Maritain, Jacques

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Maritain, Jacques

(zhäk märētăN`), 1882–1973, French Neo-Thomist philosopher. He was educated at the Sorbonne and the Univ. of Heidelberg and was much influenced by the philosophy of Henri Bergson. He was originally Protestant, but became a Roman Catholic through association with Léon BloyBloy, Léon
, 1846–1917, French writer. A Roman Catholic and a social reformer, Bloy wrote violent and vituperative attacks on religious conformism and bitter portraits of his life and friends.
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 and devoted himself to the study of Thomism and its application to all aspects of modern life. Maritain opposed what he regarded as the modern tendency to disown the proper function of reason; he valued philosophy highly and posed the "metaphysics of existence," the study of being, as the highest type of human intellectual activity. He urged Christian involvement in secular affairs, a view that greatly influenced members of the Second Vatican Council. Maritain was French ambassador to the Vatican (1945–48) and taught in France and the United States. His works include The Degrees of Knowledge (1932, tr. 1937); True Humanism (1936, tr. 1938); Art and Scholasticism (1920, tr. 1929); Man and the State (1951); On the Use of Philosophy (1961); and The Peasant of the Garonne (1966, tr. 1968).


See studies by J. W. Evans, ed. (1963) and J. W. Hanke (1973).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Maritain, Jacques


Born Nov. 18, 1882, in Paris; died Apr. 29, 1973, in Toulouse. French philosopher. Representative of neo-Thomism.

Maritain was educated at the Henry IV Lycee and at the Sorbonne. He was a student of H. Bergson. In 1906 he converted to Catholicism. He was a professor at the Catholic Institute in Paris (from 1914), the Institute of Medieval Studies in Toronto (from 1933), Princeton University (1941-42), and Columbia University (1941-44). In 1945-48 he served as French ambassador to the Vatican. In 1948-53 he was a professor and after 1953 professor emeritus at Princeton University.

Maritain considered the entire development of the philosophy of the modern period to be a decline and degeneration of philosophic thought. In his view the work of Luther, Descartes, and Rousseau represented the triumph of subjectivism and arbitrariness in the spheres of faith, thought, and feeling, which led to moral and social chaos. Maritain believed that chaos could be overcome by returning to medieval “clarity” and suprapersonal objectivity. Opposing the intuitivism of Bergson, Maritain sought to reconcile “grace and nature, faith and reason, theology and philosophy” (De Bergson a Thomas d’Aquin, Paris, 1947, p. 133). According to Maritain, science has its own object—the created world—but “above” this natural world there exists a higher, supernatural world.

In New York, Maritain initiated a series of publications dealing with problems of “political philosophy” (Civilization), which included works criticizing modern capitalism and bourgeois democracy from positions of “Christian democracy” and “humanism,” but refuting the socialist transformation of society. Maritain is also known for his works in art and pedagogy.


Antimoderne. Paris, 1922.
Science et sagesse. Paris, 1935.
Humanisme intégral. Paris, 1936.
Christianisme et démocratic. New York, 1943.
Trois Réformateurs. Paris, 1947.
Art et scolastique. Paris, 1947.
Réflexions sur l’Amerique. Paris, 1958.
Pour Une Philosophic de l’education. Paris, 1959.
La Philosophic morale. Paris, 1960.
La Philosophic dans la cite. Paris, 1960.
Dieu et la permission du ma I. Paris, 1963.
L’Intuition creatrice dans l’art et dans la poesie. Paris, 1966.


Kuznetsov, V. N. Frantsuzskaia burzhuaznaia filosofiia 20 v. Moscow, 1970. Pages 173-201.
Jaroszewski, T. M. Lichnost’ i obshchestvo. Moscow, 1973. (Translated from Polish.)
Rossi, E. II pensiero politico di J. Maritain. Milan, 1956.
Simonsen, V. L. L’Esthetique de J. Maritain. Copenhagen, 1956.
Gallagher, D., and I. Gallagher. The Achievement of Jacques and Raissa Maritain: A Bibliography (1906-1961). New York, 1962.
Forni, G. La filosofia del/a storia nelpensiero politico di Jacques Maritain. Bologna [1965].
Fecher, Ch. A. The Philosophy of J. Maritain. New York, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
[5.] Maritain, Jacques (2007), Le Feu nouveau, Le paysan de la Garonne, preface et dossier critique de Fourcade, Michel, Geneve: Ad Solem.
[6.] Maritain, Jacques (1968), Humanisme integral, Paris: Foi vivante, 66, Aubier, editions Montaigne.
Maritain, Jacques. Art and Scholasticism and the Frontiers of Poetry.
Maritain, Jacques. Art and Scholasticism & The Frontiers of Poetry.