The Christian Heritage: Problems and Prospects
by George Anastaplo
(Foreword by Martin E. Marty; published by Lexington Books, 2010)
Francis D. Wolfe, Jr.
I am a retired Chicago lawyer. Six years ago my wife and I decided to retire to Europe.
I am personally an “atheist,” but since we have been living here we have been impressed by how much this place is a Christian culture. This does not mean that people go to church or profess any belief in God, but the whole culture is deeply wrapped up in the Christian heritage. This is true from Norway to Spain. That is what makes Professor Anastaplo’s book, The Christian Heritage, so exceptional. It is impossible to understand any social phenomena over here without being aware of the common Christian heritage. You cannot begin to understand even the present sovereign-debt problem or the syndicate reaction to a factory closing without knowledge of the culture. One of the great things about the Anastaplo book is that it is not a polemic. The author is not trying to convert the reader, but just to explain the depth of this phenomenon. I have been thinking that some of the great schools in business, economics, history, etc. would do well to have seminars using this book under the guidance of knowledgeable faculty. It would do more good for the student than still another semester on the time-value of money. (By the way, the United States is likewise influenced by a Christian culture. Reflection on Calvin’s idea of “the elect” would go a long way to understanding American gun ownership.)
I can recommend this book as one of the best social studies in a long time.