A Christian Organic Intellectual?!

Fascinating … short paragraph from Generous Orthodoxy ThinkTank’s post on Organic Intellectual! Challenging …


“In his influential Prison Notebooks, the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci makes an important distinction between ‘organic’ and ‘traditional’ intellectuals. To put it crudely, the former are those who, because they are organically linked to prophetic movements or priestly institutions, take the life of the mind seriously enough to relate ideas to the everyday life of ordinary folk. Traditional intellectuals, in contrast, are those who revel in the world of ideas while nesting in comfortable places far removed from the realities of the common life. Organic intellectuals are activist and engaged; traditional intellectuals are academic and detached. …

Christian intellectuals should differ from others by refusing either to exalt or to denigrate the life of the mind. … The ideal Christian intellectual is … the dedicated and devoted Christian member of a group or community informed by the best available systemic social analysis of self and society and guided by the most insightful interpretation of the Scriptures and tradition. This ideal Christian intellectual is an organic intellectual, simultaneously immersed in the tortuous realities of the day and enticed by the felicities of the mind. …

The tasks of Christian intellectuals are to uphold the centrality of prophetic preaching of the Word, preserve the richness of the Christian past, and put forward informed Christian ways of life and struggle. … Their aim should be the production of sermons and texts which become potent in the lives of everyday people.”

~ Cornel West, Prophetic Fragments

One Response to A Christian Organic Intellectual?!

  1. jason Clark says:

    thanks for that Sivin, what a wonderful metphor for thinking and reflection.

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