Romano Guardini was a diagnostician of modernity. His goal, in The End of the Modern World is to understand what modernity is and to argue that we are transitioning from modernity into something new and uncertain. He attempts to understand these changes and to envision what the future will be and how Christians ought to respond to these changes. As readers, our task will be assessing Guardini’s vision and see how we can apply his ideas to our own responses to the contemporary world.
As in summers past, Collegium will once again be hosting seminars in which we take on longer works afforded by the break in the academic year. For the month of July, we will dive into the Christian philosophical and theological tradition by exploring Romano Guardini’s The End of the Modern World.
Romano Guardini (1885-1968)—Italian-born German priest—was one of the great Catholic minds of the 20th century. He helped shape Catholic theology between the two world wars and after, as well as the thinking of many non-Catholics of the period. He contributed to the Liturgical Movement and influenced the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. His legacy continues to be felt through Pope Benedict, who studied with him, and Pope Francis, who researched Guardini’s work as part of his graduate study.
Collegium is glad to read this text in connection with it’s sponsorship of the Genealogies of Modernity Project which explores the questions we tell about how we became modern. Along with hosting week-long summer seminars for this project the last three summers, the “GenMod” project also has an exciting blog and podcast which you can check out here.
Participants who can commit to attending 3 or more sessions by Thursday, June 25th at noon, will receive a copy of the book, courtesy of Collegium Institute. If you can attend at least 3 sessions and would like to receive a book, please include your mailing address at the bottom of the registration form below. If you cannot commit to 3 sessions or more, but would still like to attend some of the sessions, you can can purchase the book or borrow it from Hathitrust.
In order to sustain the conditions for an intimate seminar environment with a high degree of participant involvement, we must cap the size of the group. *All are very welcome to register below*, but — in addition to order of registration — preference will be given on the following basis:
(a) University of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia-area undergraduate and graduate students and
(b) those who commit to attending all four sessions.
Registration is still open, but those who register passed June 29th may not receive a copy of the book in time (or at all if you cannot make it to three or more sessions).
Date: Wednesdays, July 8, 15, 22, and 29
Place: Via Zoom (info will be emailed out to participants)
To set up our reading of Romano Guardini, we are going to read an essay by Cyril O’Regan titled The Gift of Modernity (Church Life Journal, March 20, 2018). O’Regan sets up three basic reactions to modernity: weeping, cheering, or shadow-seeing. This will help us understand the position of Guardini while providing a genealogy of three different reactions. While reading O’Regan, do not worry too much if you do not know all of the figures he describes. The key is to get the sketch of the options various thinkers provide. Please find this reading for the first week here (in PDF format for the sake of pagination).
In our subsequent sessions we will read Guardini directly
- For July 15, we will focus on the contrast between the medieval and modern in Chapters 1-2, pages 1-49
- For July 22, we will discuss the end of modernity in Chapter 3 pages 50-109
- For July 29, we will discuss Guardini’s proposals for the postmodern world and the contrasts between power and responsibility in chapters 4-8, pages 117-219.
The last reading will be the longest but I hope that giving you a heads-up regarding it will make finishing it easier. For more on genealogical approaches to modernity, check out the Genealogies of Modernity Project.