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July 28, 2016
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v2.1 Reference

Seeking the Truth

An Orestes Brownson Anthology

Edited by Richard Reinsch
This anthology of essays from the great nineteenth-century thinker Orestes A. Brownson will engage the reader with key writings from one of the most compelling American Catholic intellectuals. Brownson was a spiritual seeker who migrated through Presbyterianism, Universalism, skepticism, Unitarianism, and Transcendentalist thought, and finally at age 41 to Catholicism. Politically he found himself anticipating socialism in the 1830s, then, turning into a disciple of John Calhoun's states rights constitutionalism, and later he incorporated his criticisms of mass democracy into a unique philosophical defense of the Constitution that emerged in full bloom during the Civil War.

Brownson's life, in its several phases, turns, and allegiances, has remained noteworthy for his rejection of modern pragmatism's aim to obtain material comfort in service of man's desires, while deemphasizing deeper concerns for philosophical and spiritual truth. Brownson's writings, born from his existential wranglings were, therefore, addressed to our authentic human longings to know the truth about ourselves.

If much of late modern thought can be characterized as dualistic, fractured, and subjective, Brownson's questing was that of a modern intellectual using modern philosophical resources in dialogue with pre-modern and classical sources to recover the dialectical whole of knowledge. Therefore the intellectual quest must contemplate the natural and the supernatural, reason and faith, religion and science, the various levels and forms of political authority, the beginning and end of man, and the relationships that exist among these sets of inquiries. Resulting from Brownson's study of these universal questions is also a particular application of his learning. Brownson, unlike almost any other American figure, illumined the promises and the limitations of American institutions while also seeking to edify its experiment with republican self-government.

This anthology collection will be of great use for academics, graduate and undergraduate students, seminarians, and educated lay readers. the significance of Seeking the Truth is how it allows the reader to walk with Brownson through his intellectual journey and gain a further understanding of one of the best social, political, and religious thinkers of the nineteenth century.

About the Author

Richard Reinsch II is a Fellow of the Liberty Fund, Indianapolis, IN


"Orestes Augustus Brownson was much more than a journalist; he was a profound philosopher and a formidable Catholic apologist. Over the course of his long public life, he probed deeply into fundamental questions. By assembling this series of his essays, Richard Reinsch has performed a great service. Many of today's bitter controversies also occupied Brownson: America's role in the world, the breadth of presidential power, the crucial need to reinvigorate federalism, the thorny problems of immigration and assimilation, the preservation of religious liberty and the freedom of the church, the threats of crony capitalism, and the benefits of free trade. Brownson's clear articulation of first principles in powerful prose provides the men and women of our troubled times with a granite foundation for grappling with similar controversies."—Robert Emmet Moffit, Senior Fellow, The Heritage Foundation

"With the publication of this wonderfully comprehensive anthology, the full range of Orestes Brownson's contribution is here for all to see. A quintessential seeker after truth, the younger Brownson was fully committed to humanitarianism, a pantheistic version of religion, and an American version of what came to be called liberation theology. The mature Brownson, in contrast, defended constitutionalism and republicanism rooted in the clearest sense that man is not God. A Catholic defender of religious liberty, he knew that human self-sovereignty led to self-enslavement. His plea that the 'rights of man' acknowledge the 'rights of God' is as relevant as ever. And Richard Reinsch's learned and ample introductory essay gives us full access to the man, the thinker, and the indefatigable seeker after truth. -"—Daniel J. Mahoney, Assumption College

9780813228617 : seeking-the-truth-reinsch
Paperback / softback
536 Pages
$39.95 USD

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