With Reason Attentive to Grace
Cover of Political Science Reviewer 46.1


Pierre Manent
political theology
practical reason

How to Cite

With Reason Attentive to Grace: Pierre Manent’s Correction of Liberalism and Christian Utopianism. (2022). The Political Science Reviewer, 46(1), 167-178. https://politicalsciencereviewer.wisc.edu/index.php/psr/article/view/703


The distinguished contemporary French political philosopher Pierre Manent is less a political theologian than a political philosopher who sees the Western adventure as being ultimately rooted in an inspired effort “to govern oneself by the guidance of one’s reason and with attention to gracc.” In its classical Christian expressions, the West aimed for a “collaboration of human prudence and divine Providence,” humility and magnanimity, and free will, conscience, and grace. By looking at Manent’s two most recent books, Beyond Radical Secularism (2016) and Natural Law and Human Rights: Toward a Recovery of Practical Reason (2020), I aim to show how Western liberty presupposes not only an institutional “separation” of Church and state but also a “union” (much more philosophical and spiritual rather than institutional) of religion and politics rooted in an enduring covenant between grace and freedom, communion and liberty. Such an understanding is diametrically opposed to theocracy, totalitarianism, and an aggressive and reductive secularism and scientism. It has classical and Christian foundations while respecting the genuine achievements of the regime of modern liberty. It owes more to the dialogue of the Christian proposition with political philosophy than it does to political theology per se.