Episode 5 | Crisis and Christian Humanism, with Alan Jacobs

On Friday, July 10th we welcomed distinguished professor, author, and scholar Alan Jacobs to discuss his ever-timely book, The Year of Our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism in an Age of Crisis. In the book, Jacobs describes how after the Second World War, five Christian intellectuals presented strikingly similar visions for the moral and spiritual renewal of their countries.

Jacques Maritain, T. S. Eliot, C. S. Lewis, W. H. Auden, and Simone Weil all believed the renewal of their respective societies in the aftermath of World War II would come through education that was grounded in a Christian understanding of the power and limitations of human beings. Alan helped us consider the ways our world is changing due to our current crisis. In the light of that, Alan also encouraged us to look back to these Christian intellectuals and their vision for cultivating a flourishing society and rebuilding a shared sense of the common good after a worldwide disruption. We hope you enjoy this conversation!

Watch the full Online Conversation and read the transcript from July 10th, 2020.

Learn more about Alan Jacobs.

Alan Jacobs’ Books:

Breaking Bread with the Dead: A Reader’s Guide to a more Tranquil Mind, The Year of our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism in an Age of Crisis, How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds, The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography.

Baylor University Great Texts Program

Authors and books mentioned in the conversation:

Education at the Crossroads by Jacques Maritain
The Abolition of Man by C.S. Lewis
Vocation and Society, a lecture given at Swarthmore College by W.H. Auden
Christianity and Culture by T.S. Elliot
Between Past and Future, by Hannah Arendt
Rationalism in Politics, by Michael Oakeshott
Roberts Coles – Harvard Professor.
Bleak House, by Charles Dickens
C.S. Lewis – “The Inner Ring,” “Membership,” Abolition of Man, That Hideous Strength.
Leszek Kolakowski
George Eliot 
Søren Kierkegaard


Related Trinity Forum Readings and Resources:


Alan Jacobs is a scholar of English literature, a writer, and a literary critic. He’s a distinguished professor of the humanities in the honors college at Baylor University and previously taught for nearly 30 years at Wheaton College in Illinois. Jacobs is a prolific author and a wide-ranging thinker. He’s written for such publications as The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, Comment, The New Yorker, The Weekly Standard, and The Hedgehog Review. Additionally, Jacobs has published more than 15 different books on a wide range of topics from literature, technology theology, and cognitive psychology. These books include How to Think, The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography, the book we’re discussing today, The Year of our Lord 1943, which was named by the Wall Street Journal is one of their best books on politics for the year of 2018 and many more, including the forthcoming book, Breaking Bread with the Dead: A Reader’s Guide to a more Tranquil Mind, which is available now.


Special thanks to Ned Bustard for the artwork and Andrew Peterson for the music!

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