Bruce Frohnen on T.S. Eliot, culture, and secularization

Eliot’s salient point does not concern the process of secularization; it concerns the definition of culture. For, in Eliot’s view, culture is not and cannot be separated from religion. In the West, culture is part and parcel of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Ironically, our culture’s problem of secularization arises from one of its own defining characteristics: the higher law tradition. The separation of law—and those who would interpret it—from the king, is the source of liberty. That separation has its roots in a religious tradition; the Jewish tradition, in which kings, even when they existed, were viewed as men rather than gods, as servants rather than masters of the laws. Unlike their Gentile neighbors, the Jewish people held their rulers to a law higher than their own will; a law handed down by God and applied equally to all.

From the essay, TS Eliot and the Necessity of Christian Culture, by Bruce Frohnen.


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