I’VE BEEN ON a Pierre Manent kick recently, whom a friend in Paris describes as “a giant, grossly under-rated in the Anglophone world and treated with considerable disdain even in France on account of not being a prisoner of ephemeral conventional wisdom. ”
Given the current penitential season, it might be worth reading Manent’s “Reason and Faith: A Lenten Reflection”. This paragraph was one among the many that struck me with its accuracy:
Christian faith, for its part, accepts being called to appear before the tribunal of reason. It is distinctive of the Christian God to leave man to his own counsel, and to put the fulfilment of the plan of salvation as it were at the mercy of human freedom. This is why Christianity is not a law, but a faith. This is why the Bible is not a teaching dictated by heaven like the Koran. It is a chronicle, full of detours, of an often-broken and ever-renewed covenant between divine goodness and human freedom.
Much of Manent’s pondering is on the realm of political philosophy. His 1999 essay “The Return of Political Philosophy” explores the death of political philosophy over the course of the twentieth century, while his lecture “Current Problems of European Democracy” examines the depoliticisation of European societies. “The Greatness and Misery of Liberalism” is also worth a read.