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The Year of Our Lord 1943

Original price $33.95 - Original price $33.95
Original price $33.95
$33.95 - $33.95
Current price $33.95
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date:
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 280
Availability: In Stock
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Christian Humanism in an Age of Crisis

By early 1943, it had become increasingly clear that the Allies would win the Second World War. Around the same time, it also became increasingly clear to many Christian intellectuals on both sides of the Atlantic that the soon-to-be-victorious nations were not culturally or morally prepared for their success. A war won by technological superiority merely laid the groundwork for a post-war society governed by technocrats. These Christian intellectuals-Jacques Maritain, T. S. Eliot, C. S. Lewis, W. H. Auden, and Simone Weil, among others-sought both to articulate a sober and reflective critique of their own culture and to outline a plan for the moral and spiritual regeneration of their countries in the post-war world.

In this book, Alan Jacobs explores the poems, novels, essays, reviews, and lectures of these five central figures, in which they presented, with great imaginative energy and force, pictures of the very different paths now set before the Western democracies. Working mostly separately and in ignorance of one another's ideas, the five developed a strikingly consistent argument that the only means by which democratic societies could be prepared for their world-wide economic and political dominance was through a renewal of education that was grounded in a Christian understanding of the power and limitations of human beings. The Year of Our Lord 1943 is the first book to weave together the ideas of these five intellectuals and shows why, in a time of unprecedented total war, they all thought it vital to restore Christianity to a leading role in the renewal of the Western democracies.

Editorial Reviews

"This book is a valuable contribution to the intellectual history of the mid--twentieth century. Jacobs deals adeptly with Christian humanism in the context of the crises of the 1930s and World War II. As such, the monograph will appeal to, among others, intellectual historians, political theorists, as well as scholars of human rights and religion."

-- Andrew L. Williams, Indiana University-Pursue University Indianapolis, Religious Studies Review

"...the book offers an accessible introduction to the thought of five major twentieth--century intellectuals, each of whom has been the subject of a daunting amount of writing. It also succeeds in conveying some of the anxieties, preoccupations and experiences of British and French Christian intellectuals in wartime."

-- Matthew Grimley, University of Oxford, MODERN BELIEVING

"Jacobs's fascinating and important book ... offers a rich resource for anyone who wishes to think seriously about the way in which Christians can engage their societies in the face of the current crises they encounter."

-- Maikki Aakko, Journal of the Oxford Graduate Theological Society

"an excellent work revealing great erudition yet doing so with a writing style that could do credit to a New Yorker piece."

-- Justus D. Doenecke, Anglican and Episcopal History

"This is an interesting book about Christian humanism in an age of crisis, specifically during the Second World War."

-- David Lorimer, Paradigm Explorer

" The Year of Our Lord 1943 is a fascinating and insightful reflection on intellectuals' reaction to perceived crisis. In their literary, philosophical, journalistic and private writings, Eliot, Weil, Maritain, Auden, and Lewis expressed their fear that humanity was approaching a destructive crisis of its own making. The book's elegant style and gripping prose linger with the reader, along with a persistent reflection on the desirable and possible intellectual reactions to contemporary man-made crises, and on the human moral values worth preserving as a guidance for the future."

-- Or Rosenboim, H-Diplo

"Jacobs's biographical method is, in many ways, the star of the show. Letting his characters' voices weave themselves together, Jacobs aptly pulls them into common points of reflection."

-- Peter Boumgarden, The Christian Century

"We end our reading of the book vastly better informed about the culture and thought of the 1940s, and amply equipped to see how those ideas would resonate over the next three or four decades. Alan Jacobs has written book."

--Phillip Jenkins, The Englewood Review of Books

"Alan Jacobs weaves a remarkable tale of five major Christian thinkers striving to make sense of a world in chaos and to speak wisdom to that world. This is a major achievement, wonderfully readable, the crowning work of our own era's most resourceful Christian intellectual."

--Charles Marsh, Commonwealth Professor of Religious Studies and Director of the Project on Lived Theology, University of Virginia

"Alan Jacob's prose wears immense learning lightly, with great grace and to great effect. To think alongside these writers, under Jacobs's stage direction, to hear them across a gap of three-quarters of a century think with gravity and sincerity, pondering the nature of the human soul, palpably straining toward the ideal of the common good, feeling the pull of their religion's perennial pitfalls, in a situation and language different from and yet not wholly unlike our own, is riveting, challenging, and life-giving."

--Lori Branch, author of Rituals of Spontaneity

"Alan Jacobs has written an elegant and deeply learned book on Christian humanism in the critical years of the Second World War. He opens a window into some of the most luminous and profound thinking about the nature and possibilities of civilization during those troubled years. By doing so, has opened a window for thinking about our own troubled times."

-James D. Hunter, author of To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World

"Jacobs seems to have written this with an eye to the time between the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s and the events of 9/11, when it seemed that democracy had finally achieved peace, only to find it widely rejected. His look at how these five figures struggled with similar turns of events is worth pondering."

-- Library Journal

"While Jacobs can only begin to scratch the surface of such complex debates, his book is an erudite collective portrait of postwar Christian intellectuals."
-- Publishers Weekly

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The Thinkers behind the Classical Revival

Simone Weil, Lewis, Auden, Elliot, and Maritain is a cast of important characters to understand in modern Christianity. Within these pages, it is revealed why and how these figures engaged with the decline of Western Civilization and Christianity and their proposed solution to heal society.

Spoiler: A case is made for classical education!