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Christianity and European Culture: Selections from the Work of Christopher Dawson (Worlds of Christopher Dawson)

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0813209142
ISBN-10: 0813209145
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  • Christianity and European Culture: Selections from the Work of Christopher Dawson (Worlds of Christopher Dawson)
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Those concerned with the state of liberal education or the interrelationship of culture, education, and religion will find the late Dawson's essays of more than historical interest. The ones gathered here, written between 1930 and 1960, reflect a struggle on three fronts--against Fascism, against Stalinism, and against secularism--that dates but doesn't archaize them. The question Dawson keeps returning to is that of the relationship between Christianity and European culture. Because Dawson sees the two as being intrinsically connected, he sees an assault on either as an assault on both. That will be instructive for readers trying to make sense of the current "culture wars," debates over multiculturalism, and passionate arguments about language. Dawson's insistence that a common language and a common culture are essential for civilization puts him in the "conservative" camp, but he attends to culture with a seriousness that will interest multiculturalists and to education with a seriousness that will interest those all along the political-cultural spectrum who are committed to obtaining something more from teaching and learning than technique. Steve Schroeder

Review

"A profound collection of essays from the vast corpus of Dawson studies. . . . Dawson remains an essential teacher about the content of the modern mind and whence it came. His judgments about man's worldly and transcendent meaning are always on the mark." -- James V. Schall, S.J., Georgetown University

"No one was more keenly aware than Christopher Dawson of the need to recover a sense of Western history-and Christianity's centrality to that history-in order to understand the modern world in which we live. Russello's selections from Dawson provide a marvelous introduction to the thought of an unjustly neglected twentieth-century giant. A great book that I hope will lead to the republication of all of Dawson. -- Dr. Robert Royal, Ethics and Public Policy Center

"Superbly introduced and shrewdly chosen, this selection of hard-to-find Dawson essays is a powerful contribution. It covers all the central themes of this greatest of all historians of Christian cultures." -- Michael Novak, American Enterprise Institute
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Product Details

  • Series: Worlds of Christopher Dawson
  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: The Catholic University of America Press (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813209145
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813209142
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #288,553 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Christopher Dawson (1889-1870) was a Roman Catholic author and historian. He, along with a number of fellow coverts, created a Renaissance of English Catholic scholarship.
This book contains the full text of Dawson's 1960 work, "The Historic Reality of Christian Culture," as well as several essays touching on the general theme of Christianity and European culture. "The Historic Reality of Christian Culture" is an important work explaining why one can speak of a Christian culture. As Dawson notes, no one would describe Arabic culture without a mention of Islam, but when it comes to Europe, culture is discussed as if Christianity wasn't a significant factor.
The essays in this work are excellent. In particular, I liked the essay "The Classical Tradition and Christianity." The merging of Christianity and Classical Culture was one of the most momentous facts in world history. In "The Secularization of Western Culture," Dawson draws attention to the neglected figure of Tommaso Campanella, whom he regards as the forerunner of modern revolutionary socialism.
There is one other collection of essays by Dawson that I'm aware of: DYNAMICS OF WORLD HISTORY. It is a bit lengthier and contains some of the same essays, as well as essays on a broader range of topics. In addition, after this work was published, Catholic University Press started publishing Dawson's Collected Works.
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Format: Paperback
Dawson was one of the great historians of western, christian culture. He also brought a knowledge of sociology and psychology to the study of the basis for our classic western civilization. His thesis is quite simple, a culture is a reflection of the ethics and beliefs of the people who form the base society. While western culture is much more "diverse" than many contemporary academics wish to admit, the foundation of our art, literature, law, (as well as religion), all lie in our Christian experience and world view. One of Dawson's more prescient points is the correlation between a religious foundation for our civilization and the seperation of same which has recently led to a deterioration of the basic values and mores that have given the western world all that we hold dear. While written several decades ago, many of Dawson's observations prove to be almost prophetic. If you are a fan of the "permanent things", or are at all concerned with the question of how to restore our way of life, you will want to read this book.
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