Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Charles Larmore' has a review, in the latest New Republic, of Charles Taylor's "A Secular Age." Larmore finds the book "deeply disappointing". Larmore is, no doubt, smarter and more learned than I am, but I was not "disappoint[ed]" (even if I was exhausted) by Taylor's book at all. It is fascinating and provocative read.
Now, Larmore criticizes Taylor for writing a "book written by a Catholic for Catholics." But, A Secular Age is not such a book. (Though, even if it were, so what?). I'm not even sure what Larmore is getting at by labelling Taylor an "ardent" Catholic (I don't know anything about the "ardor" of Taylor's faith), but I'm pretty sure that (contrary to Larmore's suggestion) Taylor's attention -- which Larmore contrasts with Weber's approach -- to the connections between our world and that of medieval Christianity is not merely a function of this "ardor".
Larmore also points out some "slip-ups" in Taylor's book, but then proceeds to report, matter of factly -- but incorrectly -- that the "separation of church and state" "emerg[ed] in the seventeenth century after one hundred years of religious war in Europe."
Anyway . . . here is a link to a bunch of posts, over at the "Immanent Frame" blog, on Taylor's book. Check it out.