Christopher Dawson

Christopher Dawson

A Cultural Mind in the Age of the Great War

by Joseph T. Stuart

6.00 x 9.00 x 0.00 in

  • Paperback
  • 9780813234571
  • Published: January 2022

$29.95

BUY
  • eBook
  • 9780813234588
  • Published: January 2022

$29.95

BUY

The English historian Christopher Dawson (1889-1970) was the first Catholic Studies professor at Harvard University and has been described as one of the foremost Catholic thinkers of modern times. His focus on culture prefigured its importance in Catholicism since Vatican Council II and in the rise of mainstream cultural history in the late twentieth century. How did Dawson think about culture and why does it matter? Joseph T. Stuart argues that through Dawson’s study of world cultures, he acquired a "cultural mind" by which he attempted to integrate knowledge according to four implicit rules: intellectual architecture, boundary thinking, intellectual asceticism, and intellectual bridges. Dawson’s multilayered approach to culture, instantiating John Henry Newman’s philosophical habit of mind, is key to his work and its relevance. By it, he responded to the cultural fragmentation he sensed after the Great War (1914-1918).

Stuart supports these claims by demonstrating how Dawson formed his cultural mind practicing an interdisciplinary science of culture involving anthropology, sociology, history, and comparative religion. Stuart shows how Dawson applied his cultural thinking to problems in politics and education.

This book establishes how Dawson’s simple definition of culture as a "common way of life" reconciles intellectualist and behavioral approaches to culture. In addition, Dawson’s cultural mind provides a synthesis helpful for recognizing the importance of Christian culture in education. It demonstrates principles which construct a more meaningful cultural history. Anyone interested in the idea of culture, the connection of religion to the social sciences, Catholic Studies, or Dawson studies will find this book an engaging and insightful intellectual history.