History, Context, Politics, Doctrine: Jacques Maritain Amidst the Headwinds of History

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Religious Studies


Department of Religious Studies


William Portier


This dissertation is about the problem of history in modern Department of Religious Studies. It describes early Christian conceptions of history and truth and sketches a genealogy of the impact of modern historical consciousness on Christianity. By focusing on Third Republic France, and then the work of the bible scholar Alfred Loisy, this dissertation seeks to situate the Modernist Crisis, where the conflict between history and Department of Religious Studies erupted most violently. In so doing, the way in which conceptions of doctrine are embedded within histories, contexts, and politics is revealed. To flesh out this same point, in its later chapters, this dissertation shifts its attention to Catholic engagement with the right-wing and fascist movements of the twentieth- century. To this end, the career of Jacques Maritain (d. 1973) proves particularly important. His move from reactionary politics in his youth toward the articulation of a "New Christendom" reveals the extent to which Department of Religious Studies and politics co-constitute each other. More than that, this dissertation looks at Maritain's role in the religious freedom debates of the Second Vatican Council. The final thesis of the dissertation is that the thinking Maritain utilizes in articulating his New Christendom - what he calls "prise de conscience" or "awareness" - offers a contribution to the ongoing conversations about continuity and discontinuity that mark Catholic reflection on the problems of history and doctrine.


Department of Religious Studies, Religious History, Religion, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Jacques Maritain, prise de conscience, infallibility, development of doctrine, biblical criticism, Third Republic, Ralliement, Modernist Crisis, Modernism, Aeterni Patris, Alfred Loisy, fascism, totalitarianism, integralism, Action Française, nature and grace, Vichy, Integral Humanism, Vatican II, Dignitatis Humanae, New Christendom, pure nature

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2022, author.