The Catholic University of America Press

Christianity and European Culture

Selections from the Work of Christopher Dawson

Christopher Dawson
Edited by Gerald J. Russello

Paper 978-0-8132-0914-2 $29.95
September 1998 In Print Add to Cart
E-Book 978-0-8132-2042-0 $29.95
August 2012 In Print Add to Cart

Christopher Dawson (1889-1970) has been widely praised as one of the most important Catholic historians of the twentieth century. Commended by T. S. Eliot, Arnold Toynbee, and many others for his sophisticated approach to history, Dawson integrated a providential vision with traditional historical analysis. Many of his works focused on the important relationship between religion and culture. This volume is the first edited collection of Dawson's works to appear in several decades. It includes the full text of The Historic Reality of Christian Culture (1960) and features selections from numerous works, including The Making of Europe (1932), The Judgment of the Nations (1943), and Medieval Essays (1959).

Dawson believed that the modern era challenged traditional ways of living through its denigration of historical memory. He emphasized the need to understand the role religious values had played in the formation of culture, especially Western culture, and their continuing influence in world affairs. He sought to reconnect Europe's material wealth and economic power with the fundamental religious values that once had formed the core of European identity.

This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the development of Dawson's thinking on questions that remain of contemporary importance. It illustrates Dawson's approach in defining "Christian culture," its likelihood in the present era, and its adaptability to non-Western and pluralist societies. The collection also provides insight on issues ranging from the "new evangelization" and the future of modern liberalism to the "clash of civilizations" that is emerging as the newest challenge in the post-Communist world.

Christianity and European Culture will be of interest to students and scholars of history, historiography, theology, and the history of ideas. It is intended also for those interested in Dawson himself, or in twentieth-century Catholic intellectual history.


Gerald J. Russello is an attorney with the firm of Howard, Smith & Levin LLP in New York.


"Superbly introduced and shrewdly chosen, this selection of hard-to-find Dawson essays is a powerful contribution. It covers all the central themes of this greatest of all historians of Christian cultures."--Michael Novak, American Enterprise Institute

"No one was more keenly aware than Christopher Dawson of the need to recover a sense of Western history-and Christianity's centrality to that history-in order to understand the modern world in which we live. Russello's selections from Dawson provide a marvelous introduction to the thought of an unjustly neglected twentieth-century giant. A great book that I hope will lead to the republication of all of Dawson.--Robert Royal, Ethics and Public Policy Center

"A profound collection of essays from the vast corpus of Dawson studies. . . . Dawson remains an essential teacher about the content of the modern mind and whence it came. His judgments about man's worldly and transcendent meaning are always on the mark."--James V. Schall, S.J., Georgetown University

"Those concerned with the state of liberal education or the interrelationship of culture, education, and religion will find the late Dawson's essays of more than historical importance. . . ."--Booklist

"For students of Western culture, Christopher Dawson is an indispensable guide. His opera omnia would number more than twenty-five volumes if brought together in a uniform edition. Absent that, Gerald Russello provides in these selections a valuable collection that can only whet one's appetite for further texts. His introduction to the volume is excellent and in itself worthy of Dawson for its lucidity and vision."--The Intercollegiate Review

"The selections well represent Dawson's views, and his admirers, especially conservative Roman Catholics, will be glad to see this volume. . . . It is refreshing to encounter a writer who takes a stand instead of wallowing in the latitudinarian banalities so characteristic of the so-called ecumenical movement. How much better to be challenged than to be bored. . . . This volume has historiographical value, providing insight into a major medievalist. Its editor, Gerald Russello, has prefaced it with a clear and informative introduction."--The Historian



Part One: The Historic Reality of Christian Culture

1. The Outlook for Christian Culture

2. What is a Christian Civilization?

3. The Six Ages of the Church

4. Christian Culture as a Culture of Hope

5. The Institutional Forms of Christian Culture

6. Civilization in Crisis

7. Christianity and Western Culture

8. Is the Church Too Western?

Part Two: Selected Essays

1. The Study of Christian Culture

2. The Modern Dilemma

3. Europe and the Seven Stages of Western Culture

4. The Classical Tradition and Christianity

5. The Secularization of Western Culture

6. The Planning of Culture

7. The Kingdom of God and History

8. The Christian View of History

9. The Recovery of Spiritual Unity


Product Details

Pages:xxxiii, 262 pages

Dimensions:5.5x8.5 inches


CIP Information: 97-38951/ BR735.D38/ 261'.094--dc21


1. Christianity--Europe. Christianity and Culture--Europe. Europe--Church history