Books in Brief

The Legitimacy of the Human, by Rémi Brague, translated and with an Introduction by Paul Seaton (South Bend, IN: St. Augustine’s Press; 176 pp., $26.00). Rémi Brague, the French Catholic historian and political philosopher, made his wider reputation in the early 1990’s with his book Europe, la voie romaine (in English translation, Eccentric Culture: A Theory of Western Civilization), in which he attempted a sketch of what Europe should be following its reunification after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Brague’s fear was that the future of Europe as Europe was uncertain, and events of the past quarter-century have only increased his anxiety. Throughout his career Brague has insisted that European civilization is founded on the civilizations of Athens and Jerusalem, mediated by Rome. (His emphasis on this qualification puts him at odds with Leo Strauss’s understanding of the matter.) Brague perceived that contemporary Europe had cast aside its premodern understanding of man and the world in favor of an anthropocentric scientism that made man his own self-determined creator. The Legitimacy of the Human, described by the author as a satellite of his much larger volume, Le Règne de l’homme (The Kingdom of Man), argues that

[M]odern thought is short on arguments...

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