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This is the best new book I have read this year Kelley is by no means a new author but this is a more sweeping work revealing the authors keen grasp of the philosophy of history and particularly of Western civilization Kelley positions the roots of Western civilization in the Homeric and Platonic world of ancient Greece but unlike many Christians and previous generations and today will brook no compromise with this enlightenment paganism as a valid expression of culture He shrewdly observes that todays increasing calls for a return to the medieval synthesis of Christian and classical civilization is misdirected Should we accept the argument of those who wish to restore the displaced ideals represented by the medieval synthesis of Christianity and Humanism Can such salvage operations succeed Is it possible to remake Western civilization on the same basis from which it first sprang up If so why should one accept that it will turn out better the second time Kelleys answer is unequivocal There are but two options available that which comes from God and His revealed Word or that which arises from mans sin-darkened imagination pp 16-17 Kelley observes Platos attempt to depersonalize the pagan religion of the Homeric era replacing the gods of ancient Greece with an abstractionist rationalism whereby the entire universe would be explained by recourse to human reason It was more than just a struggle between science and religion Their the Greek philosophers interest was to shift the locus of ordering power from the gods to the mind of man so that the mind of man becomes the source of order and is able to govern reality according to the principles innate in the reasoning power of man alone p 56 emphasis in original For Plato and the other Greek philosophers the creation of culture was to be exclusively the work of the intellectually gifted the philosopher-kings especially endowed with rational faculties capable of reshaping all of society
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