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Against Nostalgia: Catholicism, History and Modernity

Oct 6 2009 4:30pm
Swift Hall, 3rd Floor Lecture
1025 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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Brad Gregory

University of Notre Dame

Deeply ingrained assumptions about the nature of historical change prevent an adequate comprehension of the transformations that have created the contemporary Western world over the past half-millennium. Departures from traditional Christianity since the sixteenth century, and related attempts to ground truth claims in scripture or reason alone yielded unintended pluralisms via Protestantism and modern philosophy that remain pervasively influential today. Catholicism continues to offer an intellectually viable alternative–provided one does not subscribe to inadequate views of how the past became the present.

Brad Gregory is professor of history and the Dorothy G. Griffin collegiate chair at the University of Notre Dame. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University (1996) and was a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows (1994-96). Before joining the faculty at Notre Dame in 2003, Gregory taught at Stanford University, where he received early tenure in 2001. Gregory has two degrees in philosophy as well, both earned at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. Gregory’s research focuses on Christianity in the Reformation era, the long-term effects of the Reformation, secularization in early modern and modern Western history, and methodology in the study of religion. He most recently published The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society.