Rémi Brague, emeritus professor of medieval and Arabic philosophy at the University of Paris I and Romano Guardini Chair Emeritus of Philosophy at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (Munich), has published The Kingdom of Man: Genesis and Failure of the Modern Project. The book is part of the Catholic Ideas for a Secular World series, edited by O. Carter Sneed, and published by the University of Notre Dame Press.
In this eagerly awaited English translation of Le Règne de l’homme, the last volume of Brague’s trilogy on the philosophical development of anthropology in the West, he argues that with the dawn of the Enlightenment, Western societies rejected the transcendence of the past and looked instead to the progress fostered by the early modern present and the future. As scientific advances drained the cosmos of literal mystery, humanity increasingly devalued the theophilosophical mystery of being in favor of omniscience over one’s own existence. Brague narrates the intellectual disappearance of the natural order, replaced by a universal chaos upon which only humanity can impose order; he cites the vivid histories of the nation-state, economic evolution into capitalism, and technology as the tools of this new dominion, taken up voluntarily by humans for their own end rather than accepted from the deity for a divine purpose.
“Amid the continuing stream of books about modernity, Rémi Brague’s The Kingdom of Man stands alone. His treatment of the modern age is at once complex and unified, rooted in stunning erudition and an ability to construct a compelling narrative. Completing a trilogy that includes previous books on antiquity and the middle ages, Brague provides an account of the sources—textual, political, economic, and ecclesial—of our current world for which there is no substitute and no current competitor.” —Thomas S. Hibbs, Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Culture, Baylor University
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