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Converts to the Real


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About the Author

Edward Baring is Associate Professor of Modern European History at Drew University and was a Guggenheim Fellow. He is author of The Young Derrida and French Philosophy, 1945-1968, which won the Morris D. Forkosch Prize from the Journal of the History of Ideas.


Baring has achieved something very significant...Not just a story of ideas...but a story of how ideas spread across the boundaries between national communities or between secular and Catholic thought. -- Sarah Shortall * Commonweal *
An important book that should appear on the shelves of every serious scholar committed to the study of either of its chosen fields. -- Jeffrey Bloechl * Theological Studies *
Brilliantly conceived...By showing how Catholicism nourished the roots of modern European philosophy, Baring sheds invaluable light on ongoing discussions of the persistence of Christianity in a not-so-secular age. -- Brandon Bloch * Church History *
A story of thought as an inter-personal, inter-institutional happening, where events of thinking take place between works, between thinkers...Baring tells continental philosophy's church history. -- Elad Lapidot * Phenomenological Reviews *
An impressive work that combines a broad scope and fluent, accessible style with the kind of deep detail usually confined to specialist studies. -- Clare Carlisle * Times Literary Supplement *
Socrates modestly described himself as a midwife, helping others to give birth to a wisdom that was their own. The analogy springs to mind when reading this fascinating, well-researched and imaginative book by Edward Baring. His aim is to show something both striking and unexpected: that Catholicism is 'the single most important explanation' for the international success of phenomenology. -- Maximilian de Gaynesford * The Tablet *
[A] very rich book...It is both profound and sweeping in its scope; it is almost a history of twentieth-century philosophy. -- Jude P. Dougherty * Review of Metaphysics *
Baring's history of phenomenology is itself phenomenological in its attention to hundreds of dramas of belief, the outcomes of which-contextualized but not determined by the Catholic Church-helped imprint the continental philosophy of the twentieth century with the strangeness of their unforeseen patterns...[A] rich, deeply researched book. -- Martyn Wendell Jones * Hedgehog Review *
An exemplary model of the scholarship that is so needed in continental philosophy of religion: historically and philosophically learned, attuned as much to archives as to arguments. It is accessible without being simplistic, driven by narrative without sacrificing detail. -- Vincent Lloyd * Journal of the American Academy of Religion *
A scholarly achievement of the highest order...a profoundly original and painstakingly detailed history of the shared conceptual spaces of phenomenology and Catholic thought...Successfully lay[s] out a genealogy of continental philosophy that spans (and indeed, calls into question) the separation of sacred and secular...As much a normative attempt to resolve a host of philosophical and theological disputes as it is a work of transnational intellectual history...Converts to the Real is a work of great erudition. -- Piotr H. Kosicki * Journal of Modern History *
Well-written and direct, Converts to the Real is bold and well worth reading by all interested in philosophy or Catholicism. -- Graham McAleer * Law & Liberty *
Excellent and exhaustively researched...A major contribution to the history of European philosophy in the 20th century, and of phenomenology more particularly. * Choice *
Through archival research and an analysis of philosophical affinities, Baring traces the influence of neo-scholasticism on continental philosophy...A detailed study of the tight but often awkward relationship between Catholicism and continental philosophy in the first half of the twentieth-century and its philosophical and political implications. * Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal *
Converts to the Real tells an intriguing, valuable, and timely story about the religious leanings of European phenomenology, especially with respect to its associations with Neo-Scholasticism and the Catholic Church. Baring has done impressive archival research to create a narrative with considerable detail. An excellent book. -- Kevin Hart, University of Virginia
The virtues of Edward Baring's superb book are many. Converts to the Real demonstrates the importance of phenomenology-typically viewed as a philosopher's philosophy-not only for twentieth-century European intellectual life but for key social and political trends as well. Its great achievement is to merge two contemporary histories by showing how transformations in modern Catholic thought turned phenomenology into the continental philosophy. -- Michael Gubser, author of The Far Reaches: Phenomenology, Ethics, and Social Renewal in Central Europe

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