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A Catholic Modernity?Charles Taylor's Marianist Award Lecture$
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James L. Heft

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780195131611

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195131611.001.0001

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Matteo Ricci and the Prodigal Culture

Matteo Ricci and the Prodigal Culture

(p.83) 4 Matteo Ricci and the Prodigal Culture
A Catholic Modernity?

George Marsden

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that Taylor's lecture exemplifies what Christian scholars ought to be doing: namely, reflecting on how their faith provides important perspectives on contemporary issues. But rather than use the Riccian approach to modernity, it proposes that modern culture is Christianity's prodigal child. Modernity is not foreign to Christians, as Ricci's China was, because a Christian lineage stands behind the accomplishments of modernity. Modernity needs to be called back home through a repentance, for it is not just non-Christian but, in some respects, also anti-Christian, “with all the bitterness that a broken family relationship can engender.” Taylor's analysis would be deepened if he said something about sin and rebellion, as well as about cultural differences.

Keywords:   Christianity, Matteo Ricci, faith, modernity, cultural differences, Charles Taylor

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