The Year Of Our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism In An Age Of Crisis
By: Alan Jacobs
Oxford University Press (August 2, 2018)
The Year Of Our Lord 1943 is an analysis of the thoughts and opinions of various Christian intellectuals emerging from World War Two. These
Two of my favorite quotes:
What kind of world would be left to us when the Axis powers had suffered that “inevitable disaster”? There would be much remaking and reshaping to do: who would do it, and what principles would govern them? Such thoughts were on the minds of many, and some of the more ambitious and provocative ideas emerged from a small group of Christian intellectuals. This was a time—it seems so long ago now, a very different age, and one that is unlikely to return—when prominent Christian thinkers in the West believed that they had a responsibility to set a direction not just for churches but for the whole of society. And, stranger still, in that time, many of their fellow citizens were willing to grant them that authority—or at least to listen when they asserted it.
When education has worked well in England, he asserts, such circumstances “were not brought about by equality of opportunity. They were not brought about, either, by mere privilege; but by a happy combination of privilege and opportunity . . . of which no Education Act will ever find the secret.” 58 (This is a reference to the Education Act of 1944, mentioned in my preface.) This is as much as to say—in defiance of the nearly universal commitment to planning that Mannheim endorsed and that Tony Judt saw as one of the chief markers of the postwar world—that successful educational regimes can never be planned, can never be systematic, must inevitably be fortuitous when they exist at all. This is not a conclusion for which Eliot argues; it seems to be something closer to an axiom for him.