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David Martin: my teacher, or, a way of seeing

Leoussi, A. S. ORCID: (2020) David Martin: my teacher, or, a way of seeing. Society, 57 (2). pp. 159-163. ISSN 1936-4725

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s12115-020-00460-z


David Martin’s sociology of religion embodied an expansive vision of religion, one that encompassed the entirety of human and social experience: its political, national, economic, aesthetic, poetical and spiritual-religious orientations, and the complexities of their institutional arrangements, entanglements and compromises with one another. David’s sociology was not formulaic; it was a constant struggle – a struggle for understanding the motives, forms and patterns of human behaviour as these changed and shifted under changing circumstances. David was extraordinarily sensitive to the importance of the historical context, and especially the effects of modernity, in all its different guises, on the great cultural traditions of Western civilisation: Christianity and Western ‘high culture’ - the ‘Western canon’ of European art, music, literature and poetry. For David, the former presented the best account of human life; the latter, the pinnacles of human creative and imaginative achievement. As my doctoral supervisor, he also helped me to see and understand the persistence, revival and evolution of that other great European cultural tradition, the Classical tradition, the civilisation of the ancient Greek and Roman worlds, in the modern world. Like its Biblical, Judaeo-Christian, counterpart, the Classical tradition has offered, well into the twentieth century, a powerful repertoire of cultural themes, images and symbols of human existence. This repertoire was often seen to parallel and complement the Biblical repertoire, while in its artistic, musical, and literary manifestations, would form the basis of the ‘Western canon’. Modern cultural movements, and especially the expressive and utilitarian revolutions of the 1960s, would set out to break these great images of the axial age. David’s mission would be to restore them.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Languages and Cultures > French
ID Code:89483


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