MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 133

Guests on Volume 133: Darío Fernández-Morera, on the real history of Islamic Spain in the Middle Ages; Francis Oakley, on the enduring belief in sacral kingship and the secularization of politics in the late Middle Ages; Oliver O'Donovan, on why all political authority can only be properly understood by way of analogy with God’s kingship; Thomas Storck, on the conflicts between “Americanism” and Catholic social teaching; John Safranek, on the self-contradictory character of modern liberalism; Brian Brock, on the challenges and opportunities of being a “Church theologian” in a secular university; George Marsden, on the birth and influential life of C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity.

Click here to download printable informational materials for this issue.

Part 1

  • Description
    Darío Fernández-Morera, on the real history of Islamic Spain in the Middle Ages
    The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise: Muslims, Christians, and Jews Under Islamic Rule in Medieval Spain (ISI, 2016)

    “Scholars in Islamic Studies departments argue that jihad really means a self-striving for perfection . . . (and they may be right and they maybe know more about the actual meaning of jihad than those medieval scholars and medieval leaders did), but of course that has nothing to do with what actually happened. And all the documents from both Islamic sources and Christian sources and archeological evidence indicate that religion was the main motivating force of the invasion.”

    Darío Fernández-Morera

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    Francis Oakley, on the enduring belief in sacral kingship and the secularization of politics in the late Middle Ages
    The Watershed of Modern Politics: Law, Virtue, Kingship, and Consent (1300-1650), The Emergence of Western Political Thought in the Latin Middle Ages (Yale University Press, 2015)

    “It’s quite an extraordinary thing; that you have notions of sacred monarchy worldwide in cultures that have no observable connection with each other. . . . In the ideology behind it there’s no clear distinction between nature/supernature, animate/inanimate, political/religious. Those distinctions just don’t belong.”

    Francis Oakley

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    Oliver O'Donovan, on why all political authority can only be properly understood by way of analogy with God’s kingship
    The Desire of the Nations: Rediscovering the Roots of Political Theology (Cambridge University Press, 1999)

    “We are not invited as it were to evacuate the metaphor [of kingship and government]. Rather we should say, the governments we know are pale reflections in the order of creation — of what God does for the world and what God is in the world — very inadequate reflections . . . but not because they are too much government, but because they are very much too little government as God understands government.” 

    Oliver O'Donovan

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    Thomas Storck, on the conflicts between “Americanism” and Catholic social teaching
    From Christendom to Americanism and Beyond: The Long Jagged Trail to a Postmodern Void (Angelico Press, 2015)

    “The idea of the craft guild (or occupational group, or vocational group) is not as absurd or as strange as it might seem, but is actually a very intelligent way of looking at an approach to economics, if you accept the idea that economics is not about personal enrichment. Economics is about supplying the human race with the things it needs and incidentally about providing the manufacturer . . . with what he needs to live a decent life.”

    Thomas Storck

Part 2

  • Description
    John Safranek, on the self-contradictory character of modern liberalism
    The Myth of Liberalism (Catholic University of America Press, 2015)

    “Every law smuggles in some view of the good. There’s no law that’s ever been passed that isn’t attached to a view of the good. Aristotle noted — and this is kind of a fundamental point of ethics — every action done is done for the sake of some good. . . . No legislator says ‘I’m passing this law, because it makes no sense and it produces a lot of evil.’”

    John Safranek

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    Brian Brock, on the challenges and opportunities of being a “Church theologian” in a secular university
    Captive to Christ, Open to the World: On Doing Christian Ethics in Public (Cascade Books, 2014)

    “I wanted to combine that martial image in which we’re not the warriors, we’re the booty, we’re the captives, with the idea that being so captive is an incorporation into Christ, being totally unthreatened by everything that goes on. . . . And that I think positions us differently in public conversation.”

    Brian Brock

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    George Marsden, on the birth and influential life of C. S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity
    C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity: A Biography (Princeton University Press, 2016)

    “Although there’s a strong element of rationality in [Lewis’s] defense of the faith, it’s also always surrounded with a strong imaginative sense and an empathetic, personal, affective sense of what the faith involves.”

    George Marsden