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7 Books to feed the mind and edify the soul in 2017


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Matthew Becklo - published on 02/10/17

2017 is shaping to up to be a great year for contemplative books
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Whether dealing with timeless questions of metaphysics and phenomenology, or the social reality of living a Christian life in an increasingly post-Christian culture, these are 7 upcoming titles that Aleteia’s readers might want to get on their radar.

Henry Holt & Co.

1. Strangers in a Strange Land: Living the Catholic Faith in a Post-Christian World

Author: Charles J. Chaput
Release Date: February 21

“A vivid critique of American life today and a guide to how Christians – and particularly Catholics – can live their faith vigorously, and even with hope, in a post-Christian public square.”

St Augustine Press

2. The Socrates’ Children Series

Author: Peter Kreeft
Release Date: March 10

“How is this history of philosophy different from all others?

  1. It’s neither very long (like Copleston’s 12-volume tome, which is a clear and helpful reference work but pretty dull reading) nor very short (like many skimpy one-volume summaries), but just long enough.
  2. It’s available in separate volumes but eventually in one complete work (after the 4 volumes – Ancient, Medieval, Modern, Contemporary – are produced in paperbound editions, a one-volume clothbound will be published).
  3. It focuses on the ‘big ideas’ that have influenced present people and present times.
  4. It includes relevant biographical data, proportionate to its importance for each thinker.
  5. It is not just history but philosophy. Its aim is not merely to record facts (of life or opinion) but to stimulate philosophizing, controversy, argument.”

Sentinel Press

3. The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation

Author: Rod Dreher
Release Date: March 14

“In a radical new vision for the future of Christianity, New York Times bestselling author and conservative columnist Rod Dreher calls on American Christians to prepare for the coming Dark Age by embracing an ancient Christian way of life.”

Eerdmans Books

4. The Hidden and the Manifest: Essays in Theology and Metaphysics

Author: David Bentley Hart
Release Date: March 29

“Rowan Williams says that David Bentley Hart ‘can always be relied on to offer a perspective on the Christian faith that is both profound and unexpected.’ A new collection of this brilliant scholar’s work, The Hidden and the Manifest contains 19 essays by Hart on theology and metaphysics.

“Spanning Hart’s career both chronologically and topically, these essays cover such subjects as the Orthodox understanding of Eucharistic sacrifice; the metaphysics of Paradise Lost; Christianity, modernity, and freedom; death, final judgment, and the meaning of life; and many more.”

Ignatius Press

5. The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise

Author: Robert Cardinal Sarah
Release Date: April 15

“In a time when there is more and more noise, and technology and materialism continue to exert their hold on us, Cardinal Robert Sarah presents a bold book about the strength of silence. The world generates so much noise that seeking moments of silence only becomes more necessary. For Cardinal Sarah, modern man, in repressing the divine, finds himself in a deep dilemma, an oppressive and anguishing trial. The Cardinal recalls that life is a silent relationship between what is most intimate in man and God. Silence is indispensable for hearing the music of God: prayer arises from silence and returns to silence with ever greater depth…

“In this book, Cardinal Sarah has only one aim, which is summed up in this thought from his book: ‘Silence is difficult but it makes a human being able to allow himself to be led by God. Silence is born of silence. Through God the silent one we can gain access to silence. And a human being is unceasingly surprised by the light that bursts forth then. Silence is more important than any other human work. For it expresses God. The true revolution comes from silence; it leads us toward God and others so as to place ourselves humbly and generously at their service.’”

Oxford University Press

6. Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination

Authors: John Corvino, Ryan T. Anderson, Sherif Girgis
Release Date: June 1

Virtually everyone supports religious liberty, and virtually everyone opposes discrimination. But how do we handle the hard questions that arise when exercises of religious liberty seem to discriminate unjustly? How do we promote the common good while respecting conscience in a diverse society?

This point-counterpoint book brings together leading voices in the culture wars to debate such questions: John Corvino, a longtime LGBT-rights advocate, opposite Ryan T. Anderson and Sherif Girgis, prominent young defenders of the traditional view of marriage.

Fordham University Press

7. The Rigor of Things: Conversations with Dan Arbib

Author: Jean-Luc Marion
Release Date: August 2

“In a series of conversations, Jean-Luc Marion reconstructs the path of a career’s work in the history of philosophy, theology, and phenomenology. The conversation ranges from Marion’s engagement with Descartes, to phenomenology and theology, to Marion’s intellectual and biographical backgrounds, concluding with illuminating insights on the state of the Catholic Church today and on Judeo-Christian dialogue.

“In these interviews, Marion’s language is more conversational than in his formal writing, but it remains serious and substantive. The book serves as an excellent and comprehensive introduction to Marion’s thought and work.”

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