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Scholasticism & Politics
Scholasticism and Politics, originally a series of lectures given at the beginning of World War II, is renowned philosopher Jacques Maritain’s description of the relation of Christian revelation to human political life. Maritain asserts that social order should be distinguished by a convivium among the citizens, resting on a degree of consensus regarding the nature and purpose of society but allowing variance in the means of embracing the former and accomplishing the latter. As Fr. James V. Schall, S.J., notes in the Introduction: “To reread these lectures some eighty years after their subsequent publication is to measure how much the world has changed since then. At the same time, the basic intellectual tools to understand man’s ultimate destiny and the place of politics in that destiny remain pretty much the same, however seldom we hear them spelled out as we do here.”
Jacques Maritain (1882–1973) was perhaps the greatest Catholic philosopher of the twentieth century. A convert to Catholicism, Maritain wrote extensively on metaphysics, aesthetics, epistemology, ethics, social and political philosophy, and the philosophy of history—all under the guiding inspiration of the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas.
James V. Schall, S.J., is Professor Emeritus, Georgetown University, and the author of over thirty books, including Jacques Maritain: A Philosopher in the City, Roman Catholic Political Philosophy, and The Universe We Think In.
Waldemar Gurian (1902–1954) was a political scientist, author, and professor. Escaping Nazi Germany in 1939, Gurian joined the faculty at the University of Notre Dame and founded the journal The Review of Politics. Both the journal and Gurian himself were powerful forces within the Catholic intellectual revival of the twentieth century.