Christopher Dawson

Christopher Dawson (October 12, 1889 – May 25, 1970) was author of numerous books, articles, and scholarly monographs. He was lecturer in the History of Culture, University College, Exeter; Gifford lecturer and first Charles Chauncey Stillman Chair of Roman Catholic Studies at Harvard University from 1958 to 1962; and editor of the Dublin Review.

Newman & Dawson Against Liberalism

By |2019-09-19T13:49:55-06:00June 2nd, 2017|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Edmund Burke, Liberalism, St. John Henry Newman|

Christopher Dawson greatly admired John Henry Newman, for he understood more clearly than any of his contemporaries the coming war of the Church against the ideologues bred by the French Revolution, utilitarianism, and secularization… As Christopher Dawson attempted to discover the sources of the ideological disruptions of the twentieth-century as well as solutions to [...]

Christopher Dawson in China

By |2017-04-10T22:48:33-06:00April 10th, 2017|Categories: Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Philosophy|

Christopher Dawson promoted an alternative, if tentative, vision that Christianity could make a comeback as the source of spiritual renewal for desiccated Eastern cultures… In preparation for a trip to the Asian countries of China, Vietnam, Thailand, and Singapore, I have been reading many books and essays on a wide variety of topics by a [...]

Robert Nisbet vs. The State

By |2019-09-03T18:31:45-06:00February 14th, 2017|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christopher Dawson, Conservatism, Edmund Burke, Featured, Robert Nisbet, Russell Kirk, Woodrow Wilson|

Because we Americans have become so infatuated with the power and person of the presidency, we have forgotten our republican duty to promote our sovereignty in legislative bodies… If you were interested in finding the single harshest and yet reasoned critic of the twentieth-century nation-state, you would not, strangely enough, turn to a libertarian. [...]

The Life of Christopher Dawson

By |2016-10-11T11:42:01-06:00October 11th, 2016|Categories: Books, Christopher Dawson, Culture, History, Religion|

A Historian and His World: A Life of Christopher Dawson by Christina Scott (N.J and London: Transaction Publishers, 1991)  Culture comes from cult. But religious skeptics regularly get it all twisted up. Sometimes they rest their case on the assumption of the very point in question, that diverse cultures just naturally pro­duce diverse religions the [...]

Historical Confrontation & the Birth of Culture

By |2019-08-22T11:22:45-06:00October 5th, 2016|Categories: Books, Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Featured, History, Western Civilization|

The Dynamics of World History, by Christopher Dawson, edited by John J. Mulloy. (New York: Sheed and Ward, 1956) None of the disciplines has been more adversely affected by the increasing fragmentation and social dissolution which has afflicted our liberal civilization than has the study of history. The pursuit of the Fact, isolated from [...]

Can a Conservative Embrace Romanticism?

By |2019-07-18T15:02:58-06:00August 30th, 2016|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Christopher Dawson, Edmund Burke, Irving Babbitt, Senior Contributors, T.S. Eliot, The Imaginative Conservative|

Undoubtedly trying to shock many of his readers—most of whom understandably associated him with radicalism in poetry and the Bloomsbury group in London—T.S. Eliot exclaimed rather baldly in the late 1920s, “I am an Anglo-Catholic in religion, a classicist in literature and a royalist in politics.” […]

The Left-Right Fallacy

By |2019-05-21T14:24:02-06:00June 19th, 2016|Categories: Christendom, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Featured, Politics, Timeless Essays, Western Civilization|

Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Christopher Dawson as he considers the perils of the left-right fallacy in politics and civil society. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher I am very glad to have an opportunity of explaining the reasons why I objected to the current terminology of [...]

Christian Education: Initiation into the Christian Way of Life

By |2016-07-01T10:30:27-06:00May 25th, 2016|Categories: Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Education, Featured, Quotation, Western Civilization|

Taken in its widest sense education is simply the process by which the new members of a community are initiated into its way of life and thought from the simplest elements of behavior up to the highest tradition of spiritual wisdom. Christian education is therefore an initiation into the Christian way of life and [...]

How Would Christopher Dawson Redeem the West?

By |2019-04-30T16:46:24-06:00March 12th, 2016|Categories: Catholicism, Christendom, Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Western Civilization|

Soren Kierkegaard observed that a distinguishing mark of modern culture is its preoccupation with theories of historical progress. Whether he is a philosopher or a shopkeeper, modern man secretly believes that there exists some hidden hand that moves the system of history along. The individual is called upon by an array of public authorities to [...]

Looking Beyond the Bloody Chaos of History

By |2018-08-28T09:04:09-06:00March 9th, 2016|Categories: Christendom, Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Quotation, St. Augustine|

It was in this age of ruin and distress that St. Augustine lived and worked. To the materialist, nothing could be more futile than the spectacle of Augustine busying himself with the reunion of the African Church and the refutation of the Pelagians, while civilisation was falling to pieces about his ears. It would [...]

Christopher Dawson, Education, and the Transcendent

By |2019-10-08T17:11:50-06:00November 28th, 2015|Categories: Christendom, Christopher Dawson, Education, Featured|

Above all other twentieth-century men, the late Christopher Dawson took seriously the two theses developed by Newman over a century ago. Newman’s theses were that only the liberally educated are really educated and that a person without an introduction to theological lore lacks an ingredient necessary for liberal education. Dawson wanted to know what, given our [...]

Why the Roman Empire Was an Empire Like No Other

By |2019-02-28T11:18:41-06:00November 9th, 2015|Categories: Christendom, Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Christopher Morrissey, Featured, Rome, Theology|

What made the Roman Empire an empire like no other was that it alone was the city that became an empire. Its distinctively republican civic form became propagated by the Roman Empire as it spread across Europe. It then became transmuted by its contact with Christianity, which gave birth to a mediating political form [...]

Christopher Dawson’s Six Ages of the Church

By |2019-10-23T12:44:19-06:00November 1st, 2015|Categories: Christendom, Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Christopher Morrissey, Culture, Featured, History, Religion|

Christopher Dawson’s Six Ages of the Church exhibit a cyclical pattern in historical events. Each Age exhibits an overall pattern of “rise and fall” during each cycle of spiritual renewal. Each new Age peaks and then encounters a new onslaught of adversities. It is possible to imagine the entire sweep of this non-linear history [...]

The Essence of Missionary Christianity

By |2015-10-21T01:02:01-06:00October 21st, 2015|Categories: Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Christopher Morrissey, History, Religion, Rome|

Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit et artes intulit agresti Latio “When Greece was captured, she captivated her wild conqueror, and introduced the Arts into savage Rome” — Horace, Epistles, II.1.156 (trans. Laura E. Ludtke) Christopher Dawson has identified Six Ages in the history of the Church. In Dawson’s First Age, we witness a unique encounter [...]