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Synopsis

In Orthodoxy (1908), G.K. Chesterton speaks about his personal experience with orthodox Catholicism. While its companion volume entitled Heretics analyzes the weaknesses and flaws of modern materialistic philosophies, Orthodoxy is an argumentative, and yet humorous, defense of the Christian faith, its foundation and its utility. The work is divided into nine chapters with curious titles such as The Suicide of Thought, The Ethics of Elfland, and The Romance of Orthodoxy. Chesterton insists that what he presents to the reader is far from being a serious theological treatise, but rather a slovenly autobiography that describes how he has found in Catholicism an answer to his deepest emotional and spiritual needs. He also argues that the pure belief in reason and science and the dismissal of imagination can only lead to an illusion of knowledge. There is always something to be imagined as human reason alone can never conceive of a global picture of existence. This is why Chestertons analysis is also among the earliest invitations to question the absolutist trust in reason. What the human being needs is both reason and belief in concrete things, on the one hand, and larger horizons for the appreciation of the infinite and the eternal, on the other.

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GK Chesterton Orthodoxy
Average rating
5 / 5
January 23rd, 2014
I read this book at least once a year. There is so much wisdom and insight in what he has to say. I also adore his rhetorical style, which is delightfully sharp, sardonic and yet has an air of lightness, gaiety and ease to it, that to read it feels like what it might be like to sit with him and chat over a pint. Chesterton reminds us that there is truly nothing new under the sun, and that those who think they have discovered a new thought or idea really just need to look a little closer, maybe sometimes a little farther, at history to see that they are merely one in a long line of people who have thought that way (and that maybe they haven't truly reached the true depths of those lines of thought).
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