Takeaway: Education as virtue development has been on the horizon for a while.
I feel inadequate to comment on The Year of Our Lord 1943. I spent about two weeks reading it. I have been thinking about it for a week since I read it. And I think I probably should go back and read it again before I try to write about it. But do not really have time to do that. This is a book that needs a second reading. It is not that Alan Jacobs is hard to read. He is not difficult to read, he writes clearly and well. And he is not dense in the way that some writers are dense. But every time I read Jacobs I appreciate that I am not really as well read or as smart as many people in this world. Jacobs puts ideas and people together in ways that I just would not on my own. Which is why he is so helpful to read.
I have not previously read about many of the people that are talked about in this book. In fact, I think really the only person in this book that I had much more than a passing background in is CS Lewis. The other thinkers and writers that are explored here are Jacques Maritan, Simone Weil, WH Auden, TS Elliot and Jacques Ellul. I read some Ellul in college and I know that Jacobs has done a lot of work on Auden. But basically I was starting from scratch on all of these figures.
Much of this is about how World War II in some ways focused these Christian thinkers on the long term importance of human development, not as a eugenics or progressivist project, but as an educational project that seeks to create virtuous people that are deeply influenced by Christian thought.
I am going to stop at this point. I really do need to read the book again to understand more of the argument that Jacobs is trying to develop. But there were many ideas here that were provocative and that I will be thinking about for a while.