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Christianity and the Secular (Blessed Pope John XXIII Lecture Series in Theology and Culture)

Christianity and the Secular (Blessed Pope John XXIII Lecture Series in Theology and Culture)

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  • ISBN-13: 9780268034917
  • Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
  • Release Date: Feb 28, 2006
  • Edition: 1
  • Pages: 112 pages
  • Dimensions: 0.40 x 8.75 x 5.75 inches


"As a contribution to the post-9/11 debate on religions, cultures, and societies, these lectures are as finely attuned to their moment as Robert Markus's classic 1970 study, Saeculum, which they update and extend. Christianity and the Secular challenges all who are concerned with the limits of the 'secular' to take better account of the shaping events and theories of the time in which the Roman Empire turned Christian. A beautifully measured book." —Mark Vessey, Canada Research Chair in Literature / Christianity and Culture, University of British Columbia
"At a time when the proper boundaries between the sacred and the secular are contested as never before, Robert Markus offers a subtle and persuasive analysis of the roots of this distinction in early Christian theology, including especially but not only the writings of Augustine. He argues that the idea of a secular realm of this-worldly practices and concerns, legitimate and independent on its own terms, is Christian in origin and can be defended on theological grounds. At the same time, he also shows that this theological conception of a secular realm need not lead to 'thin' liberalism or to an excessively individualistic view of society. He thus takes issue with leading strands of patristic scholarship—including some tendencies in his own earlier work—as well as engaging with a number of theologians who have recently argued that the secular realm is at best a necessary evil. The resulting work is a historically grounded, theologically sophisticated defense of the proper autonomy of secular public life, its autonomy from religious control, and its place as a legitimate sphere for Christian activity. This is a most timely work, which will further confirm Professor Markus's status as one of the foremost intellectual historians of our day." —Jean Porter, The John A. O'Brien Chair in Theology, University of Notre Dame   

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