Here I comment on a new review by Daniel Mahoney of Pierre Manent’s latest book. Mahoney provides a very valuable presentation of this work against the background of an admirably deft distillation of his career – a very nice statement in particular of what he owes (and doesn’t owe) to Raymond Aron and to Leo Strauss. (This book will appear later this year from Saint Augustine Press as Beyond Radical Secularism: How France and the Christian West Should Respond to the Islamic Challenge, translated by Ralph Hancock with an Introduction by Daniel Mahoney.)
Mahoney captures beautifully Manent’s exceptionally acute reflection on the relationship between Christianity and politics in the modern world. Manent’s reflections on “the covenant of communion and freedom,” and on the convergence between Divine Providence and free human action invoke the spirit of Thomas Aquinas’s Christian-Aristotelian synthesis, but without dependence on a systematic intellectualist understanding of transcendence. There is much food for thought here for a Latter-Day Saint reflection on the continuity between human action and eternal purposes.