Curing Mad Truths
Medieval Wisdom for the Modern Age
152 pages, 5.50 x 8.50
Paperback | 9780268105709 | February 2022
Hardcover | 9780268105693 | June 2019
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268105723 | June 2019
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268105716 | June 2019
In his first book composed in English, Rémi Brague maintains that there is a fundamental problem with modernity: we no longer consider the created world and humanity as intrinsically valuable. Curing Mad Truths, based on a number of Brague's lectures to English-speaking audiences, explores the idea that humanity must return to the Middle Ages. Not the Middle Ages of purported backwardness and barbarism, but rather a Middle Ages that understood creation—including human beings—as the product of an intelligent and benevolent God. The positive developments that have come about due to the modern project, be they health, knowledge, freedom, or peace, are not grounded in a rational project because human existence itself is no longer the good that it once was. Brague turns to our intellectual forebears of the medieval world to present a reasoned argument as to why humanity and civilizations are goods worth promoting and preserving.
Curing Mad Truths will be of interest to a learned audience of philosophers, historians, and medievalists.
Rémi Brague is emeritus professor of medieval and Arabic philosophy at the University of Paris I and Romano Guardini Chair Emeritus of Philosophy at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (Munich). He is the author of a number of books, including The Kingdom of Man: Genesis and Failure of the Modern Project (University of Notre Dame Press, 2018).
“Rémi Brague is a most singular polyglot and polymath, not to mention one of Europe’s wisest and wittiest Christian intellectuals. Curing Mad Truths is an impressive collection of his addresses to English-speaking audiences. As with all of Brague’s work, the volume uniquely combines cleverness and profound insight.” —Douglas Kries, Gonzaga University
"With his distinctive combination of philological, philosophical, and historical erudition that ranges from the ancient world to our present moment, Rémi Brague poses more to ponder in each of these essays—about God and the good, creation and culture, virtues and values, modernity and meaning—than most writers manage to convey in a book. At issue, ultimately, is whether human beings have the will and wherewithal to go on living in a humane manner. Curing Mad Truths is a gem, and the stakes couldn’t be higher." —Brad Gregory, University of Notre Dame
“Brague's Curing Mad Truths is a radical assault on many of the things taken for granted in modern liberal societies… It calls us to reconnect the branches of truth upon which modernity sits to the metaphysical trunk from which they have been severed. It's a provocative, convincing, and accessible little book by an important scholar, and it deserves wide attention.” —Faith and Theology
"Brague argues that the modern world is dying because it cannot answer the question of why it should live. To answer that question will require humility, according to Brague, because it is medieval truths about God, man, reason, and nature that are necessary for renewal." —The Catholic World Report
"Rémi Brague argues that the modern project has failed, and that the source of the failure is a kind of heresy. To be sure, he does not himself use that word. But it is an apt label for what he describes. Modernity, on Brague’s account, is defined by several ideas it borrowed from Christianity, while at the same time it rejects the larger conceptual context that made those ideas intelligible." —Catholic Herald
"Remi Brague this month releases a new book arguing for a reevaluation of medieval thought. . . . It’s Brague’s first book in English. . . . Curing Mad Truths will be of interest to a learned audience of philosophers, historians, and medievalists." —Law and Religion Forum
“The brevity of this anthology... does not prevent the careful reader from gazing beyond its idealism. Like many thinkers, Brague may be less useful in directing us away from our predicament to our fulfillment. But he does restore a wise insight into a conservative approach... which treasures aesthetic and nourishing measures to bring back to life deadened sensibilities of billions who seek, deep down, lasting meaning.” —Spectrum Culture Magazine
"While he argues convincingly for the superiority of abandoned ways of thinking, Brague is not a ‘restorationist’ seeking to return us to an idealized past, his concern is to point out the weaknesses in the conversations we are having and so to improve them and our chances of a better future. He is a delightful, witty, interlocutor. He makes his vast learning accessible and relevant, providing a master-class in critical thinking all can attend." —Irish Catholic
"Culture and politics are different, but they are not separate. They influence one another in unpredictable ways. Rémi Brague has given us a most insightful analysis of one half, perhaps more than a half, of the pairing that encompasses our human experience." —Society
“Should humanity survive and adapt itself to the modern project? More specifically, now that humanity has commodified its existence (being) . . . is its existence better than its nonexistence? . . . These are the questions at the center of . . . Rémi Brague‘s . . . short collection of essays consisting primarily of unpublished lectures given in Europe and North America.” —The Review of Politics
“Brague proposes that the medieval Christian view demonstrates the good of man’s existence by reorienting him to God and Creation.” —Catholic Social Science Review
“This intriguing cultural critique will prove useful to anyone exploring how the modern world came to be and how a disciple of a more classical tradition might respond to the decadence of society in the modern period.” —Homiletic and Pastoral Review
"Curing Mad Truths, a short collection of essays and lectures, is Rémi Brague’s plea for ‘some sort of return to the Middle Ages’...in the teeth of the ideology of Modernity which, he posits, threatens human flourishing and even survival.... Although many will reject his assessment, few philosophers are better placed to handle these matters than Brague, professor emeritus at the Sorbonne, a noted multi-disciplinary intellectual." —The New Bioethics
"Curing Mad Truths might, from the title, look like just one more expression of Catholic nostalgia for a bygone age that the secular world has dismissed as the Dark Ages. But Brague has in mind quite specific and sophisticated points of medieval wisdom that need to be recovered, even as he would want to reform or reject other parts of that heritage." —The Catholic Thing