Read Christianity and Culture: The Idea of a Christian Society and Notes Towards the Definition of Culture by T.S. Eliot Free Online
Book Title: Christianity and Culture: The Idea of a Christian Society and Notes Towards the Definition of Culture|
The author of the book: T.S. Eliot
ISBN 13: 9780156177351
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 613 KB
City - Country: No data
Edition: Mariner Books
Date of issue: April 11th 1960
Loaded: 1869 times
Reader ratings: 4.3
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This is certainly an important entry into the discussion about the relationship between Christianity and culture. Eliot, writing in the 1930s from Britain, offers a vision of Christian society that is distinct from the society in which he then lived--in other words, he acknowledges that what once may have been a Christian society had then moved past such a designation. This fact is significant because it forces Christians to grapple with the world as it is, rather than as we imagine it to be. Furthermore, Eliot believes that culture is in constant danger absent a Christian society, and that we would do well to become a Christian society. Eliot does not mean by this that everyone should become Christian, but that we should push toward organizing ourselves around the Christian ideals and symbols that have historically characterized that religion.
After sketching "The Idea of a Christian Society," in the first essay, Eliot moves on to lay out "Notes on the Definition of Culture," in his second, and longer essay. In this essay, Eliot believes that all culture has appeared or developed alongside a religion, thus making culture and religion intertwined. Eliot lays out a number of ideas in this section, from the notion that culture should be thought of in three ways: individual, group, and society. He believes that culture benefits from class structures, as they provide opportunities to transmit information in clearly defined roles and traditions. Eliot's fear is that without certain structures in society that culture will eventually disintegrate as people lose their connection to their individual and group cultures. Eliot distinguishes between his notion of class and the more offensive idea of a caste system. He believes that all people, when possessing certain genius or ability, should be able to step outside the traditional roles of their class and into other roles. All that said, Eliot has a great appreciation for culture at all levels of society, and that while those of upper classes may have a more broad or delicate sensibility when it comes to culture, all expressions of culture have a certain value to them.
The book is a major attempt to interact with the relationship between Christianity and culture, and while it is difficult to see how the ideas might translate outside of the more structured society of Britain, the work does help to give definition to the close relationship between religion and culture, as well as a number of the factors that serve to make up any particular culture.
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Read information about the authorThomas Stearns Eliot was a poet, dramatist and literary critic. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948 "for his outstanding, pioneer contribution to present-day poetry." He wrote the poems The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, The Waste Land, The Hollow Men, Ash Wednesday, and Four Quartets; the plays Murder in the Cathedral and The Cocktail Party; and the essay Tradition and the Individual Talent. Eliot was born an American, moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 (at the age of 25), and became a British subject in 1927 at the age of 39.
See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T.S._Eliot