A Secular Age

Feast of Theophany and St. Theophane the Recluse
A Secular Age by Charles Taylor

Taylors_Secular_Age_Square.jpgWE MODERNS tend to believe in God reflectively rather than reflexively. Such a reduction is useful in navigating one of the most important contributions to the definition of the secular. Having described the nature of the person in Sources of the Self, Taylor seeks to understand the person-in-the-world: “How did we move from a condition where . . . people lived naively within a theistic construal, to one in which we all shunt between two stances? This is the transformation that I want to describe, and perhaps also (very partially) explain… This will not be easy to do.” Certainly not; but his qualification is belied by the conversational tone of his prose, the ease with which he draws one intellectual movement after another into relation with a guiding quest to describe the nature of belief and unbelief, incidentally giving the reader a spiritual history of Western civilization. Taylor offers a fine summary: “Our faith is not the acme of Christianity, nor is it a degenerate version; it should rather be open to a conversation that ranges over the whole of the last 20 centuries… What this fragmentary and difficult conversation point toward is the Communion of Saints… a communion of whole lives, of whole itineraries towards God.” That a host of unbelievers and believers occupy this conversation indicates Taylor’s attention to doubt and sanctity.

874 pp. cloth $50.00

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