Book review of the day

Book reviews are suggested by readers and commenters.

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Today’s review comes from Anita

On Islam A Chronological Record 2002-2108

By James V Schall, S.J.

Fr James Schall SJ is a political philosopher who is now retired. Born in 1928, he has the wealth of years and a brilliant mind. He retired in 2012 as Professor of Political Philosophy in the Department of Government at Georgetown University. He is in the privileged position of being able to write now about what concerns him most in the world today. He is a most wise and knowledgeable man with the rare background of being thoroughly grounded in all the riches of the Western tradition from Aristotle and Plato through to today. He is a realist and someone who finds wisdom in the ancient philosophers like Plato. Added to that his decades as a professor of countless students who would roll up to Boston to get ‘Schalled’. He is also a faithful Catholic who holds to the deep Traditions of the Faith.

The value of this to those not of any particular faith or none is that Schall’s insights and experience bring into view the whole breadth of reality which has shaped our society. Schall is someone whose feet you sit at and simply learn; few earn that place in the world of thought.

Schall has written a much-needed text on Islam as a religious political entity. He says the Muslim future looks very bright. What concerns him is that public discussion on the truth of Islam rarely exists and academic discussions are seldom better, so we can only speak of these things in a book. Schall’s problem with Islam is its truth. The reason why he wrote this book is because he wants to present the chronology of brutal events and his reactions to them so that anyone if they should look, will come to the realisation of the horror of it all.

In his usual way, he will teach you perspectives and things about Islam as a political entity in the world that you did not know. Even in his introduction, he teaches you about voluntarism, the philosophy that undergirds Islam. But you will know exactly what he means and not be left out of the discussion. I was delighted he included a chapter on ‘Stanley Jaki on Science in Islam’; Jaki’s thesis was that science was born of Christianity. On the other hand, science was stillborn in Islam, it only goes so far.

This is definitely a must read book for even greater understanding of the world today.


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