Wednesday, April 07, 2010

S. L. Jaki: GKC is the Champion of the Universe

Today, April 7, is the first anniversary of the death of Father Stanley L. Jaki, O.S.B., a great Chestertonian. Regardless of your interest in science, all Chestertonians ought to read his Chesterton a Seer of Science, one of the smaller books on GKC's writing, yet one of the most penetrating and interesting. Its four chapters give our Uncle Gilbert four amazing titles, not to be found elsewhere:

"Interpreter of Science"
"Antagonist of Scientism"
"Critic of Evolutionism"
"Champion of the Universe"

Jaki references GKC in nearly every one of his fifty-odd books; he spoke at three ACS conferences. Below is a very interesting insight which links together GKC with the great physicist, artist, and historian of science, Pierre Duhem. (Jaki is not the only one to credit Chesterton with the revival of interest in Dickens; more on that another time.)

For more on Jaki and Duhem please visit The Duhem Society, founded on this date in 2009.

Of your charity please pray for the repose of their souls.

--Dr. Thursday.

On receiving a Kodak camera from her father Hélène Duhem also received a note of reservation. With the camera there came also an attachment for making close-up portrait photos. "Just to take snapshots makes no sense," wrote Duhem to her on April 28, 1914. Hélène, who by then had many opportunities to watch her father draw impressive landscapes, must have heard him refer to the enormous difference between a good drawing and a snapshot of the same scenery. Undoubtedly it was the graphic vividness and richness of detail that drew Duhem toward Dickens whom he used to read aloud at home in the evenings when Hélène was a child.

Duhem's attachment to Dickens around the turn of the century was not a vote for
novelty. Dickens' works had been in eclipse even in his own land for several
decades before Chesterton threw a powerful light on his perennial value in 1908.

[SLJ, Reluctant Heroine: The Life and Work of Hélène Duhem 58-9; the reference is to GKC's Charles Dickens available in CW15]


  1. I started reading "The Road of Science and the Ways to God", but found it tough going and gave up after a few pages. Unfortunately, I can't get my hands on Seer of Science.

  2. Maolsheachlann, I have a copy of the Seer of Science.

    "The Road of Science and the Ways to God" is the first book by Jaki I have read and I found exceptional, probably my favorite.


Join our FaceBook fan page today!