Hannah Arendt's The Human condition is a deeply challenging and provocative book.
The criticism that she develops of Christianity as destroying the public sphere of the ancient city state through the degradation of the active life in favor of the contemplative…
…and the prizing of personal immortality over the political immortality of great deeds, has Nietzschean overtones, but is much more thoughtful, and comes from a much deeper knowledge of Christian thought, than Nietzsche's version of the critique.
Ultimately, however, her target is not so much Christianity as modernity, which she sees as in some ways inverting Christian/Platonic ideas, but in such a way as to preserve the flattening of the vita activa.
That is, modernity rejects the primacy of the contemplative, but instead of returning to a primacy of truly human action and speech (the highest form of vita activa), it continues to see the vita activa as basically labor and work for the preservation of life (servile activity).
Like her teacher Heidegger, Arendt sees the problem with the modern world not so much in its departure from its Christian and Platonic roots, as the way in which those roots still inform its life.
She is wrong, ultimately, but wrong in a helpful and thought-provoking way.
Among Jewish Heidegger students who developed critiques of modernity, I think she ranks behind Hans Jonas and Jacob Klein; they understood that the problem lay precisely in modernity's rejection of the insights connected to the primacy of the vita activa over the vita activa.
Incidentally (and amusingly) Arendt had originally intended to call the book "Amor Mundi".

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More from @sancrucensis

11 Jan
These parodic managerial buzzwords are laughable in se, but they point to the serious and persistent temptation to worldliness in the Church.
The desire to conform to worldly standards and to receive the respect, the "doxa" of this world has always been with us: "How can you believe, when you receive your doxa from each other, and do not look for the doxa that comes from God alone?" (John 5:44).
A dangerous guise that this takes in our days is the desire of many in the Church to be acceptable to the standards of secular, managerial, liberal modernity. The synod on synods is a parody of this, but the more serious version is the German Synodal Way.
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8 Jan
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An ardent ultramontane integralist he fought with all his might against the liberals in Church and state
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1. This is a category error, "gender" is a grammatical concept predicated of nouns, pronouns, or adjectives. Not being a word, I don't have a gender.
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Bacon's argument for the practical end of knowledge in this passage from the New Organon is rhetorically clever, but it amounts to a shocking inversion of the hierarchy of ends.
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Universalism has the wrong starting point. The difficult question is not in explaining why God does *not* bring everyone to Heaven, but why He elevates *any* of them so *infinitely* high above their proper good to a share in the Divine Life.
That is what is really difficult about Christianity. Not the doctrine that people descend into the underworld (Homer knew that already), but rather the doctrine that some ascend into Heaven. That's the truly astonishing thing.
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7 Sep 21
Of your charity, say a prayer for the repose of the soul of Alex Šepkus, a gentle and thoughtful man, a talented jeweler, and a Catholic traditionalist. I met him several times, and liked him very much.
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