Master Class on "The Integralism of Jacques Maritain" Part I

Sep 24, 2021
Gavin House
1220 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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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.  



For all events held at Gavin House, the Lumen Christi Institute follows Chicago Department of Public Health Guidance for in-person gatherings. Please see here for the city’s most up-to-date guidelines. These are guidelines subject to change.

If you have any questions about accessibility, please contact us.