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Christianity and Culture [Paperback]

By T. S. Eliot (Author)
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Item description for Christianity and Culture by T. S. Eliot...

Overview
On of America's most prized essayists takes a poignant look at two major elements that shape society--religion and culture. Originally published as two separate essays, each explores the very foundations on which modern-day societies are built. In the first essay The Idea of a Christian Society, T.S. Eliot examines the undeniable link between religion, politics, and economy, suggesting that a real Christian society requires a direct criticism of political and economic systems.In the second essay, Notes Towards the Definition of Culture, Eliot sets out to discover the true definition of "culture," a word whose misuse and ambiguity presents a danger to the legacy of the western world. Intellectually, Eliot was years ahead of his time, and these essays continue to be an invaluable tool for analyzing and understanding the nature of society.

Publishers Description
Two long essays: "The Idea of a Christian Society" on the direction of religious thought toward criticism of political and economic systems; and "Notes towards the Definition of Culture" on culture, its meaning, and the dangers threatening the legacy of the Western world.


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Item Specifications...


Studio: Mariner Books
Pages   216
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.06" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.56"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 11, 1960
Publisher   Harvest Books
ISBN  0156177358  
ISBN13  9780156177351  


Availability  72 units.
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More About T. S. Eliot


Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Thomas Stearns Eliot(1888 1965) was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, and spent many of his adult years in England. He worked for a bank while writing poetry, teaching, and reviewing, and was soon recognized as a force in the British literary world. The Waste Land confirmed his reputation as an innovative poet.
Frank Kermode is among our greatest contemporary critics. He has written and edited many works, among them The Sense of Ending and Shakespeare s Language."

T. S. Eliot was born in 1888 and died in 1965.

T. S. Eliot has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Dover Thrift Editions
  2. Harvest Book
  3. Modern Library Classics (Paperback)
  4. Norton Critical Editions
  5. Penguin Classics
  6. Routledge Classics (Paperback)


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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( E ) > Eliot, T. S.
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History



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Reviews - What do customers think about Christianity and Culture?

Religion, Politics, & Philosophy  Sep 6, 2006
T.S. Eliot is not saying that the creation of a Christian state would be a utopia in which everything would be perfect. That would be foolish of him knowing that utopias seem to feel it is their duty to fall apart. This is an important idea to lay down. If Eliot's first essay feels utopian, it is because he is making a case for which type of society would function best, not perfectly. He acknowledges that a Christian society requires many tensions in order to function properly. What he has proposed is a society in which people can argue over dissenting viewpoints, but all discussions should be carried out with a common set of Christian values as their foundation. That is what would work best. He even relents by saying that another set of values could work, just not as well.

Unfortunately, his argument comes from a Christian perspective and bias, which clearly shines through. He bases much of his argument on the idea that one truth regarding God exists and that a society that departs from and forgets that is doomed to fail. This ideology enters into his concept of a Christian education and a national faith, which can only work if the society learns or assumes that the truth they are going to found their society on lies within the Christian faith. Otherwise, the society will not be a positive culture because it will be founded on a believed or actual lie, unless it can somehow happen that founding something on a lie can end with a positive culture, which might be a totally separate, although interesting, topic altogether.

In a distanced conjunction with his first essay, his second one focuses completely on culture. To him, culture is organic, analyzable, and balanced with regard unity and diversity in many areas. He mentions urbanity, civility, learning, philosophy, and the arts but would no doubt include many others, which should all be considered at the same time to get a whole grasp of culture. He has a gripe with the separation of the various areas of culture. The arts should continue to carry out cultural discourse and critique with religion, politics, etc. and vice versa. Culture becomes stagnant when the margins stop talking. If culture "includes all the characteristic activities and interests of a people," then the various areas should be in dialogue with each other so that the various mediums can stay representative of the culture in which they live.

Eliot's poetry and life must have followed this idea fairly closely. His poetry both argues and dances with concepts in religion, politics, philosophy, etc. It is also his communication with thinkers from other European countries. In "The Waste Land," his invocation of authors like Conrad and Dante, regions like Greece and Egypt, and other field of artistic endeavor like ragtime and common music halls puts skin on his belief that every aspect of culture, both national and continental, should be in discussion if new thought is to continue.

Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens
 
Worth your time...for several reads  Jul 20, 2005
What strikes me about this book is that Eliot, for the most part, posits blatant assertions without much logical, analytic proof. And yet, he does not fail to convince, perhaps largely because his vision is so clear and relevant. He draws from common experience to validate what he says, and after reading his argument, one is impressed by the lucidity and transformational power of his argument. He does not come across as a man ranting on the apparent decadence and failure of modern society; rather, he leaves the impression of a man truly concerned with the condition of society and with a genuine desire for its improvement. When you look at the copyright date, it becomes even more impressive.
 
What a fascinating book!  Mar 9, 2003
I bought this book unsure of how 'enlightened' it would be. To my surprise and delight I have found the book alarmingly courageous and specific in its ideas of the Christian person within a secular society. His writing is profoundly moving and expressive, but then again, he is one of the greatest modern poets. I literally had to refrain myself from highlighting every other line of this book, it is that original. I felt as though I were reading a classic novel instead of a book on cultural ideas. A life-changing book to be sure!
 
T.S. Eliot: an astounding writer  Jul 31, 2000
T.S. Eliot is known as one of the world's foremost poets and playwrights, but this book shows him as a brilliant essayist, philosopher, and theologian as well. This book consists of two essays: "The Idea of a Christian Society" and "Notes Toward the Definition of Culture." In these two essays, Eliot displays his mental prowess by cutting to the heart of the issues of culture in general in the second essay and specifically Christian culture in the first. His analysis of these subjects is very orderly, well-thought, and deeper than most any written today, even by sociologists and the like who make a career of studying these things. Eliot breaks culture down into three subclasses: individual, group/class, and whole society. He begins with the individual level of society, analyzing personality characteristics and the like, and moves his way up into group/class and then to the whole society, giving an extremely thoughtful and insightful argument into how these elements relate. Although this book was written over 50 years ago and isn't the most conventional look at these subjects, many of the things Eliot asserts are becoming obvious in today's society, proving him as not only a great writer but also as an accomplished thinker. He goes into great detail on class, geographic regions, sects, politics, religion, and education in relation to culture and society. While the writing is a bit more verbose and difficult than the average modern reader is used to, it is extremely logical; Eliot carefully builds each argument one step at a time. This order makes it possible to gain a great deal of understanding if the reader is willing to wade through the text and ponder what is written. I guarantee that even though many readers won't necessarily understand initially or perhaps agree with everything Eliot asserts in this book, anyone who reads it will end up with a far greater understanding of the workings of society. I recommend this book to anyone who is willing to be stretched in an intellectual way and anyone who seeks to gain a great insight into culture at its various levels and as a whole.
 
T.S. Eliot: an astounding writer  Jun 28, 2000
T.S. Eliot is known as one of the world's foremost poets and playwrights, but this book shows him as a brilliant essayist, philosopher, and theologian as well. This book consists of two essays: "The Idea of a Christian Society" and "Notes Toward the Definition of Culture." In these two essays, Eliot displays his mental prowess by cutting to the heart of the issues of culture in general in the second essay and specifically Christian culture in the first. His analysis of these subjects is very orderly, well-thought, and deeper than most any written today, even by sociologists and the like who make a career of studying these things. Eliot breaks culture down into three subclasses: individual, group/class, and whole society. He begins with the individual level of society, analyzing personality characteristics and the like, and moves his way up into group/class and then to the whole society, giving an extremely thoughtful and insightful argument into how these elements relate. Although this book was written over 50 years ago and isn't the most conventional look at these subjects, many of the things Eliot asserts are becoming obvious in today's society, proving him as not only a great writer but also as an accomplished thinker. He goes into great detail on class, geographic regions, sects, politics, religion, and education in relation to culture and society. While the writing is a bit more verbose and difficult than the average modern reader is used to, it is extremely logical; Eliot carefully builds each argument one step at a time. This order makes it possible to gain a great deal of understanding if the reader is willing to wade through the text and ponder what is written. I guarantee that even though many readers won't necessarily understand initially or perhaps agree with everything Eliot asserts in this book, anyone who reads it will end up with a far greater understanding of the workings of society. I recommend this book to anyone who is willing to be stretched in an intellectual way and anyone who seeks to gain a great insight into culture at its various levels and as a whole.
 

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