Lord Acton (1834–1902) is often called a historian of liberty. A great historian and political thinker, he had a rare talent for reaching beneath the surface and revealing the hidden springs that move the world. While endeavoring to understand the components of a truly free society, Acton attempted to see how the principles of self-determination and freedom worked in practice, from antiquity to his own time. But though he penned hundreds of papers, essays, reviews, letters, and ephemera, the ultimate book of his findings and views on the history of liberty remained unwritten. Reading a book a day for years, he still could not keep pace with the output of his time, and finally, dejected, he gave up. Today, Acton is mainly known for a single maxim, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
The primacy of the bishop of Rome, the pope, as it was finally shaped in the Middle Ages and later defined by Vatican I and II has been one of the thorniest issues in the history of the Western and Eastern Churches. This issue was a primary cause of the division between the two Churches and the events that followed the schism of 1054: the sack of Constantinople by the crusaders in 1204, the appointment by Pope Innocent III of a Latin patriarch of Constantinople, and the establishment of Uniatism as a method and model of union. Always a topic in ecumenical dialogue, the issue of primacy has appeared to be an insurmountable obstacle to the realization of full unity between Roman Catholicism and the Orthodox Christianity.
In this timely and comprehensive work, Maximos Vgenopoulos analyzes the response of major Orthodox thinkers to the Catholic understanding of the primary of the pope over the last two centuries, showing the strengths and weaknesses of these positions. Covering a broad range of primary and secondary sources and thinkers, Vgenopoulos approaches the issue of primacy with an open and ecumenical manner that looks forward to a way of resolving this most divisive issue between the two Churches. For the first time here the thought of Greek and Russian Orthodox theologians regarding primacy is brought together systematically and compared to demonstrate the emergence of a coherent view of primacy in accordance with the canonical principles of the Orthodox Church. In looking at crucial Greek-language sources Vgenopoulos makes a unique contribution by providing an account of the debate on primacy within the Greek Orthodox Church.
Primacy in the Church from Vatican I to Vatican II is an invaluable resource on the official dialogue taking place between the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church today. This important book will be of broad interest to historians, theologians, seminarians, and all those interested in Orthodox-Catholic relations.
Fighting Slavery and Prejudice in the Old Northwest,1830–1870
In the Old Northwest from 1830-1870, a bold set of activists battled slavery and racial prejudice. This book is about their expansive efforts to eradicate southern slavery and its local influence in the contentious milieu of four new states carved out of the Northwest Territory: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio. While the Northwest Ordinance outlawed slavery in the region in 1787, in reality both it and racism continued to exert strong influence in the Old Northwest, as seen in the race-based limitations of civil liberties there. Indeed, these states comprised the central battleground over race and rights in antebellum America, in a time when race's social meaning was deeply infused into all aspects of Americans' lives, and when people struggled to establish political consensus.
While the dominant approaches to the current study of political philosophy are various, with some friendlier to religious belief than others, almost all place constraints on the philosophic and political role of revelation. Mainstream secular political theorists do not entirely disregard religion. But to the extent that they pay attention, their treatment of religious belief is seen more as a political or philosophic problem to be addressed rather than as a positive body of thought from which we might derive important insights about the nature of politics and the truth of the human condition.
In a one-of-a-kind collection, DeHart and Holloway bring together leading scholars from various fields, including political science, philosophy, and theology, to challenge the prevailing orthodoxy and to demonstrate the role that religion can and does play in political life. Contributing authors include such important thinkers as Peter Augustine Lawler, Robert C. Koons, J. Budziszewski, Francis J. Beckwith, and James Stoner.
This valuable study explores the Russian Enlightenment with reference to the religious Enlightenment of the mid to late eighteenth century. Grounded in close reading of the sermons and devotional writings of Platon (Levshin), Court preacher and Metropolitan of Moscow, the book examines the blending of European ideas into the teachings of Russian Orthodoxy. Highlighting the interplay between Enlightenment thought and Orthodox enlightenment, Elise Wirtschafter addresses key questions of concern to religious Enlighteners across Europe: humanity’s relationship to God and creation, the distinction between learning and enlightenment, the role of Christian love in authority relationships, the meaning of free will in a universe governed by Divine Providence, and the unity of church, monarchy, and civil society. Countering scholarship that depicts an Orthodox religious culture under assault from European modernity and Petrine absolutism, Wirtschafter emphasizes the ability of Russia’s educated churchmen to assimilate and transform Enlightenment ideas. The intellectual and spiritual vitality of eighteenth-century Orthodoxy helps to explain how Russian policymakers and intellectuals met the challenge of European power while simultaneously coming to terms with the broad cultural appeal of the Enlightenment’s universalistic human rights agenda.
“Doesn’t an educated person—simple and working, sick and with a sick child—doesn’t she have the right to enjoy at least the crumbs at the table of the revolutionary feast?” Disabled single mother Maria Zolotova-Sologub raised this question in a petition dated July 1929 demanding medical assistance and a monthly subsidy for herself and her daughter. While the welfare of able-bodied and industrially productive people in the first socialist country in the world was protected by a state-funded insurance system, the social rights of labor-incapacitated and unemployed individuals such as Zolotova-Sologub were difficult to define and legitimize.
The Right to Be Helped illuminates the ways in which marginalized members of Soviet society understood their social rights and articulated their moral expectations regarding the socialist state between 1917 and 1950. Maria Galmarini-Kabala shows how definitions of state assistance and who was entitled to it provided a platform for policymakers and professionals to engage in heated debates about disability, gender, suffering, and productive and reproductive labor. She explores how authorities and experts reacted to requests for support, arguing that responses were sometimes characterized by an enlightened nature and other times by coercive discipline, but most frequently by a combination of the two.
By focusing on the experiences of behaviorally problematic children, unemployed single mothers, and blind and deaf adults in several major urban centers, this important study shows that the dialogue over the right to be helped was central to defining the moral order of Soviet socialism. It will appeal to scholars and students of Russian history, as well as those interested in comparative disabilities and welfare studies.
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