Richard John Neuhaus: A Life in the Public Square

neuhaus_biography I dag har jeg lest ferdig ei bok som kom ut for akkurat ett år siden: Richard John Neuhaus: A Life in the Public Square Neuhaus har betydd mye for meg, helt siden 1991, da jeg begynte å lese det nystartede tidsskriftet First Things, og også hørte at (den tidligere lutherske>) Neuhaus kort tid før dette hadde blitt katolikk. (Jeg skrev litt om mitt forhold til Neuhaus den dagen han døde i januar 2009.)

Biografien ble anmeldt i mange aviser da den kom ut, New York Times skriver bl.a.:

At the time of his death six years ago, the Rev. Richard John Neuhaus was arguably the most prominent conservative Roman Catholic in America. He was leader of the “theocons,” as critics labeled them, right-leaning Christian intellectuals grouped around First Things, a journal Neuhaus founded. Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI knew him personally, as well as by his work, and George W. Bush sought Neuhaus’s counsel before and during his time as president. His 1984 book on the place of faith in politics, “The Naked Public Square,” has been credited with helping to define the climate in which Ronald Reagan won re-election.

Yet Neuhaus did not begin as a conservative, a Catholic or indeed in America. He was born and baptized the son of a Lutheran pastor in Pembroke, Ontario. Later, as a Lutheran pastor himself in New York, Neuhaus was an activist liberal — ally of Martin Luther King in the civil rights struggle, co-founder of Clergy and Laity Concerned About Vietnam and antiwar delegate to the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

Each half of Neuhaus’s life supplies ample material for a biography. …

… A man of the cloth as engaged in public life as Neuhaus was makes a difficult subject for a biography: The cavalcade of events threatens to overwhelm the spiritual side of his life. Boyagoda draws attention back to Neuhaus’s faith whenever he can, particularly in the moving final chapter, as Neuhaus approaches his death. But an adequate spiritual biography would have to be quite different from an account of a public life as full as the one Neuhaus’ led, and inevitably Boyagoda has to choose his focus. Here it is on the outward man, and Boyagoda has explored and explained this fascinating American as well as anyone could have hoped.

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