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THE ORDER OF THINGS: The New Book from Fr. James V. Schall, S.J.

The Order of Things

Father James Schall, the well-known author and professor of philosophy at Georgetown University, inquires about the various orders found in the cosmos, the human mind, the human body, the city, and he seeks to reflect upon the unity of these orders. In a world in which the presence of reason and order are denied--presumably in the name of science--in favor of chance explanations of why things are as they are, it is surprising to find that, in the various realms open to the human intellect, we find a persistent order revealed. At first sight, it may seem that this reality can be explained by chance occurrence, but after a point, there is a growing sense that behind things there is, in fact, an order. This order can be traced in the many areas that are open to the human mind. As Aquinas has noted, the order within the cosmos points to an order outside of it, since the cosmos cannot be the cause of its own internal order.

Philosophers have long inquired about the curious fact that the order of things implies not a mere relationship of one thing to another, but a hint that the universe is created with a certain superabundance. Why is the universe, and the things within it, not only ordered but, ordered with a sense of beauty?

Not only is there an order in things, but also the human mind seems attuned to this order as something it delights in discovering. This relationship implies that there is some correspondence between mind and reality. What is the relationship between the mind and reality? The Order of Things explores this question. Relying on common sense and the experience available to everyone, Schall concludes that it requires more credulity to disbelieve in order than to experience it. Finally, Schall explores the fundamental cause of order, what it is like? Having looked at the order of the created universe, it is not surprising that the revelation of the Godhead is itself ordered in terms of an inner relationship of Persons.

"Here is a book about everything, the subject which just happens to be the most neglected in our narrow-minded, short-sighted world. Fr. Schall takes on heaven and hell and everything in between. And his clear-thinking sparkles in his clear-writing. A painless and praiseworthy way to sweep out any confusion and muddled ideas that may be lurking in your head." - Dale Ahlquist | Author, Common Sense 101: Lessons from G .K. Chesterton

"Father James V. Schall is one of the few renaissance men still among us. His knowledge of various areas of reality and human endeavor is encyclopedic. Dealing with important abstract ideas, he is able to put flesh on them so that the ordinary reader can grasp easily what he is getting at. Schall is the apostle of truth and reality, since he is always reminding the reader to consult that which is." - Kenneth Baker, S.J. | Editor, Homiletic & Pastoral Review

"After reading James V. Schall's The Order of Things, I have been sorely tempted to give up teaching and simply tell my students to read Schall. This little work is a virtual ratio studiorum of higher education in the finest sense. Its wisdom towers over the current intellectual scene with a common sense sanity that is intoxicating. It is Schall at his best." - Peter A. Redpath | Professor of Philosophy, St. John's University

Fr. James V. Schall, S.J., is Professor of Political Philosophy at Georgetown University.

He was born in Pocahontas, Iowa, January 20, 1928. Educated in public schools in Iowa, he graduated in 1945 from Knoxville, Iowa High, and then attended University of Santa Clara. He earned an MA in Philosophy from Gonzaga University in 1945.

After time in the U.S. Army (1946-47), he joined the Society of Jesus (California Province) in 1948. He received a PhD in Political Theory from Georgetown University in 1960, and an MST from University of Santa Clara four years later. Fr. Schall was a member of the Faculty of Institute of Social Sciences, Gregorian University, Rome, from 1964-77, and a member of the Government Department, University of San Francisco, from 1968-77. He has been a member of the Government Department at Georgetown University since 1977.

Fr. Schall has written hundreds of essays on political, theological, literary, and philosophical issues in such journals as The Review of Politics, Social Survey (Melbourne), Studies (Dublin), The Thomist, Divus Thomas (Piacenza), Divinitas (Rome), The Commonweal, Thought, Modern Age, Faith and Reason, The Way (London), The New Oxford Review, University Bookman, Worldview, and many others. He contributes regularly to Crisis and Homiletic & Pastoral Review.

He is the author of numerous books on social issues, spirituality, culture, and literature including On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs: Teaching, Writing, Playing, Believing, Lecturing, Philosophizing, Singing, Dancing, Redeeming the Time, Human Dignity and Human Numbers, and A Student's Guide to Liberal Learning.

Books by Fr. Schall published by Ignatius Press include Another Sort of Learning, Idylls and Rambles, The Order of Things, Christianity and Life, Distinctiveness of Christianity, and Liberation Theology. Other recent books by Fr. Schall include A Student's Guide to Liberal Learning (ISI), The Life of the Mind (ISI), The Sum Total of Human Happiness (St. Augustine's Press), and The Regensburg Lecture (St. Augustine's Press).

Articles and columns appearing on IgnatiusInsight.com:

2009 Articles and Columns:

Caritas in Veritate: "Its Principal Driving Force"
• The Old Testament and the New Testament
• The Gift of God
• Heaven Is Not an Abstraction
• "A Word Addressed by God to His People": Benedict XVI and the Interpretation of Sacred Scripture
• The Burke Lecture
• "The Bridge Between This World and Eternal Life"
• Immortality, Resurrection of the Body, Memory
• "The Dignity of the Person Must Be Recognized..."
• "The Central Event of History"

2008 Articles and Columns:

• "The Single Divine Plan": Thinking About Poverty
• The World We Think In and the Drama of Existence
• "Words create history": On Benedict XVI and the Synod
The Papal Visit
Resurrection and Real Justice
On Being Moved
"Always More Than Is Seen": Benedict XVI on the Meaning of Man
The Only Way You Can Be You
The Judgment of God
Schall on the Sapienza Lecture: Benedict XVI on the Nature of a University
"How Difficult It Is!" | On Justice and the Earthly City
Putting Things In Order: Father James V. Schall, S.J., on Eighty Years of Living, Thinking, and Believing
Patron Saint of Teachers: Or, On the Meaning of the Second Semester

2007 Articles and Columns:

What In Christmas Season Grows: On the Days Leading Up to the Nativity of the Lord
The Enormity of the Universe
The Encyclical on Hope: On the "De-immanentizing" of the Christian Eschaton
Why the Bewilderment? Benedict XVI on Natural Law
31 Questions for Schall (Part Two)
31 Questions for Schall (Part One)
"Where God is, there is the future" | On Benedict XVI in Austria
Why Do Things Exist? On the Meaning of Being
On Wars...and Wars of Ideas
"The Self-Revelation of God's Reality in History": On the Final Chapter of Jesus of Nazareth
"God Is The Issue": The Temptation in the Desert and the Kingdoms of This World
Pope Benedict XVI and the Essential Worldwide Mission
On Saying the Tridentine Mass
"No Weighing, No Disputing, No Such Thing": Ratzinger and Europe
God Made Visible: On the Foreword to Benedict XVI's Jesus of Nazareth
What Must I Read To Be Saved? On Reading and Salvation
What Is Catholicism? Questions With Answers
Murder On Campus: A Meditation On Death of the Young
On "Losing" One's Faith at University
Peace, Justice, Ecology: The "Substitutes" For God
Pope Benedict XVI On Natural Law
The Two (And Only Two) Cities
What Is "Legal"? On Abortion, Democracy, and Catholic Politicians
Benedict on Aquinas: "Faith Implies Reason"
Secularity: On Benedict XVI and the Role of Religion in Society

2006 Articles and Columns:

"A Requirement of Intellectual Honesty": On Benedict and the German Bishops
What is the Proper Object of Theology? The Pope at the Gregorian
The Soul of the West | An interview with Fr. James V. Schall, S.J
On November: All Souls and the "Permanent Things"
The Spirit of Assisi
Intellectual Charity: On Benedict XVI and the Canadian Bishops
The State Which Would Provide Everything
9/11 Revisited
On School and Things That Are Not Fair
On the Term "Islamo-Fascism"
Is Christianity a Comfortable Religion?
Godless: A Review
Do We Deserve To Be Free? On The Fourth of July, 2006
Creation, Salvation, and the Mass
On The Intellectual Needs of Ordinary People
Atheism and the Purely "Human" Ethic
Reading Without Learning: On Not Missing "Sublime Passage"
The Meaning of Dogma
On Adapting to "Modern Times"
Easter: The Defiant Feast
Mystifying Indeed: On Being Fully Human
Lincoln's Second Inaugural: A Historic Call to Charity
Accidents Happen!
"Written In Courage": An Analysis of the 2006 State of the Union Address
God's Eros Is Agape
On Reading the Pope

2005 Articles and Columns:

Christmas: Sign of Contradiction, Season of Redemption
What a Homily Should Be: Doctrinal, Liturgical, and Spiritual
The End Times: The Secret Hidden From the Universe
The Brighter Side of Hell
Dialogue Is Never Enough
The Inequalities of Equality
On Praise and Celebration
Making Sense of Disasters
Martyrs and Suicide Bombers
Wars Without Violence?
Chesterton and the Delight of Truth
The One War, The Real War
Reflections On Saying Mass (And Saying It Correctly)
Suppose We Had a "Liberal" Pope
On Being Neither Liberal nor Conservative
Is Heresy Heretical?
Catholic Commencements: A Time for Truth to Be Honored

2004 Articles and Columns:

On The Sternness of Christianity
On Teaching the Important Things

IgnatiusInsight.com Interview with Fr. Schall (2005):

On Learning and Education: An Interview with Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. | Part 1 of 3
On Writing and Reading: Interview with Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. | Part 2 of 3
Chesterton, Sports, and Politics: Interview with Fr. James V. Schall, S.J. | Part 3 of 3

• Read more of Fr. Schall's essays on his website.


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