Thursday, May 29, 2008

Summer Reading List

Here is what I plan to read this summer. I just finished a winter-long Aquinas reading project, so these are my "fun books." Sad, isn't it?

Leo Strauss, History and Natural Right

I've lately become interested in various critiques of Natural Law theory. Leo Strauss' account is supposedly one of the more penetrating, and he is apparently critical of both the Enlightenment-era natural law tradition as well as the Scholastic formulation. This is interesting to me, since, in my view, those two natural law theories are diametrically opposed. I'm very interested to hear what Strauss has to say.

This book also contains a fairly extended critique of historicism, and reading it is part of my effort to understand the influence of Hegel and all his disciples on Western thinking. I've seen several intelligent critiques of contemporary Catholic theology which rest on the proposition that modern Catholic theology is deeply (and erroneously) dependent on historicist assumptions. This book occasionally gets invoked in those critiques, so I am very curious to see what all the fuss is about.

Philip Rieff, Triumph of the Therapeutic

This is one of those books that I've read about for a long time, but never actually got around to putting eyes on paper. It is a classic work of cultural analysis, and, from what I hear, gives one of the most damning critiques of contemporary Western culture that can be found.

Germain Grisez, Contraception and Natural Law

I'm perpetually of two minds on whether or not the Church's teachings on contraception are more coherently explained by natural law theory or by JPII's more biblical-patristic account, commonly referred to as "Theology of the Body" (readers take note - I despise that phrase, and henceforth will not use it in this blog)

This intellectual waffling of mine, combined with my questions on natural law theory in general (see Leo Strauss above) should make for a interesting read.

Leo Steinberg, The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion

Don't laugh. Several people for whom I have deep intellectual respect claim that this is one of the best books they've ever read.

As time permits, here's what else might be on tap:

Jean-Luc Marion, God Without Being

Supposedly contains a defense of Aquinas from Heidegger's "ontotheology" critique. Marion also has a (perhaps undeserved?) reputation as a "postmodern" philosopher. Should be interesting.

If Wikipedia is any indication, Marion seems to intersect a number of topics that have been on my mind lately....patristics, neo-Platonism, ontology, phenomenology/Personalism, Aquinas, La Nouvelle name it, he seems to be connected to it somehow

George Bernanos, Diary of a Country Priest

I am woefully inadequate in my reading of good literature. This book has a good reputation amongst intelligent and orthodox Catholics.

Anonymous, Meditations on the Tarot

Written by Valentin Tomberg, a convert to the Church from neo-pagan esotericism. Forward by von Balthasar. How much weirder can you get? A perfect "beach read" for philosophy/theology nerds.


Anonymous Roger Buck said...


Meditations on the Tarot.

This book liberated me from the New Age movement.

Or rather, I should rather say our Lord Jesus Christ called me to Him and His Church, through this book.

For which I am unspeakably grateful beyond anything I can ever say in words ...

But there are more words, futile as they are about this astonishing book at my website.

I wonder what you thought, if you found time to read it, John.


Sunday, May 31, 2009 11:34:00 AM  

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