Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Charles Lemert

Charles Lemert is Senior Fellow at Yale's Center for Comparative Research. His recent books include The Structural Lie: Small Clues to Globalization (Paradigm, 2011) as well as Why Niebuhr Matters (Yale University Press, 2011).

His reply to my recent query about what he was reading:
Stephen Greenblatt's recent book, The Swerve, led me back to Lucretius' poem "On the Nature of Things". Greenblatt argues that this long lost classic from the last years of the Roman Republic was rediscovered for the modern era. Lucretius, argues Greenblatt, transformed modern thinking about the world as a sphere of things without an otherworldly force - as beautiful and scientific intricate in itself apart for the displaced hope of a better life in another world. Lucretius was a stunningly fine poet as well as very compelling philosopher of natural history. His "On the Nature of Things" has served me as a kind of counterweight to Reinhold Niebuhr's insistence on human history as caught between modern man's arrogance and the divine mysteries that illuminate them without explaining their final meaning. Niebuhr was influenced by St Augustine, who wrote Christian and secular philosophy in the 5th century as the Roman empire was ending. Together, Lucretius and Augustine (as well as Niebuhr) concentrate the mind on the life of the Dead, the subject of my next book.
Visit Charles Lemert's website.

The Page 99 Test: Why Niebuhr Matters.

My Book, The Movie: Why Niebuhr Matters.

--Marshal Zeringue