Alan Jacobs


 Alan Jacobs is a distinguished professor of humanities in the honors program at Baylor University and a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. A prolific essayist, reviewer, and blogger, he is the author of The Year of Our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism in an Age of Crisis“The Book of Common Prayer”: A Biography, and The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, among others.

Tending the Digital Commons

from The Human and the Digital, Volume 20, Number 1

The complexities of social media ought to prompt deep reflection on what we all owe to the future, and how we might discharge this debt.

The Witness of Literature

from The Body in Question, Volume 17, Number 2

To the arguments of Huxley and Tyndall against traditional religion, Yeats had no answer until literature and the other arts came to the rescue.

Alexander Herzen and the Plural World

Herzen won’t stop striving for social transformation with every ounce of energy he has, but also won’t pick up Chernyshevsky’s axe.

Handmind in Covidtide

By forcibly breaking some of our technological habits, Covidtide creatively destabilizes others.

Against Projection; For Promise

To make promises, to stand by one words, to be answerable for them, is to open oneself to blame.


Time to adopt a new hero: Lew Archer, private detective.

Weird Tales

Ghost stories and other tales of horror concern unpredictable, sometimes ambiguous or indescribable, forces that display hostility or at best indifference to us.

79 Theses on Technology: Of Techniques and "Technology"

If you listen to the machine telling you how to get out of it you only get sucked into it more, like a con artist that lulls you into trust by telling you he is conning you. The promised liberation from technology is usually just another technology that you don’t recognize as such. This is one reason why a fuller appreciation of our diverse techniques is so vital.

An Interview With Alan Jacobs

Humility, laziness, true confessions, and The Karate Kid—an interview with Alan Jacobs on his 79 Theses for Disputation.

79 Theses on Technology: Jacobs Responds to O’Gorman

Once you start to think of technologies as having desires of their own you are well on the way to the Borg Complex: we all instinctively understand that it is precisely because tools don’t want anything that they cannot be reasoned with or argued with. And we can become easily intimidated by the sheer scale of technological production in our era. Eventually we can end up talking even about what algorithms do as though algorithms aren’t written by humans.

79 Theses on Technology: Jacobs Responds to Wellmon

The resources of the household are indeed limited, and the steward does indeed have to make decisions about how to distribute them, but such matters do not mark him as a “sovereign self” but rather the opposite: a person embedded in a social and familial context within which he has serious responsibilities.