Bradley Birzer’s “Beyond Tenebrae” ~ The Imaginative Conservative

We will return to this point shortly. Brad Birzer’s Beyond Tenebrae is subtitled Christian Humanism in the Twilight of the West, which lets the reader in on the main thrust of the work. As Russell Amos Kirk Professor of History at Hillsdale College, Dr. Birzer’s breadth of knowledge is more than equal to the task. Much of the book reads like a sophomore survey course, with Dr. Birzer taking the reader on a tour of people who express what he is trying to convey. He covers a lot of terrain in this survey, including characters expectable and unusual. There are scholars (Christopher Dawson, Eric Voegelin) and artists (Willa Cather, Flannery O’Connor, Ray Bradbury); social critics (Russell Kirk, Alexander Solzhenitsyn), and politicians (Ronald Regan, Edmund Burke); the prominent (J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis), and the obscure (Dr. Birzer’s own grandparents, as well as one of his Notre Dame instructors). All are chosen because each exemplifies some aspect or principle of the true humanism that Dr. Birzer is trying to convey. The examples are woven into a tapestry to illustrate his points—indeed, if the book has a weakness, it is that the weaving is at points not as smooth as it could be. But even that serves to illuminate the point that comprehending humans as human means surrendering the wish for everything to work out as smoothly as a mathematical formula or well-designed computer algorithm.
— Read on theimaginativeconservative.org/2020/03/beyond-tenebrae-brad-birzer-roger-thomas.html