Ed Driscoll

It's Not Your Grandfather's Time Magazine

Reading Alan Brinkley’s recent book The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century, I’ve been struck by how much Luce’s early experience as a devout Christian growing up with Presbyterian missionary parents who sought to spread Christianity in turn of the 20th century China influenced his thinking when he founded Time magazine in the early 1920s, at the young age of 23.

Of course, once Luce was no longer associated with the magazine some forty years later, his successors  have certainly done their best to run as far away as possible from its founder’s vision of a conservative (as it was understood in the first half of the 20th century) American news and opinion magazine. In 1966, foreshadowing the collapse of the American overculture by the end of the 1960s, the magazine famously asked, “Is God Dead?” on its cover, echoing the similarly epochal statement from Nietzsche almost a century earlier.

This week, the magazine flips the eschatological equation on its head: “Is Hell Dead?”

Of course, take it all with a grain of salt. The article is by former Newsweek honcho Jon Meacham, who long ago identified the chief deity his own personal universe orbits around.

(Not surprisingly, Matt Drudge is having a little devilish mischief with Time’s epistemological inquiry himself.)

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The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century (Vintage)