Short Book Notices

Randall Collins
The Sociology of Philosophies: A Global Theory of Intellectual Change

2nd printing (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2000)

This massive tome (1,100 pages!) has a simple thesis: patterns of thinking move over time and space but are not necessarily dependent on societal changes or "local constructions of meanings." Rather, the author argues that thick networks of intellectual "clusters," both formal and informal and replete with their peculiar dynamics, determine how intellectual change occurs. Collins, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania, is not content to put any one group or idea under the microscope, though he limits his monograph to the construction of philosophical concepts. Be prepared to be taken on an intellectual pilgrimage that straddles East and West, from ancient times to the present, and across the disciplines. As the author presents them, ideas tend to fold together easily, and connections are made with a lively style. Though the book's bulk may be daunting, the reward is great. Originally published in 1998, the second printing now makes this tour de force available in paperback. -- PJH


Patrick Jordan and Paul Baumann, Eds.
Commonweal Confronts the Century: Liberal Convictions, Catholic Tradition

(New York: Simon and Schuster, 1999)

In some ways, the essays collected here represent a Who's Who among Commonweal writers. Jacques Maritain, Graham Greene, Willa Cather, Evelyn Waugh, Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day -- the list can go on. But the chosen essays are clearly more interesting than that. Arranged topically, they discuss the issues that have confronted church and society over the course of 75 years, a mix that is both exciting and provocative. They reflect a magazine grounded in a vision, yet quite prepared to grapple with thoughtful debate. They are perhaps most interesting to me because they sum up how so many thoughtful people tried to face up to particular problems as they arose. They are small primary sources that helped transform me to the moment, to see how people were reasoning their ways through problems at the moments. They make it clear that some of this reasoning and concern were welcome at the moment, and may well have had an impact, while other ideas were rejected or simply lost in the din. As one lens for assessing where the church in America has been for the last three-quarters of a century, this makes for fascinating reading. -- TML


John Kavanaugh, S.J., and Donna J. Werner, Eds.
What's Ethics Got To Do With It? The Role of Ethics in Undergraduate, Graduate, and Professional Education at Saint Louis University

(St. Louis, MO: St. Louis University Press, 2000)

Although it emerges from conversations unique to one campus, the essays in this volume are indicative of similar dialogues across the nation. Where these conversations are absent or in process, the editors of this book provide an interesting model for their colleagues to advance relationships between research, teaching, and morality. The book is a report on Saint Louis University's "Ethics Across the Curriculum Program," begun as an ad hoc committee that quickly spread to all departments and is headed by John Kavanaugh, S.J., a philosophy professor and contributor to America magazine. Topics covered in the book include health science education, business, law, and public service, all while using "ethics as an optic." More pedagogical issues are also treated, particularly using ethics in the development of character and imparting a sense of reality, as well as showing how ethics functions as a unifying core across the curriculum. The volume concludes with an essay by Donald G. Brennan, Dean of the Graduate School and Ronald Modras, a professor of theology, on alumni/ae and faculty perceptions of values and ethics in SLU's graduate division. The essay provides a summary of survey data on the impact of Jesuit humanism and campus culture. The complete study may be obtained by contacting Brennan at Saint Louis University, 3663 Lindell Blvd., Suite 100, St. Louis, MO 63108. -- PJH


Herbert L. Kessler and Johanna Zacharias
Rome 1300: On the Path of the Pilgrim

(New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000)

This sumptuously illustrated volume examines the phenomena of pilgrimage during the very first Jubilee year, established by Pope Boniface VIII, in 1300. For many today, pilgrimage to Rome during the present Jubilee has meant an exercise of shallow popular piety, particularly on the hope of gaining the Jubilee indulgence. But this is to leave aside what is essentially a very human act. We want to put our feet on the ground of so many martyrs. We want to put our gaze on the light streaming through church windows. Kessler and Zacharias, both at Johns Hopkins University, return us to a time in the Church's life that lived for the holy. Like the diary of the pilgrim Egeria, the fourth century woman who made her way to Jerusalem, this book describes what the pilgrim in Rome would have encountered and en route depicts some of the most beautiful mosaics in each of the major stational churches. There are engaging chapters on St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, the old St. Peter's, and the Lateran Bascilica. The volume will appeal to art historians, medievalists, architects, and pilgrims alike. -- PJH


Martin R. Tripole, S.J., Ed.
Proceedings of Jesuit Education 21: Conference on the Future of Jesuit Higher Education, 2 vols.

(Philadelphia, PA: St. Joseph's University Press, 2000)

The proceedings of this important conference on Jesuit higher education took place at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia in June 1999. Over three hundred educators took part. Keynote addresses were given by Peter Steinfels of The New York Times and Archbishop Guiseppe Pittau, S.J., Secretary of the Holy See's Congregation for Catholic Education. The book reproduces the texts of their speeches as well as seventy-eight other presentations whose topics ranged from the state of research and publication to Jesuit-lay collaboration to the role of media and technology on today's Jesuit campuses. -- PJH