the mid-18th century. The 200 years from then to the mid 20th century were their moment, especially among intellectuals. Much opinion imagines their success will continue. Professor McGrath thinks it has already turned into decline. ‘Religion and faith are destined to play a central role in the 21st century.’ He here

Somewhat concerning food

Alice Thomas Ellis is not a person to be trusted — in the kitchen. I am surprised to find this. I have always admired her elsewhere, in her novels for instance. But there is no doubt that when it comes to food she is simply left-wing. She makes steak and kidney pudding without the kidney.

The crushing burden of proof

Anthony Kenny does not believe in the existence of God, but his disbelief is qualified and complex. He does not believe that the existence of God can be proved through something like the five Thomist ‘proofs’: they depend too much on ‘outdated Aristotelian cosmology’. Further, he thinks that the traditional attributes of God such as

Go to work on Christmas Day…

Good generals know when it is time to give up an impossible defence and seek a more secure position to hold. It is time to give up Christmas. It is now utterly overrun by the combined forces of sentimentality, irreligion, bad manners and worse taste. I do not say that on ‘the day’, as it

An intolerant sort of liberal

In 1845 Newman was received into the Roman Catholic Church. More than a century and a half later, the fires of controversy ignited by the Oxford Movement which he led, as an Anglican priest, until his reception, seem to have died down. Newman himself is widely regarded as a great Christian apologist and a sympathetic

The organisation man

In 1743, 393 livings within the gift of the Archbishop of York were occupied by clergymen who did not live within that diocese and another 335 incumbents held plural livings. One bishop of Winchester distributed 30 incumbencies among his family. The Church of England was corrupt and slumbered. The facts of John Wesley’s life and

Sniggling with a darning needle

I have always counted myself a loyal, even an enthusiastic eel fan. I seek them out and buy them whenever I can find them live: they deteriorate quickly and should be killed just before cooking. The French like to buy them skinned. This is a culinary error and usually, though not necessarily, means they are