Father Schall’s Last Book
Second Readings comes seemingly heaven-sent. For us who find our days grayer since his departure, these essays shine light on topics forever old, forever new, such as truth and beauty, Augustine and Tolkien, Christmas and Easter, cricket and champagne. In them, we again meet our mentor, always the consummate teacher, speaking with humor, insight, and clarity. Ironically, perhaps most significant is not an essay at all, but the appendix, which gives the book its title. By highlighting twenty-five “Second
Readings” from the Liturgy of the Hours, JVS reminds us that no one who has read a great book but once has really read it. Surely, his priestly devotion to countless second readings of the Divine Office discloses the deepest source of his wisdom. This wisdom breathes through these writings, inspiring us toward the “final gladness” of the vision of God, the theme of his famous last lecture delivered at Georgetown when retiring in 2012. Here in his last book, he preaches in death this theme’s hope and comfort, even as he did in life.
– Rev Stephen M Fields, SJ
Hackett Family Professor in Theology
James V. Schall, S. J. (1928-2019) was a long time Professor of Political Philosophy at Georgetown University. He previously taught at the Gregorian University in Rome and at the University of San Francisco. His previous books include The Life of the Mind; Another Sort of Learning; At the Limits of Political Philosophy; Idylls & Rambles: Lighter Christian Essays; Schall on Chesterton, Political Philosophy & Revelation: A Catholic View; The Universe We Think In; The Reason for the Seasons: Why We Celebrate What and When, and The Modern Age. Among his many honors, he was the 2005 recipient of the American Chesterton Society Lifetime Achievement Award.