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How Should We Then Live? (L'Abri 50th Anniversary Edition): The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture Paperback – March 3, 2005
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"This is a modern-day classic, one of Schaeffer's books that awakened me to how biblical truth affects all of life." -- --Charles Colson, founder, Prison Fellowship Ministries --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
"This is a modern-day classic, one of Schaeffer's books that awakened me to how biblical truth affects all of life."
—Charles Colson, founder, Prison Fellowship and the Colson Center for Christian Worldview
"There are books that quickly go out of print and there are books for the ages. How Should We Then Live? is one for the ages. Any serious thinker must read it again and again."
—Cal Thomas, Syndicated Columnist, Host, After Hours, Fox News Channel
"How Should We Then Live? was produced by a genius who cared about the battle of ideas. It's also the book I still recommend to students for a quick overview of 'the rise and decline of western thought and culture.' Schaeffer brilliantly takes readers from ancient times through the Renaissance, Reformation, and Enlightenment, then discusses the breakdown in philosophy and science and moves on to art, music, literature, film, and much else besides."
—Marvin Olasky, Editor in Chief, World News Group
"Go to any evangelical Christian gathering . . . and ask twenty people the simple question: 'What single person has most affected your thinking and your worldview?' If Francis Schaeffer doesn't lead the list of answers, and probably by a significant margin, I'd ask for a recount."
—Joel Belz, Founder, World magazine
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Top Customer Reviews
What Schaeffer sets out to do is follow the development of the Western philosophy of life from the decadence of Rome to the decadence of the modern world and explain what has gone wrong with our society. He also seeks to describe how a proper worldview balances the universal with the particulars and how most modern philosophies overstress one or the other to a fault.
Schaeffer's flaws are not many, but they are often great. He begins the book with a brief explanation of presuppositions--unfortunately, many of his own presuppositions give an otherwise welcome brief history a bad flavor.
Starting with his presupposition--pointed out ad infinitum by other reviewers--that all pre-Reformation Christianity is unquestionably bad, he grossly misinterprets the works of St. Thomas Aquinas, Dante, and Michelangelo, to name only a few. His view of Greco-Roman culture is also oversimplified. Ironically, for someone so keen on balancing the universals and the particulars, he is often only generally accurate in the broad strokes and does poorly on the particulars.
I've dwelt on the flaws, but this is still a good book. Just read it knowing that much of the early material is either oversimplified or misinterpreted.Read more ›
Schaeffer himself admits in the introduction that a comprehensive study of the rise and fall of Western thought and culture would be a near impossibility. He's right. But many times in the book I think he fell short. Schaeffer tends to explain concepts during certain periods in history very clearly, then assumes that the reader is familiar with other periods without the same foundation being laid. Again, as he said, the problem is he can't treat the subject comprehensively in only 258 pages (many of which are photographs). I also felt that Schaeffer was somewhat uncomfortable in knowing how to fit musical influences into the book. His musical statements don't seem to support some of his ideas very well at times. (However, he handles the influence of art quite well.) Also, as with any book examining culture that is 25 years old, much of the material is outdated. It's a shame that Schaeffer didn't live to see and comment on some of the events of the past decade.Read more ›
Schaeffer does an amazing job in tracing the coarse of ideas, where they came from, who originated them, and what they eventual lead to. Schaeffer's walk through time gives the modern reader a clear understanding of our own world, as we are able to clearly see where ideas came from and how they developed.
Though Schaeffer does not ever directly answer the question of "how should we then live," he does raise the question in the readers mind as he shows how we do live. Schaeffer traces the history of philosophy, religion, and science in the Western World. He begins with Rome (with the incorporation of Greek values) and proceeds through the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, Romanticism, Industrialism, Modernity and the post-modern world.
This is a very basic history covering the past 2000 years. However, there is substantial depth in this book. Schaeffer is able to extract the most important people and events that spurred the dominant ideas that have shaped Western Civilization, past and present, in a clear and concise manner.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in History, Philosophy, Religion, Science, Art, Culture and or Ideas. Schaeffer also provides an excellent chronological index for quick referencing along with over sixty pictures of notable people, places, and works of art.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very accurate and heart-wrenching survey and assessment concerning western history and its search for meaning. Christian truths are attested by history and reality. Read morePublished 6 days ago by P. Lorincz
I needed this book for a graduate course. It was well worth it and will become a part of my permanent library. Read morePublished 19 days ago by captiii
It was a little bit repetative....but I think its a well written, and inciteful assessment of the state of things... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bluecat
An excellent overview of the historical influences on western thought and culture.Published 1 month ago by Graeme Oliver Miller
Full of truth. Clearly states the reason of the belief system in today society.Published 2 months ago by S. Snavely
This is one of the most important books I've read for quite awhile. Francis Schaeffer gives a history of how culture has been shaped through the centuries by Christianity or the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Ron
The original 1976 edition was one of the most influential books in my life. I have a question, though. Is this simply a reprint of the first edition, with a new intrroduction? Read morePublished 3 months ago by Chuck Warman