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.

The Essence of Missionary Christianity

By |2015-10-21T01:02:01-05:00October 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 [...]

Christian Culture and the Essence of Europe

By |2019-02-19T14:58:21-06:00October 14th, 2015|Categories: Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Christopher Morrissey, Culture, Europe, Featured, Islam|

How is it that Arabic translations of Greek writings could flourish for only a few centuries (the ninth to eleventh)? Remi Brague points out how these translations were frequently made by Christians under Arabic rule.[1] Empirical data such as this point to an important principle identified by Brague: namely, that Roman “secondarity” always maintains a [...]

Revisiting Christopher Dawson on Culture

By |2015-10-08T09:36:08-05:00October 8th, 2015|Categories: Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Christopher Morrissey, Culture, Islam, Rome|

Remi Brague’s observation about the historical essence of Rome shows that “Romanity” is not an ideology. It is, rather, a powerful hypothesis, to be tested by the historical data. Brague crystallizes it into a striking form for disinterested, non-ideological historical inquiry: Rome is willing to come second. Christianity is the form of European culture,[1] [...]

The Essence of Rome: A Tale of Three Cities

By |2019-09-24T11:16:19-05:00September 29th, 2015|Categories: Christopher Dawson, Christopher Morrissey, Culture, Europe, Featured, History, Religion, Rome|

Leo Strauss liked to call to our attention the creative tension between Athens and Jerusalem. With Remi Brague, I would like to refocus our attention onto the apparent mediation of this creative tension that was accomplished by Rome. Now, I say that this accomplishment occurred by the apparent mediation of Rome, only to nod [...]

Why Did Liberal Humanism Fail?

By |2016-02-12T15:27:56-06:00August 29th, 2015|Categories: Christian Humanism, Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Modernity|

Christianity and the New Age, by Christopher Dawson (Manchester: Sophia Institute Press, 1985) Christianity and the New Age was first published in 1931. Sophia Press has republished the book in a handsome new edition, including an introductory essay by John J. Mulloy, specially written for the volume. In this little book, Christopher Dawson (1889-1970) explains why [...]

Lost Temples, Giant Spiders & the Death of Western Civilization

By |2015-08-11T01:02:00-05:00August 11th, 2015|Categories: Christopher Dawson, Modernity, Morality, Russell Kirk, Stephen Masty, Western Civilization|

You will need to wear your Indiana Jones fedora and stick with it, but I can promise you the big, Imaginative Conservative ending–with Russell Kirk on horseback, Christopher Dawson commanding the landing craft and Chesterton parachuting down from above as Elgar conducts the beachfront orchestra. Or something like that. Really. Our tale begins in [...]

Our Cultural Mess

By |2020-04-02T11:31:31-05:00July 30th, 2015|Categories: Catholicism, Christendom, Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Culture War, Featured|

How did Americans lose the culture war against same-sex marriage? What caused the tide to turn against us? Did we lose sight of our Western heritage and let education disintegrate, as Christopher Dawson warned? Given the latest battle Catholics have lost in America’s Culture War, I asked myself, how did we get into this [...]

Christopher Dawson: Wielding the Sword of the Spirit

By |2019-06-06T18:32:56-05:00July 20th, 2015|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christendom, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Culture, Essential, Featured, Timeless Essays|

(Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Dr. Bradley Birzer as he examines the work of Christopher Dawson, arguably the most essential historian of the twentieth century. —W. Winston Elliott III, Publisher) Looking back over the vast ruins and wastelands of the twentieth-century, one can find many exemplars of the human condition, many [...]

Why Christopher Dawson Loved the Church

By |2016-02-12T15:27:57-06:00July 19th, 2015|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Catholicism, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Featured, Religion|

When Christopher Dawson passed away in the late spring of 1970, he did so not only as one of the most important Catholic thinkers of his century, but he also did so as a loyal citizen of the City of God, having always resisted the myriad of temptations of this City of Man. As [...]

Christopher Dawson and the Failures of the Catholic Church

By |2016-08-03T10:36:27-05:00July 12th, 2015|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Catholicism, Christendom, Christopher Dawson, Featured|

To suggest that Christopher Dawson was one of the greatest Catholic thinkers of the twentieth century is a rather easy thing both to affirm and confirm. His influence on T.S. Eliot, Etienne Gilson, Russell Kirk, David Jones, Eric Gill, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Thomas Merton, Sister Madeleva Wolff, Jacques Maritain, Bernard Wall, Tom Burns, Frank [...]

Religion: The Key to Christopher Dawson’s Culture

By |2016-08-03T10:36:28-05:00May 28th, 2015|Categories: Christendom, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Culture, Featured, History, Religion|

He was among the brightest students I have taught. We had just finished talking about how and why Freudian or Marxists interpretations of reality are suffocating in their reductionistic interpretations. The conversation moved to the writings of Christopher Dawson that are happily being reprinted by Catholic University Press of America. As our discussion meandered, [...]

Mass Murder and Modern Ideological Regimes

By |2019-09-12T11:29:32-05:00February 24th, 2015|Categories: Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Ideology, Religion, Revolution, T.S. Eliot|

The twentieth century witnessed the shattering of the traditional social and moral order among nations as the infection of the ideologues and their murderous ideological regimes spread throughout the civilized world. It began in earnest with the assassination of a central European archduke and the consequent destruction of the Old World in 1914. But in truth, [...]

Russell Kirk’s Historical Imagination

By |2016-02-12T15:28:02-06:00February 6th, 2015|Categories: Christian Humanism, Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Conservatism, Edmund Burke, Featured, Gerald Russello, Russell Kirk, T.S. Eliot|

“Our religion, our culture, and our political rights all are maintained by continuity: by the respect for the accomplishments of our forefathers, and by our concern for our posterity’s well-being.”[1] In his private library at Piety Hill, Russell Kirk devoted a large bookcase to the works of those he called “philosophical historians.” Kirk placed [...]

Christopher Dawson on the Spiritual Disease of the Secular West

By |2019-09-07T13:01:18-05:00October 21st, 2014|Categories: Christendom, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Christopher Dawson, Culture, Featured, Religion, Secularism|Tags: |

Christopher Henry Dawson has been called “the greatest English-speaking Catholic historian of the twentieth century.“[1] He was also a profound conservative critic of contemporary Western culture and his indictments were based on a synthetic interpretation of the history of mankind which is one of the most impressive ever produced. His analysis of the decline [...]

Go to Top