Jacques Maritain's Integral Humanism

Nov 5, 2021
Gavin House
1220 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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THIS IS AN IN-PERSON EVENT. Open to current graduate students and University of Chicago Undergraduates. Others who are interested in participating should contact us. Copies of "Integral Humanism" from The Collected Works of Jacques Maritain XI (Notre Dame Press, 1996) will be provided for registrants.

Integral Humanism (1936) is Maritain’s masterwork at mid-career.  Having separated himself from the Catholic political integralism in France during  the 1920s he needed to put forth his own position – his own integralism, in a manner of speaking.  His thesis is that the options of political modernity are shaped by incomplete and reductive humanisms, which need the correction and anchoring of an “integral humanism.”  He believed that this should be the Catholic contribution to the crises of the 20th century. After all, he reasoned that the crippling disputes at the level of politics are symptoms of underlying anthropological confusions. The book was read and pondered by every pope from Pius XI to John Paul II. 

Assigned Reading

  • Part I, on the tragedy of humanism (pp. 156-173).  Namely, the unresolved dialectic between theocentric and anthropocentric humanisms that emerged in early modernity.  Under the sign division, whether in tears or in revolt, every creature asks how the humanum is to be rehabilitated (p. 168). 
  • Part II, beginning at p. 196, the formulation of a new humanism. 
  • Parts III and IV on the prospects of a new Christendom.


For all events held at Gavin House, the Lumen Christi Institute follows Chicago Department of Public Health Guidance for in-person gatherings. Please see here for the city’s most up-to-date guidelines. These are guidelines subject to change.

If you have any questions please contact us.