Monday, June 29, 2015

George Grant and Radical Orthodoxy - Ron Dart

I teach Him (Grant) now—but oddly only started to read him around 2010. So only since then any direct influence—but no doubt indirectly much before then.
                         (John Milbank to Ron Dart, email, 12-15-2014)  
Conrad Noel continued the Headlam/Hancock sense that the church was the true society and extended earlier intuitions about the links between liturgy and social order. He surely realized the powerful links between beauty and justice, social and natural harmony.                  
                          (John Milbank to Ron Dart, email, 1-2-2015)                  


The Dethronement of Secular Reason:

Grant and Milbank

I remember, with much fondness, a lunch spent with John Milbank at Peterhouse (founded in 1284) in Cambridge in May 1995. I was doing, at the time, research on the Anglican High Romanticism of S. T. Coleridge and the Anglican High Toryism of T.S. Eliot. I was on my way to Little Gidding for a few days to ponder Eliot’s Four Quartets. John Milbank had published his innovative and plough to soil tome, Theology and Social Theory: Beyond Secular Reason (1990). Radical Orthodoxy did not exist at the time, but the seeds of the movement had definitely been sown with Theology and Social Theory. Needless to say, we chatted much at Peterhouse (the definitive High Church college at Cambridge—Milbank made sure I realized this was Laud’s College) about Milbank’s demanding read of a book and how his challenge to secular reason opened up new yet much older terrain in which to do theology, philosophy, social theory and, in time, political philosophy. I did, a few days later, when at St. John’s College Oxford, attend a lecture by Professor Patrick Collinson, who spent most of the time bashing Archbishop William Laud (but such were his puritan and protestant prejudices). I was fortunate at the time to be spending time with David Nicholls (rector of SS Mary & Nicholas Church Littlemore—The church Cardinal Newman built and where he crossed the Rubicon to Rome—quite a different read on Laud and politics than that offered by Collinson.     

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