The Everlasting Man Paperback – Feb 8 2008
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What--if anything--is it that makes the human uniquely human? This, in part, is the question that G.K. Chesterton starts with in this classic exploration of human history. Responding to the evolutionary materialism of his contemporary (and antagonist) H.G. Wells, Chesterton in this work affirms human uniqueness and the unique message of the Christian faith. Writing in a time when social Darwinism was rampant, Chesterton instead argued that the idea that society has been steadily progressing from a state of primitivism and barbarity towards "civilization" is simply and flatly inaccurate. "Barbarism and civilization were not successive stages in the progress of the world", he affirms, with arguments drawn from the histories of both Egypt and Babylon.
As always with Chesterton, there is in this analysis something (as he said of Blake) "very plain and emphatic". He sees in Christianity a rare blending of philosophy and mythology, or reason and story, which satisfies both the mind and the heart. On both levels it rings true. As he puts it, "in answer to the historical query of why it was accepted, and is accepted, I answer for millions of others in my reply; because it fits the lock; because it is like life". Here, as so often in Chesterton, we sense a lived, awakened faith. All that he himself writes derives from a keen intellect guided by the heart's own knowledge. --Doug Thorpe --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Gilbert Keith Chesterton, (29 May 1874 – 14 June 1936) better known as G.K. Chesterton, was an English writer, lay theologian, poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, orator, literary and art critic, biographer, and Christian apologist. Chesterton is often referred to as the "prince of paradox." Time magazine, in a review of a biography of Chesterton, observed of his writing style: "Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out." (Wikipedia) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Everlasting Man demands to be annotated. Chesterton's prose is masterful, his wit and sarcasm are triumphant, but most fundamentally, his arguments are pointed and illuminating.
Chesterton provides a method and a practical goal. His method is to examine preconceptions by going out of context; to picture our reality as if we were strangers. The goal is to compare the secularist, religious, and dogmatic views of man with this external picture.
His conclusion is in the recognition of Christ as The Distinguishing Event which bears no contrast or comparison with history before or since. Along the way, he dices up comparitive religion, takes a poke or two at Spencer & Darwin, relegates Islam to a heresy (albeit a "respectable heresy") and thoroughly demolishes the concept of secularist rationality.
Among the more profound of Chesterton's recognitions is in the strange continuity of the Church. A little apologetics is involved, but I get the impression that his discussions are intended more for comfort to the faithful than butressing his already-established arguments.
Overall, a thoroughly engaging read. My only negative criticism of the book is the dexterity of Chesterton's references and citations. I probably missed more of his allusions than I caught. In some ways, it reminds me of Swift's Gulliver's Travels - we all get the "Big end/Little end" allusion to Protestant/Catholicism conflict, and the ancillary references to France/England, etc. But only by reading thorough criticism do we find that Swift was referring not only to massive social events, but also to specific individuals and practices.Read more ›
As an answer to G.B. Shaw and H.G. Wells, Chesterton skillfully defends the Catholic and Christian against the modernist attacks which claim that Science and Religion are in conflict. Aquinas would be proud himself of Chersterton's use of Aristotle, who even Darwin claimed to be "the greatest biologist in history".
I highly recommend any Chesterton book to any reader interested in the history of philosophy, theology and man's origens. Also, you don't need a doctorate or a thesaurus to read Chesterton's witty writing.
But this edition is horrible, the introduction stops abruptly after a few paragraphs. You will also find the 'o' in "do" replaced with a zero and the 'h' in "had" replaced with a 'b'.
Most recent customer reviews
Began reading Chesterton last year and have found that his writing is brilliant and clear and reads as if he was writing for the start of this century and not the start of the... Read morePublished 18 days ago by Eugen
First, let me start by saying that this book is essential reading and that, from all Chesterton's work, I would only put it behind his Orthodoxy, the two of which, together with... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Tom Jones
As a fan of C.S. Lewis, I had big expectations for this book. I wasn't disappointed. The author takes us on a journey throughout history with a lot of refreshing insights. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Arviopolis
“The Everlasting Man” is history, philosophy and theology interwoven to tell the story of how Christianity is a unique religion one that has guided man from his pre-Christian state... Read morePublished 13 months ago by James Gallen
Horrible version of a wonderful book. So disappointed. Text was poorly placed on the page making the book impossible to read. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Lindsay Cey
Again this is not easy reading. You have to learn the meanings of his writing. It is sometimes satirical in nature and sometimes forthright. Read morePublished 17 months ago by MCH
Great history and perspective of Christianity in history.
Christians and non-Christians alike will enjoy this history of man, I certainly did.
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