Such is the wisdom of James Matthew Wilson that it appears a jewel precious in the eyes of Jason Peters.  This Peters will embarrass  and pester and spout folk wisdom, and then engage in poorly informed exegesis that confuses a slogan with a doctrine, until he gets more of it.  The question has never been whether there was more forthcoming nor how much irritation Wilson would have to suffer before being provoked from phlegmatic stupor to satisfy a country English professor with — it would seem — nothing better to do between teaching books and pulling weeds.  It has been rather a question of awe on the part of our author before a subject so vast that he doubts he could ever bring it to conclusion; for the local, the limited, the finite is always deeper and more expansive than he can comprehend.

Nevertheless, readers may barely recall that, when Wilson was still just a naïve father of two children, he promised to write an essay on “Localism and the Universal Church.”  When he was a slightly haggard father of three, he gestured toward making good on that promise, publishing in these nonexistent pages:

Part I “The Problem of Place.”

Part II “Against Rationalism, Idealism, and Abstraction”

Part III “Abstraction Rightly Understood

Now that Wilson is a father of four and only gets to write in his book-lined but thin-walled study, when fewer than two children are crying at once, he promises to move toward bringing his subject to a close this Wednesday, with Part IV, “The Parish and the Papacy,” to be followed by a fifth and concluding reflection on the theology of place as soon as Peters has completed his delectation of the fourth.

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James Matthew Wilson is Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities and Augustinian Traditions at Villanova University. An award-winning scholar of philosophical-theology and literature, he has authored dozens of essays, articles, and reviews on subjects ranging from art, ethics, and politics, to meter and poetic form, from the importance of local culture to the nature of truth, goodness, and beauty. Wilson is also a poet and critic of contemporary poetry, whose work appears regularly in such magazines and journals as First Things, Modern Age, The New Criterion, Dappled Things, Measure, The Weekly Standard, Front Porch Republic, The Raintown Review, and The American Conservative. He has published five books, including most recently, a collection of poems, Some Permanent Things and a monograph, The Catholic Imagination in Modern American Poetry (both Wiseblood Books, 2014). Raised in the Great Lakes State, baptised in the parish of St. Thomas Aquinas, seasoned by summers on Lake Wawasee (Indiana), and educated under the Golden Dome, Wilson is scion of a family of Hoosiers dating back to the early nineteenth century, and an offspring of Southside Chicago Poles whose tavern kept the city wet through the Depression (and prohibition) years.  He now lives under the same sentence of reluctant exile as many another native son of the Midwest, but has dug himself in for good on the margins of the Main Line in Pennsylvania with his beautiful wife, dangerous daughter, and saintly sons. For information on Wilson's scholarship and a selection of his published work, click here. See books written and recommended by James Matthew Wilson.

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