The Nature of Political Philosophy
And Other Studies and Commentaries
Imprint: Catholic University of America Press
In his final collection of essays, Father Schall explores the life of faith across a dazzling array of subjects, from Martin Luther to bioethics. With his characteristic patience, brilliance, and careful tenacity, Father Schall interrogates profoundly what it means to try to be a citizen of the Kingdom of God in the city of Man. Never shying away from controversy, across 14 articles and 4 book reviews Father Schall investigates the critical themes of his life and scholarship: reason and revelation; the nature of modernity; literature and salvation; metaphysics and politics; and much more.
Whether the reader is new to Father Schall or a longtime student, this posthumously-published collection of essays offers a profound meditation on the nature of political philosophy, and particularly what it would mean for Catholicism to offer a political philosophy. From such fundamental considerations, Schall explores ethical, literary and legal themes, displaying his typical breadth and depth of engagement with all that is real.
Ultimately, Father Schall leads one on a Socratic enterprise, an education whereby one comes to question for oneself basic assumptions, and to dig deeper into the first principles as they are recalled in the orders of knowledge and being. While Father Schall has passed on to his reward, this collection of essays helps ensure that his lessons continue to guide, challenge and enrich students for generations to come.
"Throughout the book one cannot help but be aware that one is experiencing the privilege of listening in on the thoughts of a lively and capacious mind looking back on a lifetime of contemplation of God, the soul, and political life. Schall writes with lucidity, great intelligence, and that seemingly effortless erudition which is often attempted but rarely achieved."~J. Budziszewski, University of Texas at Austin
"These essays by Father Schall shed light on current controversies in our culture and political life. They clarify what is going on in ‘the modern project,’ the ideological attempt to replace natural law and the truth of things with human constructions. Schall uses aristotelian political philosophy to counter this project, and shows how Christian revelation does not cancel such philosophy but reinforces it. Faith confirms and expands human reason. He also shows how both ethics and the philosophy of human being require political philosophy for their completion, but political philosophy in turn is not the highest form of thinking. It needs to be completed by the philosophy of being. Most of the papers were written in the past decade, but the culminating essay, on Martin Luther’s influence on modernity, dates from four decades ago."~Robert S. Sokolowski, The Catholic University of America
"Georgetown University graduates once claimed to have ‘majored in Schall.’ Those fortunate souls will now be joined by a wider audience: one that can read, mark, and inwardly digest the penetrating thinking of a captivating human spirit and scintillating political philosopher who was also a holy priest and precisely the kind of Jesuit that St. Ignatius of Loyola had in mind."~George Weigel, Ethics and Public Policy Center