Garry Wills is a brilliant man and has made clear many aspects of the history and practice of Christianity, including those often difficult to grasp. He is not, however, infallible.
Arguably, any publication that provokes further inquiry into the life of Christ is of value; yet one can also imagine that great harm can come from statements spoken with such enormous assurance — and especially when the subject of one’s polemic is certitude.
A Pulitzer Prize-winner, Garry Wills is almost alarmingly interesting — so much so, that one could be forgiven for imagining that the subtle temptation of the serpent may lie just beneath the wisdom of the dove — with one alluring idea after another, so thought-provoking it could take one’s breath away. There’s a reason for that intellectual come-hitherness that does not lie too far from the surface, that was revealed In a 2010 interview with Robert Siegel on NPR, as Wills noted:
“There’s practically no minute of the day that I don’t have a book in hand.”
That’s an astonishing statistic, if so, an explains his prolific output, as well, over the years.
“Most of the good things that have happened in my life happened because of books,” he acknowledged, and that would certainly be an ongoing incentive to keep reading — and for Professor Wills to keep writing.
It is quite unsettling, however, to realize that even with this fierce intellectual force he brings to bear, he seems to have somehow misunderstood — to put it charitably — some of the most essential aspects of the nature of the Roman Catholic Church.