Fred Dallmayr, the Packey J. Dee Professor Emeritus in philosophy and political science at the University of Notre Dame, has published a new book titled Spiritual Guides: Pathfinders in the Desert. Dallmayr contends that political and economic corruption, incessant warmongering, spoliation of natural resources, and, above all, mindless consumerism and greedy self-satisfaction are all symptoms of an expanding wasteland or desert where everything creative and nourishing decays and withers. Through an alternative interpretation of Nietzsche’s saying “the desert grows,” this book calls for spiritual renewal, invoking, in particular, four prominent guides or pathfinders in the desert: Paul Tillich, Raimon Panikkar, Thomas Merton, and Pope Francis. What links all four guides together is the view of spiritual life as an itinerarium, a pathway along difficult and often uncharted roads.
“Spiritual Guides: Pathfinders in the Desert” continues Fred Dallmayr’s already significant analysis of where we are today by offering an account of lives that provide hope in a time that often seems hopeless. This book provides a presentation of the thought of the central four figures in a manner such that one illumines the other. Dallmayr’s presentation of the four is quite moving because this is a book that is rightly thought of as ‘spiritual.’ That could be a dismissive description, but the way Dallmayr presents the work is really quite profound.” —Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor Emeritus of Divinity and Law, Duke Divinity School
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