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The Church Confronts Modernity: Catholic Intellectuals and the Progressive Era First Edition Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0231131865
ISBN-10: 0231131860
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Editorial Reviews


Precociously wise... magnificent.

(Paul Gottfried The American Conservative)

A lucid and accessible book

(Eugene McCarraher A Christian Review)

This book will be a valuable resource...Highly recommended.

(P. J. Hayes Choice)

The Church Confronts Modernity is provocative, well-written, and deserves to be read.

(Margaret Mary Reher Catholic Historical Review)

It is written with great clarity and fluency, making the complex philosophical and theological concepts approachable... This is a very important book which will be indispensable reading for scholars interested in the history of religion.

(Frank Lennon Journal of American Studies)

It moves briskly and gracefully through the thorny issues confronting the Church during the first two decades of the 20th century... An effective and detailed examination of Catholic intellectual life during a little studied period.

(Thomas G. Guarino Theological Studies)

This book is well worth reading. It is well written, well researched, and the thesis put forth is well argued.

(Patrick W. Carey Journal of American History)

Provocative... Woods thoughtful study casts new light on the Catholic response to the culture of progressivism.

(Michael J. Lacey American Catholic Studies)

Well written... Worthwhile contributions to the literature.

(Deirdre Moloney American Historical Review)


Though he is writing about the Progressive Era, Thomas Woods deals with issues that are still both timely and relevant. He explores how American Catholics redefined the limits of faith and doctrine in an age of social and intellectual transformation, a time when cherished orthodoxies seemed ever more at odds with secular assumptions. The Church Confronts Modernity is thoughtful, well-written and rewarding.

(Philip Jenkins, Distinguished Professor of History and Religious Studies, Pennsylvania State University)

The implications of the thesis put forth by Thomas E. Woods, Jr., are potentially revolutionary for the academy, the Catholic Church, and American society. The author makes a compelling case that the Catholic intellectual critique of the scholarship of the progressive era was characterized not only by theological commitment but by philosophical sophistication and a selective and well thought out openness to whatever was useful in secular educational approaches. Furthermore, he argues that this substantial critique laid the seeds for a period of outstanding Catholic academic accomplishments from the 1920s through the 1950s. Thus does Woods demolish simultaneously the smug progressive secular charge that the idea of a "Catholic intellectual" represented a contradiction in terms and the self-serving claim made by contemporary masochistic American Catholic progressives that pre-conciliar Catholic scholarship in the United States represented an intellectual wasteland. The Church Confronts Modernity might actually serve to jump start, once again, the Catholic intellectual attempt to "restore all things in Christ" at a time when more and more thoughtful citizens are starting to seriously question the fruits of secular modernity.

(Joseph A. Varacalli, director, Nassau Community College Center

for Catholic Studies and cofounder, Society of Catholic Social Scientists)

A brilliant study, The Church Confronts Modernity illumines a period of recent American history too long neglected by first-rate scholars. We all stand indebted to Professor Woods' deep and insightful analysis of Catholic thought in what was the increasingly hostile milieu of the Progressive Era. Indispensable!

(Donald J. D'Elia, State University of New York, New Paltz)

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Product Details

  • Series: Religion and American Culture
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; First Edition edition (June 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231131860
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231131865
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,812,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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