New Duquesne University philosophy chair Dr. James C. Swindal has garnered a first-ever with his new book, The Sheed & Ward Anthology of Catholic Philosophy, a comprehensive collection of readings by Catholic philosophers from the patristic age to the present.Co-editors Swindal and Harry J. Gensler, S.J., believe the book is the first published anthology on Catholic philosophy. It recently was printed by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., which owns Sheed & Ward, one of the world’s most distinguished Catholic publishing houses.
No single recognized “Catholic philosophy” exists. The idea for the book was born when Swindal and Gensler, his former colleague in the John Carroll University Philosophy Department, started discussing what would be included in a Catholic philosophy course. They became so interested that, after three years, they produced the anthology.
One of the biggest challenges, according to Swindal and Gensler, was editing the vast number of selections. “Our task was large: to take 2,000 years of writings that deal with philosophical themes relevant to the Catholic faith, choose which readings to include, and present these in an understandable way,” Swindal notes. “It involved making many difficult choices; and we realize that, however we chose, some people would have preferred different choices.”
The book’s 82 readings were selected to increase readers’ understanding of Catholic philosophy by grouping together the best examples of this tradition. The work features both familiar classics and lesser-known selections and stresses themes integral to the Catholic tradition, such as the harmony of faith and reason, and the nature of the human person, and the nature of being.
Writings by Aristotle, St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, René Descartes and Maurice Blondel are included in the book’s five major groupings: preliminaries, the Patristic Era, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance through the 19th century, and the 20th century and beyond.
Feedback on the Anthology of Catholic Philosophy has been positive, including accolades from Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I, the archbishop of Chicago, who calls the book as “useful for private study and in the classroom.”
Anthology of Catholic Philosophy is geared primarily toward students in Catholic studies programs, but it can also be used as an important reference source in libraries. Swindal plans to use the book next fall in a course he will teach on Christian thinking.