A review, by Henk Smidstra.
This short book explicates a complex topic in a concise and clear way, the topic of the interrelation of epistemology, theology, and politics. Though the book is designed primarily for Christian readers, it contains a topic of critical concern for anyone raised in western culture, where we consider it normal to separate religion from politics and business, arenas of public concern where the matters of the human heart have no business according to modernist logic. Brad Jersak has charted the philosophical-spiritual development of George Grant from conversion to maturity. The focus is not on personal sin, on being delivered from sin to eternal salvation, but rather on spiritual growth in terms of the psychological- spiritual-social plane of life in this world. The author reviews the philosophical, intellectual, journey that influenced, not only Grant’s spiritual formation, but his own as well. Jersak quotes from significant authors, from Plato, Nietzsche, to Heidegger, Simone Weil, and George Grant, and refers to his own work on his PhD. thesis work on Grant’s political theology. He writes in his preface, “The entire experience has been a joy and a revelation, awakening me to a connection between contemplative theology, a theodicy of the cross, and how these inform political ethics as just peacemaking in the world of realpolitik” (p. 1). Despite the complex topics of epistemology and the contemplative way, the book is written in a clear and readable manner. Included in the book are some of George Grant’s correspondence and journal entries, and some other relevant primary sources to place George Grant’s work in its historical context. This book makes important philosophical-theological connections relevant to the issues swirling around us in in North American realpolitik of the day. In my own case, coming from a Calvinist background, the conversation in the book on the vital need for a revival of contemplative thought and the theology of the Cross is compelling and challenging.