Though Christopher Dawson may be currently out of favor with many schools of academia, he was once lauded as one of the most important historians of the twentieth century. The current edition of Dynamics of World History
has been reissued with the hope (as stated in the introduction) of reexamining Dawson's work and recovering the historical tradition of scholarship it represents. His position remains undeniably clear: ''The central conviction which has dominated my mind ever since I began to write is the conviction that the society or culture which has lost its spiritual roots is a dying culture, however prosperous it may appear externally. Consequently the problem of social survival is not only a political or economic one; it is above all things religious, since it is in religion that the ultimate spiritual roots both of society and the individual are to be found.'' Created as a collection of essays (many dating back to his Gifford Lectures of 1948-49), this compendium explores the sociological foundations of history, its movement, urbanization and meaning in relationship to Christianity. The final section compromises a series of short critiques on several historical theories including those of St. Augustine, Edward Gibbon, Karl Marx, H.G. Wells, Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee. Pointing out their weaknesses, Dawson reaffirms his thesis that the prevention of societal decay is only possible through the reconciliation of the intellectual tradition with the spiritual. 316 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
In scope and in vision Dawson's conception of history ranks with the work of men like Spengler, Northrop, and Toynbee. This classic Dawson work is a conspectus of his thought on universal history in all its depth and range. Containing thirty-one essays selected from his writings it gives a clear and fascinating picture of his achievement in helping to widen our perspective of world history and in identifying the central determinative importance of religion for the formation of culture.