James V. Schall, S.J.

Written by James V. Schall, S.J.

James V. Schall, S.J. was a Professor of Government at Georgetown University. He is author and editor of over thirty books, the latest being Docilitas: On Teaching and Being Taught (St. Augustine's, 2016).

HomeArticles Posted by James V. Schall, S.J. (Page 2)

Aquinas’ definition of law is very brief and straight-forward. Most lawyers and even college students will at least have heard tell of it. It reads: “Law is an ordination of reason, by the proper authority, for the common good, and promulgated.” Many things are stated and implied in this brief, compact sentence.
When each of these four elements of the definition…

What does a politician “do”? Some would have it that he does not do much of anything. Others think that whatever it is that he does, he usually makes things worse. Politicians certainly talk a lot. Their speeches sometimes move our souls or save our civilization like those of Pericles, Cicero, Henry V, Lincoln, or Churchill. The talk of politicians…

A friend of mine recently asked me how he should go about reading Samuel Johnson, the great 18th century English lexicographer, a man of many parts. I replied: “Find a good edition of Boswell’s Life of Johnson, one you can underline as you read it. Then sit down, begin on page one. Read a couple of pages every day or…

On Thursday, May 1, 1783, with “the young Mr. (Edmund) Burke” present, Samuel Johnson remarked: “It is strange that there should be so little reading in the world and so much writing. People in general do not willingly read if they can have anything else to amuse them.” The word “reading” here does not mean, say, the reading of e-mails, which…

Leo Strauss and His Catholic Readers. Geoffrey M. Vaughan, ed. Washington D.C.: Catholic University Press, 2018.
 
“Strauss embraced classical philosophy over religious faith, not as a system of set doctrines, but as a ‘way of life’ following the model of Socrates, featuring a Socratic ignorance and a searching (zetetic) or erotic skepticism. In this view, the philosopher lives happily with merely…

"What is happening in the Muslim world is not so much an outburst of fanaticism as a frantic last-ditch effort to ward off the specter of - well, not of capitalism, not of Communism, not of hedonism - but of science."
- Stanley Jaki, "On Whose Side Is History?"[1]
 
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Not since the Crusades, perhaps, has an understanding of Islam's self-understanding of itself…

Michael Cook, the Editor of MercatorNet, has kindly invited me to make some comments on a new book of mine, On Islam: A Chronological Record, 2002-2018. Several of the chapters in this book originally appeared in MercatorNet. As I mention in the book’s Introduction, I have paid attention to the rises and falls of Islam ever since I read, some…

But there is another sort of old age too: the tranquil and serene evening of a life spent in peaceful, blameless, enlightened pursuits. Such, we are told, were the last years of Plato, who died in his eighty-first year while still actively engaged in writing.
— Cicero, On Old Age [1]
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In Volume III of his Order and History, Eric Voegelin reflected…

The experience of the cosmos existing in precarious balance on the edge of emerging from nothing and returning to nothing must be acknowledged, therefore, as lying at the center of the primary experience of the cosmos.
 – Eric Voegelin, Order and History, 2000.[1]
 
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In a seminal passage, Eric Voegelin spoke of “the primary experience of the cosmos.” By this phrase, he did…

Philosophy is to remind us of the necessity in things: not just to the necessities to which we have to resign ourselves, but those we can find splendid.
– Robert Sokolowski, Moral Action: A Phenomenological Study.[1]
 
Now classical political philosophy has held that it is not any natural power that is first and properly the concern of the political art, but on…