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Dr. Robert Whalen's Thoughts on Thomas Merton and Hannah Arendt

05/12/10 -  

Dr. Robert Whalen, McMahon Professor of History, continues his work connecting history, philosophy, religion, and ethics in his essay, "Thomas Merton and Hannah Arendt: Spirituality, Counter-Culture, and Cold War." 

Here's the opening of the essay:

"Thomas Merton was "the twentieth century's most eloquent and accessible spiritual figure," critic Michael Higgins claims and he's probably right. During the long Cold War,  Fulton Sheehan and Billy Graham were by far the greater celebrities, but for people interested in the life of prayer, Merton was an iconic figure. Merton was, as Robert Inchausti writes, "a man of many contradictions."  Bohemian; Beat poet; Catholic traditionalist; Catholic radical; loyal monk; troublesome monk; genial friend; hermit - there were many Mertons.  Merton's poetry and essays, his diaries and letters,  his calligraphy and photographs testify to extraordinarily wide-ranging artistic and literary interests.

Merton, the monk-poet-mystic was also a political thinker. Merton's politics - his passion for nuclear disarmament...."

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