November 11, 2019

#BookReview: Curing Mad Truths by Rémi Brague

Synopsis: In his first book composed in English, R�mi Brague maintains that there is a fundamental problem with modernity: we no longer consider the created world and humanity as intrinsically valuable. Curing Mad Truths, based on a number of Brague's lectures to English-speaking audiences, explores the idea that humanity must return to the Middle Ages. Not the Middle Ages of purported backwardness and barbarism, but rather a Middle Ages that understood creation--including human beings--as the product of an intelligent and benevolent God. The positive developments that have come about due to the modern project, be they health, knowledge, freedom, or peace, are not grounded in a rational project because human existence itself is no longer the good that it once was. Brague turns to our intellectual forebears of the medieval world to present a reasoned argument as to why humanity and civilizations are goods worth promoting and preserving.

Curing Mad Truths will be of interest to a learned audience of philosophers, historians, and medievalists.

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About the Author: Rémi Brague is emeritus professor of medieval and Arabic philosophy at the University of Paris I and Romano Guardini Chair Emeritus of Philosophy at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (Munich). He is a member of the Institut de France and the 2012 recipient of the Joseph Ratzinger Prize, often described as the "Nobel Prize in Theology."

Rating: 💊💊
My Review: I was very excited when this one showed up.  And I dived in but shortly after I started it I realized that this just was not the book for me.  It was bogged down by technical terms that I didn't understand and I just felt very bored with it.  So unfortunately this one would be better suited to someone who knows the terms and is very VERY interested in this subject matter.  It is not one of those books you are going to get through pretty quickly.  It's one to take your time with. I could see this being used for a class about the subject. But not something you curl up with a cup of coffee to read. 

"Remi Brague this month releases a new book arguing for a reevaluation of medieval thought. . . . It’s Brague’s first book in English. . . . Curing Mad Truths will be of interest to a learned audience of philosophers, historians, and medievalists." (Law and Religion Forum)

"With his distinctive combination of philological, philosophical, and historical erudition that ranges from the ancient world to our present moment, Rémi Brague poses more to ponder in each of these essays―about God and the good, creation and culture, virtues and values, modernity and meaning―than most writers manage to convey in a book. At issue, ultimately, is whether human beings have the will and wherewithal to go on living in a humane manner. Curing Mad Truths is a gem, and the stakes couldn’t be higher." (Brad Gregory, University of Notre Dame)

“Rémi Brague is a most singular polyglot and polymath, not to mention one of Europe’s wisest and wittiest Christian intellectuals. Curing Mad Truths is an impressive collection of his addresses to English-speaking audiences. As with all of Brague’s work, the volume uniquely combines cleverness and profound insight.” (Douglas Kries, professor of philosophy, Gonzaga University)

"Rémi Brague argues that the modern project has failed, and that the source of the failure is a kind of heresy. To be sure, he does not himself use that word. But it is an apt label for what he describes. Modernity, on Brague’s account, is defined by several ideas it borrowed from Christianity, while at the same time it rejects the larger conceptual context that made those ideas intelligible." (Catholic Herald)

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