Books by four Notre Dame faculty members have been included in the recently published survey,One Hundred Great Catholic Books: From the Early Centuries to the Present,by Don Brophy.
Brophy, former acquiring editor and managing editor for Paulist Press, admits to being idiosyncratic in his selection of books from two millennia of church history.In order to qualify for his list, a book must have been accessible to a general readership and beneficial to Catholic Christians over a long period of time.His list of short descriptions includes such classics asThe Sayings and Stories of the Desert Fathers,The Rule of Saint Benedict,and St. Thomas MoresUtopia.
It also includesWe Drink from Our Own Wells,by Rev. Gustavo Gutierrez, O.P., John Cardinal O’Hara Professor of Theology;After Virtueby Alasdair MacIntyre, O’Brien Senior Research Professor of Philosophy;Catholicism,by Rev. Richard P. McBrien, Crowley-O’Brien Professor of Roman Catholic Theology; andA Marginal Jew,by Rev. John P. Meier, William K. Warren Foundation Professor of Theology.
Praising Father Gustavo Gutierrez1983 book,We Drink from Our Own Wells,Brophy says that it relieson the experiences of Latin American people to unpack the basic Christian themes of conversion, grace, joy, simplicity and community.He adds that the book isless valuable as a sociopolitical analysis than for the spiritual themes it develops.And these continue to be insightful and timely.
In his description of MacIntyres 1981 bookAfter Virtue,Brophy observes thatAlasdair MacIntyre has done more than any other person in the last quarter century to energize debate about the dilemmas of ethical decision making in daily living.He says thatbecause MacIntyre writes historical rather than technical philosophy, After Virtueis accessible to nonspecialists.Still it is a book for serious readers.
Describing Father McBriensCatholicism,Brophy says that in the years since its publication in 1980, the bookhas established itself as a basic text on the Catholic faith in high schools and universities and as a reference work for general use.It was the most comprehensive narrative summary of Catholic belief in the years after the Second Vatican Council.
Ofthe 1991 first volume of Father Meiers projected four volume series,A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus,Brophy writes thatdespite the complexities of argumentinvolved in Meiers project,his writing is always engaging, and the questions he raises are endlessly fascinating.
In the books afterword, Brophy also recommends a 1991 anthology,Thomas Merton:Spiritual Master,which was edited by Lawrence Cunningham, Rev. John A. O’Brien Professor of Theology at Notre Dame.