In his old age, the one-man publishing industry Harold Bloom, upon reaching the end of his critical survey of the complete works, took up a series of Last Questions. (I'm sorry, I meant to specify the complete works of Western Civilization.) Having watched with paternal dismay and disdain the petty and partisan bickering of his colleagues over the core curriculum of established masterpieces that make up the typical college reading list for English majors, he wrote The Western Canon to settle the matter. It turns out that the classics are the classics, the multiculturalists and feminists have no case whatsoever, now will they please shut up. Next Bloom looked in the mirror and asked, "Who is the greatest writer of them all?" The answer: in the field of literature, Shakespeare, by a country mile; and in the field of literary criticism, Bloom himself, for saying so. He accordingly turned the study of Shakespeare into a gnostic religion, and set forth its doctrine in Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human.Open PDF
For several years I have taught a course titled The Anthropology of Evil. I chose the term “anthropology,” not to indicate a restriction to the study of evil among primitive tribes, but rather to widen the lens to take in every relevant discipline: history, philosophy, theology, psychology, sociology, and current events.