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Maritain, Religion, and Education

A Theocentric Humanism Approach


Luz M. Ibarra

Maritain, Religion, and Education: A Theocentric Humanism Approach offers a comprehensive study of Jacques Maritain’s philosophy of education as applied to the specific field of religious education. This book demonstrates that his philosophy is still relevant and that the philosophical-religious idea of the human person is an indispensable point of departure for any educational theory, particularly in the field of religious education. Maritain’s theocentric humanism stresses not only the relation of God and humanity but that of humanity and the world. His thinking fosters unity – by considering the human person as unity – with religious education becoming a liberating process that conforms to the goal of religious education: to deliver persons from all obstacles to union with God by fostering the spiritual life of religious educators and society alike.


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Chapter Five: Theocentric Humanism and Education 155


CHAPTER FIVE Theocentric Humanism and Education The philosophy of education of Jacques Maritain, as a philosophy of life, can be put into practice in the field of religious education, and there provides direction, foundation, and integration, as shown in chapter four. This applica- tion is in and of itself the intended contribution of this book, as it seeks to make the case for Maritain’s position as still relevant and most useful for religious education today. The Religious Dimension of the Human Person Applied to religious education, Maritain’s philosophy of education makes us aware, first of all of the bitter consequences of secularization. At the same time, it provides an answer to that problem, by proposing a concept of the human person that emphasizes the religious dimension. Philosophy of Education Is Necessary in Religious Education Maritain’s philosophy of education can make an important and rich contribu- tion to the field of religious education, and more specifically to Christian religious education. Indeed, Maritain moves us to reflect on the essence, aims, and means of religious education, in an objective and methodological way that has its roots in the philosophy of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas, illuminated by Christian faith. The religious-philosophical idea of the human person proposed by Maritain can be associated with a theocentric humanism, and comes to be adequate to, and coherent with the purpose of, religious education, positing as the object of education the human person, and seeking to enhance the relationship between that person and God. I believe that...

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