Long before he became one of the most influential liberal theorists of the 20th century, John Rawls was an aspiring Episcopal priest, writing an undergraduate thesis on sin, grace, and salvation. Eric Nelson demonstrates that the arguments in that thesis are recapitulated, in secularized form, in Rawls’s major philosophical work, A Theory of Justice—written after Rawls had cast aside his Christian faith. In the earlier work, Rawls rejects the supposition that righteous deeds can ever merit divine rewards; in the later, that hard work and ingenuity can ever merit earthly rewards.
The Anti-Jewish Roots of John Rawls’s Political Philosophy
The American Association of University Professors Celebrates Anti-Semitism
Last week, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), an influential academic organization, announced that Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi of San Francisco State University would receive one of its annual awards, citing her “courage, persistence, political foresight, and concern for human rights . . . in her scholarship, teaching, [and] public advocacy” as well as her efforts to “advance the agenda for social change in Palestine, the United States, and internationally.” Those efforts, notes Jonathan Marks, include supporting the exclusion of the Jewish campus group Hillel from a university-wide event, and lambasting the school’s president for apologizing for that exclusion: