Lecture Series: Fall '11

The City & the Soul:
Pierre Manent on Politics, Philosophy, & Christianity



Dr. Thomas S. Hibbs (Distinguished Professor of Ethics & Culture, Honors College Dean): Athens or Jerusalem? Modernity or Antiquity? Europeans or Americans? A Brief Introduction to the Thought of the Greatest Living Political Philosopher: Pierre Manent

• 4 p.m. Monday, September 19
Drawing Room of Memorial Residence Hall, Honors Residential College



All conference events listed below will be conducted in the Reading Room of Alexander Residence Hall (Honors Residential College).

Monday, September 26:
• 4 p.m. - Daniel J. Mahoney: Communion and Consent: Pierre Manent on the Wellsprings of Western Liberty

• 7 p.m - Russ Hittinger: Polity in Catholic Social Doctrine: Some Recent Perplexities

Tuesday, September 27:
• 4 p.m. - Panel featuring Giulio De Ligio, Ralph Hancock, Peter Lawler, and Brad Lewis: The City & the Soul: Pierre Manent on Politics, Philosophy, & Christianity

• 7 p.m. - Pierre Manent: Political Philosophy and Political History: Making Sense of the Western Dynamic

Pierre Manent

Pierre Manent is director of studies at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes in Paris, France. He was born in Toulouse, France in 1949 and is a graduate of the Ecole Normale Superiere. Along with Marcel Gauchet, he was the leading figure in the French rediscovery of political philosophy in the 1970's and 80's after the long hegemony of Marxist and postmodernist ("post-structuralist") currents of thought was finally broken. An agrege in philosophy, he was the assistant to Raymond Aron at the College de France and a regular participant in Aron's famous seminar at the rue de Tournon. In 1978, with Aron and others, he helped found the distinguished French quarterly Commentaire. His early writings (Naissances de la politique moderne, Tocqueville and the Nature of Democracy, An Intellectual History of Liberalism, the anthology Les Liberaux) are important contributions to an understanding of the political and theological origins of modern liberalism. In addition to contributing to a broader and deeper understanding of the origins of our democratic regime, they provide a particularly searching analysis of the spiritual costs and benefits of the liberal dispensation. This exploration of modern political consciousness was continued in Manent's 1994 work, The City of Man.

Manent's more recent work centers around the intersection of the city and the soul and political regimes and political forms. In works such as A World beyond Politics? (2001) and Les raison des nations (2006), he has analyzed the "depoliticization" of contemporary Europe and has shown that it is inseparable from its "deChristianization." He is perhaps the most learned and measured critic of the European project in its present form. In his chef d'oeuvre, Les metamorphoses de la cite: Essai sur la dynamique de l'occident (2010), Manent presents an interpretation of the history of the West that explores its four great "political forms:" the city, Empire, Church, and nation, and that takes aim at the "religion of humanity" which is a poor substitute for political and religious reflection in the West today. The highlight of this work is perhaps its 100 page treatments of Cicero and Augustine, respectively. Le regard politique (2010), a sparkling book of conversations with Manent, explores his intellectual itinerary as well as his efforts to do justice to the three great "poles" of human existence: Philosophy, religion, politics. Next year will see the publication of a new book on Montaigne and a collection of Manent's essay's on the "theological-political problem" in its Christian form.

It is rare indeed to have a body of work that truly transcends disciplinary distinctions and does genuine justice to those three "poles" of human existence to which I have already referred. --D. Mahoney

Dante Seminar

Giuseppe Mazzotta (Sterling Professor in the Humanities for Italian, Yale University): Dante's Exile and the Path of Salvation: Paradiso XV-XVII

In the central cantos of Paradiso Dante reviews, first of all, the major theories of history he had inherited from the tradition: first, the idea of history as essentially political history, as the Roman-Virgilian tradition articulates; second, the idea that history can be best understood as a local chronicle of the city of Florence; third, the idea that history is intelligible from the standpoint of Platonic philosophy as an abstract theory of harmony. Dante hears about his exile from his great-grandfather Cacciaguida. The prophecy of his exile brings the poet to reject all these theories as inadequate to explain his existential predicament . History cannot be reduced to a theory. Rather, it is identified as the experience of a forlorn life. From the depths of his present, real despair, figured by his exile, Dante finds the spiritual and poetic resources for his ascent.

This lecture is set for 5 p.m. Thursday, October 6, in the Alexander Reading Room (Honors Residential College). Students are advised to read the three central cantos of Paradiso in preparation for the lecture.

About Professor Giuseppe Mazzotta: Mazzotta is the Sterling Professor in the Humanities for Italian at Yale University, where he has been teaching since 1983 and where he serves as the chairman of the Italian Department. Before going to Yale, Mazzotta taught at Cornell University (1973-83) and the University of Toronto. He has written several books: Dante, Poet of the Desert (Princeton, 1979); The World at Play and the Decameron (Princeton, 1986); The Worlds of Petrarch (Duke UP, 1992); Dante's Vision and the Circle of Knowledge (Princeton, 1993); The New Map of the World and Vico's Poetic Philosophy (Princeton, 1999); and Cosmopoiesis and the Renaissance Experiment (Toronto UP, 2003). Dante at the Frontiers of Thought is forthcoming. He also has written more than 100 scholarly articles.

19th Century Research Seminar

Sponsors: English Department, Honors College

Dr. Suzanne Bordelon (Associate Professor of Rhetoric, San Diego State University)

The 19th Century Research Seminar at Baylor University (19CRS) provides an interdisciplinary forum for faculty and graduate students in and outside of Baylor to present original research in all areas of nineteenth-century studies.

Bordelon's lecture is set for 4 p.m. Thursday, October 20, in the Armstrong-Browning Lecture Hall.

Learn more about Dr. Suzanne Bordelon.

Dr. Joshua S. Parens (University of Dallas): Judaism and Philosophy: Maimonides' Revolution

Sponsor: Honors College

This lecture is set for 4 p.m. Wednesday, October 26, in Memorial Drawing Room.

More information about Joshua S. Parens

Discussion of Art, Faith and Humanity at Baylor

Sponsor: Honors College

Kevin Gosa and Jake Amerding of The Fretful Porcupine present Embodying Music: The Case for Live Music in a Digital Age

"We brew finely-crafted roots chamber music made of saxophones, wires, and wood." Learn more...

This mixed performance and presentation is set for 4 p.m. Tuesday, November 1, in the Memorial Drawing Room.

Glendale Prep at the Honors College

David Williams, the Headmaster of Glendale Preparatory Academy, a member of the Great Hearts Consortium, will be at Baylor to speak about liberal education and to offer Baylor Honors College students an opportunity to find out more about what teaching in their system would be like.

Great Hearts Academy is a consortium of very successful public charter schools in the Phoenix, AZ area. The schools offer small classes based on the careful reading of primary texts; students and faculty constitute a community focused on liberal education and the love of learning for its own sake. The remarkable success of the students on tests and in their applications to colleges has led to Great Hearts' schools having lengthy waiting lists.

Williams' presentation is set for 4 p.m. Tuesday, November 8, in Memorial Drawing Room.

Honors College students interested in meeting with Williams one-on-one (from 1-4 p.m. in the Senior Common Room, Memorial) should contact either Petra Carey or Dean Hibbs.

Heaven's Rain Film Screening & Discussion

Sponsors: Honors College, Spiritual Life

Back by high demand, a Heaven's Rain film screening is set for 7 p.m. Monday, November 14, in Castellaw 101.

Heaven's Rain is the powerful and inspiring true story of Brooks Douglass, who survived an unthinkable attack that claimed his parents' lives, but who, through faith and forgiveness, found triumph over tragedy.

As a precaution, it should be noted that this film is rated R due to some disturbing content. Heaven's Rain shows, through the use of flashbacks, the violent tragedy that took the lives of Richard and Marilyn Douglass and gravely wounded Brooks and his sister. While the violent act in this story is handled delicately and respectfully, it is essential to the true story and allows the audience the opportunity to truly grasp the cost and meaning of Brooks' decision to forgive. Please be cautioned that if you or someone you know might be sensitive to any type of violent crime, this film should be viewed with care.

Co-author and producer Brooks Douglass, a 1985 Baylor graduate, will be at the screening for questions and discussion after the movie. We hope you can join us for this memorable evening.

More information about the film

Second Annual Drumwright Family Lecture

Sponsors: Honors College, Honors Residential College

Dr. Alan Jacobs (Clyde S. Kilby Chair Professor of English, Wheaton College): Writers Save: How Poets and Novelists Came to Comfort the Faithful and Strengthen the Doubters

This lecture is set for 4 p.m. Friday, November 18, in the Alexander Reading Room.

More information about Dr. Alan Jacobs