Friday, April 25, 2008
A Secular Age | The Reformation
Charles Taylor's A Secular Age is an important read for anyone who is interested in thinking through the meaning of the Reformation and its shaping of contemporary society in the West. I have never had my thinking on the historical import of that era re-framed to such an extent as through reading the opening chapter of the book, especially pages 60-90. I highly recommend it.
In the section he traces the decline of the "porous" self of the Middles Ages and the rise of a more stable, individual self in the modern period.
The price of entry is kind of high, it takes some time to get into his mode of thought, but taking your time and reading the volume slowly, even though it is long, is worth the effort because of how you think when you come out the other side. I often find this to be the case with long books. The entry fee is high but worth it for the pay-off.
In this case, I think in a completely new way about the idea of salvation by faith, magic, and the fear of death.