cracy, and lacked our means of rapidncommunication, the settled consensusnof the older members of the Senatenmight be overturned by the exigenciesnof active warfare, or the glory-seekingnof a general out of reach of easyncommunication. As someone who hasnlived in Italy for many years, I knownhow easy it is to plead the unreliabilitynof the Italian mail in order to avoidnanswering an embarrassing letter. Inn223 B.C. Consul Gains Flaminius setna precedent for this attitude by notnopening a message from a politicallynhostile Senate forbidding him to attacknthe dangerous Gallic tribes he was sentnto watch. He crossed the Po, won anvictory, and then opened the dispatch.nAlthough the irate Senate denied Flaminiusna triumph, they also instructednthe next year’s consul to continue tonwage vigorous war.nSince the conflicting attitudes foundnin Harris and Eckstein reflect theirndiverse political attitudes, are not thentwo books examples of “politicizing thenacademy”? I think not. Although neithernwas written in a political vacuum,ntheir arguments are grounded on readingnthe ancient sources carefully andninsightfully. Politicizing the academyninvolves rejecting traditional scholarlynstandards for faddish political ones, andnneither Harris nor Eckstein is guilty ofnthat.nContemporary historians are oftennled astray by an obsession with “newnquestions” with which to confront oldnsources. Eckstein’s masterful handlingnof the Greek sources shows that anthorough philological command of thenrelevant foreign languages is not onlynessential for progress in historical studies,nbut that it can still bear considerablenfruit in the form of original andnconvincing results.nWhen I said that Roman studiesncontinues to produce important newnscholars, I did not mean to imply thatnthe great figures in the study of ancientnhistory were not men raised in thenGolden Age before the First WorldnWar: Eduard Meyer,, Karl JuliusnBeloch, Gaetano de Sanctis, for instance.nIt strikes the reader ofnEckstein’s footnotes how often his newninsights are rooted in a query or parallelednby a comment made by one ofnthese great scholars, especially denSanctis. The futility of much contemporarynresearch is often the fault ofn38/CHRONICLESnyoung scholars’ ignorance of theirngreat predecessors, as ArnaldonMomigiliano once remarked to me.nEckstein’s control of past scholarship isnas impressive, and as rare, as his commandnof Polybian Greek.nA.E. Housman told his CambridgenInaugural audience in 1911:nClear wits and right thinking arenessentially neither of today nornyesterday, but historically theynare rather of yesterday than ofntoday: and to study the greatestnof the scholars of the past is tonenjoy intercourse with superiornminds. . . . Let us not disregardnour contemporaries, but let usnregard our predecessors more;nlet us be most encouraged byntheir agreement, and mostndisquieted by their dissent.nIt may seem paradoxical — though innfact it is not — that such an attitude isnthe true foundation for creativity in thenhumanities, today and tomorrow.nE. Christian Kopff teaches Greek andnLatin in Boulder, Colorado.nHolding the Fortnby Jeffrey TuckernJohn Cardinal O’Connor: At thenStorm Center of a ChangingnAmerican Catholic Churchnby Nat HentoffnNew York: Scribner’s;n320 pp., $19.95nJohn Cardinal O’Connor, the distinguishednand controversial head of thenarchdiocese of New York, has played annimportant role in affecting Americannpolitics, both inside and outside thenCatholic Church. He is the pope’s pointnman in the battle for the soul of the USnChurch, and some say if an Americannwere considered for the papacy. CardinalnO’Connor would be the likelynchoice.nThis book pairs the fascinating politicalnstruggles of the cardinal with thentalents of Nat Hentoff, the hardworkingnNew York journalist and radical socialncritic, often praised for his fairmindednessnand attention to detail. Anself-described “Jewish atheist,” Hentoffnnnwrites a strongly sympathetic chroniclenof the cardinal’s battles with critics,nmainly leftist interest groups.nAmong those assaulting the cardinalnwith demands are feminists, peace activists,nhomosexual groups, Jewish leaders.nThe New York Times, and New YorknGovernor Mario Cuomo. The feministsnwant him to reverse the Catholicnstand against birth control, abortion,ndivorce, and ordaining women to thenpriesthood. The peaceniks describenhim as a Ghengis Khan among thenAmerican Catholic bishops (where thenopposite is more often true, as Hentoffnshows). New York’s Jewish leaders vehemenflyncriticize the cardinal for upholdingnthe Vatican position on Israelnand for being sympathetic toward thenidea of a Palestinian homeland. GovernornCuomo and the cardinal havennearly come to blows on the issue ofnabortion. O’Connor stands firmnthroughout.nThe most outrageous potshots at thencardinal have come from New Yorknhomosexuals. While the cardinal hasnmet with them, expressed concern forntheir plight, and visited hospitals tonpray with AIDS patients, he will notnapprove of their behavior or grant themnequal status in the church. Homosexualngroups have harassed him, and evennunfurled banners vvhile the cardinalncelebrated Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedralnin New York. One Sunday duringnHoly Communion, a group of homosexualsnwalked up front with signsnaround their necks reading, “I don’tnreceive communion from bigots,” andnthen turned and walked back.nThe cardinal’s theological conservatismnstems from his commitment to thenchurch and his unswerving loyalty tonPope John Paul II. Hentoff largelynrespects this, but regrets that this loyaltynalso kept the cardinal from condemningnthe diplomatic meetings betweennthe Holy Father and KurtnWaldheim, the president of CatholicnAustria.nYet Hentoff and the cardinal agreenon more political issues than they disagreenon. They both support the burgeoningnUS welfare state as a test ofncompassion for the poor, thereby ignoringnthe reams of scholarship thatnreveal the connection between statenwelfare and poverty. Hentoff agreesnwith the American bishops’ letters onneconomics and nuclear arms, both ofn