About James V. Schall

Rev. James V. Schall, S.J. (1928-2019) was a teacher, writer, and philosopher. He was Professor of Political Philosophy in the Department of Government at Georgetown University and the author of many books, including The Life of the Mind: On the Joys and Travails of Thinking, Catholicism and Intelligence, and A Line Through the Human Heart: On Sinning and Being Forgiven.

The State vs. the Normal Good of Normal People

By |2019-07-11T10:46:37-05:00December 22nd, 2018|Categories: Abortion, Books, Civil Society, Culture War, Ethics, Family, Fr. James Schall, Homosexual Unions, Marriage, Modernity, Morality, Social Institutions|

What happens when our nation’s fundamental principles or standards are rejected? Jennifer Roback Morse’s new book, The Sexual State, is a lively and forceful examination of where we came from, where we are now, and where we ought to be on matters of human life… Genesis tells us that man was created “male and female.” The [...]

Truth as a Democratic Project

By |2019-04-25T13:09:50-05:00September 18th, 2018|Categories: Democracy, Fr. James Schall, Freedom, Government, Liberty, Philosophy, Reason, Relativism, Truth|

To save democracy from subjectivism, truth must become a democratic project. The greatest of crimes can be enacted in the name of sincerity, authenticity, and “being at peace with oneself.” Each of these criteria looks to one’s own estimate of oneself… During the Presidential Campaign of 1996, in California, President Bill Clinton said that democracy [...]

How to Keep Your Virtue in College

By |2017-08-28T11:56:35-05:00August 28th, 2017|Categories: Aristotle, Character, Christian Humanism, Education, Fr. James Schall, Morality, Philosophy|

The college student needs the virtue that enables him to see the origins, the first principles. He will do this by reading and conversing—even by prayer and fasting… Even students in religious-founded institutions can lose their faith, while others find God at Ohio State University. Some students mold themselves to the prevailing campus ideology, while [...]

A Student’s Guide to Liberal Learning

By |2019-09-12T10:39:18-05:00July 31st, 2017|Categories: Character, Fr. James Schall, Great Books, Liberal Learning, Morality, Reason|

It is difficult to see ourselves as we are, even if this inner “seeing” is one of the most important things we must do for ourselves… In today’s world, when the topic of the defects of university teaching and curricula comes up, the most well-known alternative put forward is the “great books programs.” I take it [...]

Socrates Rises With Christ

By |2019-08-27T17:13:23-05:00July 29th, 2017|Categories: Christian Humanism, Christianity, Fr. James Schall, Justice, Plato, Reason|

The completion of Plato lies in the resurrection, in the reality that sees not just the immortality of the soul but the acting person as the source of all reason… Is there any way to bring political philosophy and revelation, Athens and Jerusalem, into a coherent, non-contradictory relation to each other without undermining the integrity [...]

On the Mystery of Teachers I Never Met

By |2017-07-31T23:48:01-05:00July 21st, 2017|Categories: Aristotle, Christian Humanism, Education, Fr. James Schall, Great Books, Hilaire Belloc, Literature, Philosophy, Plato, St. Augustine, Tradition, Truth|

The mystery is how one person whom I never met, through recountings down the ages of how many others whom I also have never met, could shed light on each other, eventually to enlighten me… In The Apology, Socrates brought up the question of whether he was paid for being a teacher, like the Sophists, who were paid for their skill in [...]

Mysticism, Political Philosophy, & Play

By |2019-11-21T13:58:17-06:00July 10th, 2017|Categories: Christian Humanism, Faith, Fr. James Schall, Government, Mystery, Philosophy|

To link spiritualism, political philosophy, and play together is, at first sight, rash. What could they possibly have in common, since they clearly are not the same?… Spiritualism seems to me absolutely right on all its mystical side. The supernatural part of it seems to me quite natural. The incredible part of it seems to [...]

The Myth of Liberalism

By |2018-09-20T14:40:59-05:00June 3rd, 2017|Categories: Books, Featured, Fr. James Schall, Liberalism, Philosophy|

The Myth of Liberalism offers a concise argument of the adequacy of modern liberalism and a re-presention of how classical/medieval understanding of family and virtue really is a superior understanding of the human good… “Contemporary liberalism is less a political philosophy than a façade for undermining extant social and legal mores.” —John Safranek, The Myth [...]

The Tyrant’s Unexamined Soul

By |2019-03-28T11:44:44-05:00April 8th, 2017|Categories: Featured, Fr. James Schall, Plato, Socrates, Tyranny|

Tyrants—intelligent, charming men as they usually are—rush into politics without first examining their souls. Politics without wisdom is not politics… A recurring theme in Plato’s dialogues, including his Seventh Letter, describes the education of a young man who wants to achieve the highest things, which he considers to be achieved primarily through his ruling the [...]

Shakespeare as Political Thinker: Man’s Supernatural Destiny

By |2019-02-05T16:29:43-06:00March 1st, 2017|Categories: Books, Catholicism, Christianity, Featured, Fr. James Schall, William Shakespeare|Tags: , |

What is new about our era, as opposed to the Christianity of an Augustine, of an Aquinas, or of a Shakespeare, is that now we actually see Christians themselves betraying their own traditions of political limitations… Shakespeare as Political Thinker, edited by John Alvis and Thomas G. West (Durham: Carolina Academic Press, 1981) For some [...]

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