Christianity and Culture
by T S Eliot
Christianity and Culture- The Idea of a Christian Society AND Notes towards the Definition of Culture By T. S. Eliot. Originally published in 1940. ... Show synopsis Christianity and Culture- The Idea of a Christian Society AND Notes towards the Definition of Culture By T. S. Eliot. Originally published in 1940. Contents include: The Idea of a Christian Society I Preface 3 Notes 52 Postscript 69 Appendix 71 Notes towards the Definition of Culture 79 Preface 83 Introduction 85 i. The Three Senses of Culture 93 n. The Class and the Elite 107 in. Unity and Diversity: The Region 123 iv. Unity and Diversity: Sect and Cult 141 v, A Note on Culture and Politics 158 vi. Notes on Education and Culture: and Conclusion 171 APPENDIX: The Unity of European Culture. Christianity and Culture has appeared too recently for me to have made use of it. And I am deeply indebted to the works of Jacques Maritain, es pecially his Humanisme integral. 1 trust that the reader will understand from the beginning that this book does not make any plea for a religious revival in a sense with which we are already familiar. That is a task for which I am incompetent, and the term seems to me to imply a possible separation of religious feeling from religious thinking which I do not accept or which I do not find ac ceptable for our present difficulties. An anonymous writer has recently observed in The New English Weekly ( July 13, 1939) that men have lived by spiritual institutions ( of some kind) in every society, and also by political institutions and, indubitably, by eco nomic activities. Admittedly, they have, at different periods, tended to put their trust mainly in one of the three as the real cement of society, but at no time have they wholly excluded the others, because it is impossible to do so. This is an important, and in its context valuable, distinc tion; but it should be clear that what I am concerned with here is not spiritual institutions in their separated aspect, but the organisation of values, and a direction of religious thought which must inevitably proceed to a criticism of political and economic systems. CHAPTER I: THE fact that a problem will certainly take a long time to solve, and that it will demand the attention of many minds for several generations, is no justification for postponing the study. And, in times of emergency, it may prove in the long run that the problems we have postponed or ignored, rather than those we have failed to attack success fully, will return to plague us. Our difficulties of the moment must always be dealt with somehow: but our permanent dif ficulties are difficulties of every moment. The subject with which I am concerned in the following pages is one to which I am convinced we ought to turn our attention now, if we hope ever to be relieved of the immediate perplexities that fill our minds. It is urgent because it is fundamental; and its urgency is the reason for a person like myself attempting to address, on a subject beyond his usual scope, that public which is likely to read what he writes on other subjects. This is a subject which I could, no doubt, handle much better were I a profound scholar in any of several fields. But I am not writ ing for scholars, but for people like myself; some defects may be compensated by some advantages; and what one must be judged by, scholar or no, is not particularised knowledge but one's total harvest of thinking, feeling, living and observ ing human beings. While the practice of poetry need not in itself confer wis dom or accumulate knowledge, it ought at least to train the mind in one habit of universal value: that of analysing the meanings of words: of those that one employs oneself, as well as the words of others.