The Judeo-Christian Tradition in the Development and Continuing Evolution of the Western Synthesis

In this article, I focus on the impact on modern Western thinking, ideas, and engagement with the world of the loss of the assumption of a creator, or an intelligent ordering agent, in conjunction with the emphasis on detail in preference to the whole in modern thought. I begin by discussing some of the critical dynamics contributed by Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome to the concept of Europe in an attempt to identify the source of the energy and vitality arising from this synthesis. I particularly look at the synthesis of Jerusalem and Athens, specifically how each influenced the other and where the potential for synergy arose. This Western synthesis no longer operates in Europe and the West.

Continue reading →

Susanna Rizzo on the History and Future of European Identity

In this video from the 2014 Telos in Europe Conference, Susanna Rizzo discusses her work on the complex history of the idea of Europe, how it has been shaped by discourses about place and the other, and then considers what the future will be for an increasingly pluralized Europe in which the notion of European identity has been reformulated.

Continue reading →

Benjamin Martin on European Culture against European Civilization

In this video from the 2014 Telos in Europe Conference, Benjamin Martin talks about his research on the idea of European culture, arguing that its emergence among intellectuals after World War I and its subsequent embrace by the Nazis and Italian Fascists serves as a cautionary historical lesson.

Continue reading →

Joel Kotkin on New York’s Declining Middle Class

In today’s New York Daily News, Joel Kotkin writes about the death of New York’s middle class. Kotkin’s The New Class Conflict, recently published by Telos Press, is available for purchase in hardcover format in our online store, as well as in ebook format at Amazon.com (Kindle) and Barnes & Noble (Nook).

Continue reading →

Reinhold Niebuhr and the Irony of American History

At the beginning of the 1950s, Reinhold Niebuhr used the Christian concept of “irony” to explain the difficult condition of the United States in the international system. In The Irony of American History the protestant theologian analyzed the ambiguity of American foreign policy during the first years of the Cold War. According to Niebuhr, the United States was involved in an ironic confutation of its sense of virtue, strength, security, and wisdom. This confutation was due not only to its lack of (Christian) realism but also to its false claim to dominate history. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, when America became the most powerful nation of the international system, the irony of its history did not disappear. Even in a totally different situation for structure and distribution of power, compared to the one of sixty years ago, the ambiguous situation of the United States can be spelled out through irony again. This article discusses the lasting validity of the concept of “irony” used to explain the American present and, perhaps, its future.

Continue reading →

Christopher Coker on the Idea of the West

In this video from the 2014 Telos in Europe Conference, Christopher Coker discusses why the idea of the West is an idea whose historical moment has come and gone, and how the collapse of the Western project is reflected in the crisis of liberal internationalism and the problems arising out of identity politics.

Continue reading →