Russell HittingerLumen Christi Institute
THIS IS AN IN-PERSON EVENT. Open to current graduate students and University of Chicago Undergraduates. Others who are interested in participating should contact us. Copies of The Primacy of the Spiritual: On the Things that are not Caesar's (Cluny Media, 2020) will be provided for registrants.
Jacques Maritain (1882-1973) was perhaps the most influential Catholic social and political philosopher of the 20th century. He taught at Columbia and Princeton, and was a frequent guest lecturer at the University of Chicago, where he gave the Walgreen Lectures, later published as Man and the State (1951). Appointed the French Ambassador to the Holy See after WWII, Maritain’s thought influenced not only four popes but also the generation of bishops who attended the Second Vatican Council.
This master class will focus on his critique of Action Française, a right-wing integralism led by Charles Maurras and supported by many influential French Catholics, including Maritain himself. It’s slogan La politique d'abord! ("Politics first!") was condemned by Rome, causing Maritain to rethink his own position in The Primacy of the Spiritual (1927).
This is the first of a series of three master classes on the political thought of Jacques Maritain. Dates for the subsequent master classes are to be announced.
We turn to Maritain’s most important work, Integral Humanism (1936). Published on the eve of the Second World War, it had its most profound effect upon the post-war generation engaged in rebuilding Europe and eventually reforming the Church at the Council. In it, Maritain clearly proposes an alternative to the political integralisms of his era.
We take up Maritain’s mature political philosophy, encapsulated in his University of Chicago lectures. Man and the State reflects his recent work on human rights commissions, and it represents a fairly accurate testament of his philosophy of the nature and limits of political order.
If you have any questions about accessibility, please contact us.
Russell Hittinger is Senior Fellow at the Lumen Christi Institute, visiting professor at the University of Chicago Law School, and Professor Emeritus of Catholic Studies and Law at the University of Tulsa. He is also Ordinarius of the Pontifical Academy of the Social Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas. Hittinger is the author of many books, including A Critique of the New Natural Law Theory, The First Grace: Rediscovering Natural Law in a Post-Christian Age, Thomas Aquinas and the Rule of Law, and most recently Paper Wars: Catholic Social Doctrine and the Modern State (forthcoming).