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The Way of Life
John Paul II and the Challenge of Liberal Modernity

By Carson Holloway

The Way of Life
Paperback, 205 pages $29.95
Published: 25th June 2008
ISBN: 9781932792966
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All Political Science, All Religious Studies, All Theology, Church History, Religion & Politics

The passing of John Paul II provoked questions about the Pope, particularly in his relation to modernity. Was he opposed to the tenets of modernity, as some critics claimed? Or did he accommodate modernity in a way no Pope ever had, as his champions asserted? In The Way of Life, Carson Holloway examines the fundamental philosophers of modernity-from Hobbes to Toqueville-to suggest that John Paul II's critique of modernity is intended not to reject, but to improve. Thus, claims Holloway, it is appropriate for liberal modernity to attend to the Pope's thought, receiving it not as the attack of an enemy but as the criticism of a candid friend.



1. Introduction

2. The Gospel of Life and the Culture of Death

3. Hobbes and the Origins of Liberal Modernity

4. Locke’s Theistic Liberalism

5. Hume and the Morality of Sympathy

6. The Ambiguity of the American Founding 

7. Tocqueville and the Moral Trajectory of Modern Democracy

8. Conclusion


In this excellent new book, Carson Holloway convincingly shows that the late Pope John Paul II was one of the most important political theorists and activists of the past century. In this well-researched, carefully reasoned, and lucidly written study, Holloway explicates how John Paul II understood the true foundations of modern liberalism more profoundly than most liberal theorists have understood in theory what they have advocated in practice.

—David Novak, J. Richard and Dororthy Shiff Professor of Jewish Studies, University of Toronto

In this lucid and insightful book, Carson Holloway brings political philosophy to bear on John Paul II’s “critique of liberal modernity.” Holloway shows that the Polish Pope was neither a “progressive” nor a “reactionary” but instead a proponent of true humanism rooted in the most august classical and Christian wisdom. This indefatigable defender of human liberty and dignity rejected the premises underlying ‘philosophical modernity’--materialism, hedonism, utilitarianism—precisely because they were incompatible with “the truth about man.”

—Daniel J. Mahoney, Professor of Political Science, Assumption College

Recommended. General readers, all undergraduates, graduates, and researchers.


Carson Holloway (Ph.D. Northern Illinois University) is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a former William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Princeton University's James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions.  He is the author of Magnanimity and Statesmanship (2008), The Right Darwin: Evolution, Religion, and the Future of Democracy (2006), and All Shook Up: Music, Passion, and Politics (2000).

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 205 pages
 9in x 6in

  PHI022000, POL042000, REL010000
 Baylor University Press

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