The Relation Between Religion and Culture
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By Daniel A. O'Connor, C.S.V.
The Relation Between Religion and Culture synthesizes the writings of Christopher Dawson, preeminent Catholic historian and sociologist, on the practice of religion and the progression of civilization. Engaging the entirety of Dawson’s bibliography, Daniel A. O’Connor charts his discovery and description of the fundamental causes of societal development and decline alike, beginning with the prehistoric peoples and closing with the modern age. With modesty and clarity of purpose, O’Connor surveys the landscape of history and demonstrates the basis of what Dawson identifies as the core of culture: an animating spiritual principle, normally supplied by religion, which is the creative force behind the “sustained social effort” of civilization.
A singular study of one of the twentieth century’s greatest historians, The Relation Between Religion and Culture is a comprehensive, engrossing overview of Dawson’s thought, the implications of its findings and conclusions, and a balanced assessment of its criticisms.
Dawson’s work in the field of culture…is of outstanding importance. In his writings, he has demonstrated…that religion is a necessary and vital element in any living culture. This is true of all levels of culture, from the primitive to the higher or civilized. –Daniel A. O’Connor
Daniel A. O’Connor, C.S.V., (1892–1974) was a Catholic priest and Cleric of St. Viator. Earning his doctoral degree from the University of Louvain, Belgium, under the direction of Constant Van Gestel, O.P., O’Connor served as the assistant general of the Clerics and a parish priest, was the first principal of Cathedral High School in Springfield, Illinois, and was a professor of social sciences at Marquette University.