The Methodist as Philosopher: Lynn Harold Hough, Irving Babbitt, and the Problem of Christian Humanism Introduction The

First World War and the Great Depression provided myriad challenges to the mission of the Methodist Church. As a nation began to doubt its role in the modern world, one of the country’s most dominant and politically engaged religious denominations sought to respond to the chaos by reconsidering its own attachment to the historical sources of Christian order. Amidst the crisis, Lynn Harold Hough, Methodist theologian and educator, offered an intellectual framework, guided by hope, and devoid of the messianic fantasies of the emerging ideological movements that had begun to influence many aspects of American Christianity, including Methodism. This essay is an attempt to explicate the life and scholarship of Lynn Harold Hough. Hough was one of the greatest Methodist theologians and preachers of the 20th century; however, his contribution has not received the sustained attention of scholars. For half a century, he published at least a book a year, served as a regular writer for numerous theological journals, was a contributing editor to the Christian Century--and these were his avocational interests. Hough was deeply influenced by the scholarship of his friend and philosophical mentor, Irving Babbitt. It was Babbitt's attempt to renew the notion of humanism that most interested the young pastor, who was deeply embroiled in
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1For an overview of rise of ideological thinking among Methodists see Robert Wilson's Biases and Blind Spots:
Methodism and Foreign Policy Since World War II (Wilmore, Kentucky: Bristol Books, 1988) [He also includes chapter on World War I]; and Mark Tooley’s Methodism And Politics in the Twentieth Century (Anderson, Indiana: Bristol House, 2012).

2For example, in 1924 Hough was voted one of the twenty-five leading clerics in the United States by the
readership of the Christian Century.

3Even though Hough was one of the most prominent Methodist and "New Humanist" figures of this century, he has never been the subject of a book-length study. Most recent studies in these areas of inquiry neglect Hough's contribution. Thomas Langford's Practical Divinity: Theology in the Wesleyan Tradition (Nashville: Abington Press, 1983) includes mention of Hough in a footnote (n. 2, p. 288); Russell E. Richey's "Drew Theological Seminary and American Methodism" [Daniel Clendenin, Editor, Scholarship, Sacraments and Service (Lewiston: Edwin Mellon Press, 1990], conveniently skips Hough's long tenure as Dean of Drew Theological Seminary (1934-1947); Thomas R. Nevin's Irving Babbitt: An Intellectual Study (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984), makes one reference to Hough--citing an article Hough authored about Babbitt. Stephen L. Tanner's recent Paul Elmer More (Albany: State University Press of New York, 1987) quotes Hough at least three times without ever properly crediting his achievement or stature in the "New Humanist" movement. Claes Ryn's Will, Imagination and Reason (Chicago: Regnery Books, 1986) quotes Hough once, but refers its readers to a tome by Hough. The most thorough history of the "New Humanism" movement, J. David Hoeveler, Jr.'s The New Humanism (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1977), contains no mention of Hough or his contribution to the movement. Another sign of this contemporary scholarly complacency surrounding the study of Hough, one might make that observation that only one of his fifty books, Vital Control (the first volume of The Forest Essays) remains in print. On the other hand, several scholars have appreciated Hough's work; the most important study is Floyd Cunningham's "The Christian Faith Personally Given: Divergent Trends in Twentieth Century American Methodism" (Ph.D. dissertation, Johns Hopkins University, 1983), and his “Lynn Harold Hough and Evangelical Humanism,” The Drew Gateway, Volume 56, Number 1 (Fall 1985), pp. 16-30. On a related note, Hough’s tremendous contribution to American homiletics is evinced in many publications. See Edgar DeWitt Jones, American Preachers To-Day (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1971); Wycliffe Handbook of Preaching and Preachers, ed. Wiersbe, Warren M., and Lloyd M. Perry (Chicago: Moody Press, 1984), p. 309; and Sermons from Duke Chapel: Voices From “A Great Towering Church,” ed. William H. Willimon (Durham: Duke University Press, 2005), pp. 9-17.

2 the religious debates of the 1920s and 1930s. Hough was attracted to the balance of sympathy and selection in Babbitt's presentation of the doctrine. The purpose of this essay will be to present Hough's elucidation and utilization of Babbittian Humanism, and demonstrate how Hough's understanding contributes to some of the important questions of philosophy and religion. Hough graduated from Scio College in 1898 and Drew Theological Seminary in 1905. He was ordained into the Methodist ministry after his graduation from Drew and served pastorates in New York, New Jersey, and Maryland. Hough spent the next two decades teaching historical theology at Garrett Biblical Institute, with a one year stint as president of Northwestern University, and appointments to several prominent pastorates, including Central Methodist Episcopal Church in Detroit. At this point in his life, Hough was already a powerful figure in ecclesial and theological circles. Richard Fox, for example, notes in his important study of Reinhold Niebuhr that Hough served as the model for many aspiring theologians during this period including Niebuhr and Joseph Vance. Floyd Cunningham accurately notes that “Niebuhr’s Leaves from the Notebook of a Tamed Cynic, based on his Detroit years, lauded the wealth of scholarship’ undergirding Hough’s ideas and praised his colleague’s ability to unite ‘religious emotion with aspiration rather than duty.’”5 By the early 1920s Hough had, according to his account, "already read pretty much everything written by Irving Babbitt." In 1927 Hough met Babbitt and published an article on his work in The London Quarterly Review. The relationship between the two men remained cordial and regular until Babbitt's death. Louis Mercier poignantly describes the association: "They were to remain in touch until Babbitt's death, and it was Lynn Harold Hough who spoke the last words at the [Babbitt’s memorial] service in the Harvard Chapel." In addition to Babbitt and Paul Elmer More, Hough was also an important contributor to the New Humanism movement. Through his major philosophical works, The Meaning of Human Experience, The Christian Criticism of Life, Evangelical Humanism, Christian Humanism and the Modern World, and other works, Hough introduced a new, more dynamic theophanic element to the "New Humanism," making it a more palpable concept to student of Christian theology. Hough's interpretation of Babbitt's concept of humanism differs from Babbitt's own view in some respects. Like Plato and Aristotle, Hough argued for a natural harmony in the relationship between humans and their world. The greatest test of such a harmony, Hough argued, was in the souls of the individual citizens who comprise a given republic.
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4Richard Fox, Reinhold Niebuhr: A Biography (New York: Harper and Row, 1985), p. 196. 5Cunningham, Ibid., p. 19. 6Lynn Harold Hough, The Christian Criticism of Life (New York: Abington-Cokesbury, 1941), p. 276. 7Lynn Harold Hough, "Dr. Babbitt and Vital Control," London Quarterly Review, Volume 147 (January 1927), pp. 1-15. While the title of the article would indicate a certain lack of knowledge of Babbitt's academic history, this piece is much more perceptive than a number of the early articles on Irving Babbitt. 8Author’s note. 9Louis J. A. Mercier, Humanism in the New Age (Milwaukee: Bruce Publishing Company), p. 88.

3 Perhaps Hough’s important departure from Babbitt involve Hough's conviction that the "New Humanism" could actually be preached and disseminated in a fashion similar to the way one might spread the good news of the Gospels. Unlike the "religious humanism" proposed by John Dewey, Hough reconciled Babbitt’s most important insights with the enduring witness of the classical, consensual tradition of Christianity. For Hough, true humanism served as a guide for a rigorous discipline of the mind. He attempted to counter the various ideologies of the time, while presenting Babbittian humanism refreshed with a Christian view of the moral order. To fully appreciate the Houghian synthesis, a comparison of these two approaches to Humanism is necessary. Two Approaches to Humanism Babbitt and Hough came to a similar understanding of Humanism and the role such a concept should assume in the United States; however, the path that brought these two men to such a level of philosophical agreement deserves some explication. If Babbitt was the first intellectual to promote the cause that would be called "New Humanism," then Lynn Harold Hough should be given some recognition for presenting this "New Humanism" to the theological community, a group that was reluctant to endorse such an idea. Hough may also be credited with making the "New Humanism" a more understandable proposal for the re-evaluation of the educational and social mores of the period. While Babbitt was certainly the author of numerous works central to the “New Humanism” movement, he sometimes left to his reader the tasking of fully explaining the definition of a given term. Milton Hindus, one of Babbitt's most devoted followers, once described the story of a French auditor of one of Babbitt's classes at the Sorbonne. The young man became upset at Professor Babbitt's use of the term "inner check" and in despair shouted "What the devil does this fellow mean with his 'inner check'?" One could argue, with some certainty, that the young man would have benefited from more exposure to Babbitt's lectures, but unfortunately not a few of Babbitt's ideas have been susceptible to such a charge. To ascertain the origins of Babbitt's concept, we shall now assume a more systematic approach. Babbitt's initial essay in Literature and the American College marks the beginning of his search for the historical roots of a redemptive humanism. According to Babbitt, the term humanism comes from the Latin Humanus or Humanitas. Much of what we know about the term comes from the account of Gellius, a late Latin writer. For Babbitt, Gellius' example is enlightening because of his description of the Rome’s misplaced propensity for loving one's fellow man in such a way as to break with the constraints of the classical tradition. Babbitt argues that this is not humanism, but humanitarianism, a harbinger of much trouble. "A person who has sympathy for mankind in the lump" is not a humanist, but a humanitarian, argued Babbitt. While the humanitarian desires only the qualities of knowledge and sympathy, the humanist, if he is to make the decisions that will benefit society, must employ a "disciplined and selective sympathy." The humanist, Babbitt suggested, must "aim at proportionateness through a civilization of the law of
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10Milton Hindus, “The Achievement of Irving Babbitt," The University Bookman, Volume 2, Number 1
(Autumn 1961), pp. 14-15.

11Babbitt, Literature and the American College, p. 73. 12Ibid., p. 74.

4 measure." At this point, Babbitt introduces the central element of his definition and defense of humanism as a philosophical concept based on Aristotelian precepts. Certainly Babbitt knew ancient humanism possessed certain drawbacks and limitations, although he favored it in place of any of the schemes prevailing at the beginning of the century. Babbitt believed much of the "dilemma" began with the Renaissance's "cult of the ancient." A basic introduction to the classical languages and literature, Babbitt argued, was not enough. In a short period of time one could become acquainted with authors and a limited number of basic texts; however, the enduring lessons of the great works could not be fully appreciated by so limited an exposure. At nearly every juncture in his observations, Babbitt would express some disdain for the "de-evolution" of humanism during the Renaissance, while affirming particular humanists of the period who sought to understand the "underlying unity of aim" that binds civilization. The later Machiavellian challenge to Christianity and its effect on education, and the subsequent reframing of the idea of Christian education by Martin Luther, are inappropriately maligned by Babbitt. The Machiavellian critique of Christianity as weak and unable to permit a prince to act in a prudent fashion was at least partially correct. The authentic gnostic influence upon Christianity had stressed that the believer should remove himself or herself from active participation in "this world," almost to the exclusion of involvement in one's society. Instead of placing Machiavelli at the center of an antihumanistic demonology, a more salutary contribution can be considered. It is certain Machiavelli forced the Christian world to consider a more pragmatic approach to earthly affairs, a tendency even Babbitt endorses at a later point in Literature and the American College. Babbitt also thoroughly misrepresents the attitude of Martin Luther towards classical studies. Unfortunately, Babbitt portrays Luther as a despiser of "pagan classics," when Luther can frequently be found praising the study of the classical writers for their wisdom concerning how the state is to be governed or on other matters. In fairness, however, Babbitt's goal was to demonstrate the dangers of humanitarian naturalism, a goal Hough will argue he achieved. While Babbitt's humanism and his view of human nature were rooted in a classical, and essentially Aristotelian and to a lesser degree Platonic view of man, he also believed that a simple duplicating of the ancients was no solution in itself; as such a process could not engender the promotion of the honnête homme, a genuine class of gentlemen and scholars. Babbitt, like Hough, warned that the models of antiquity had to be studied carefully, as one could be easily detracted from a humanist approach by the allure of neoorthodoxy, not to mention the increasingly prominent ideological movements that had begun to dominate many streams of political thought.
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13Ibid., p. 75. 14Irving Babbitt, "Humanism: An Essay at Definition," in Norman Foerster, ed., Humanism and America (New
York: Farrar and Rinehart, 1930).

15Irving Babbitt, Literature and the American College, p. 80. 16Ibid, p. 162. 17In fairness, Babbitt did not have the extensive Luther Werke, now totaling one hundred volumes, to supplement his rather superficial understanding of the Reformation leader.

5 Ultimately, humanism for Babbitt evolved from the classical notion of the dualistic aspect of human nature. There was a "tension between opposities which cuts right through our inner life," Babbit argued. Babbitt's claim is augmented by the scholarship of Eric Voegelin, Leo Strauss, John Hallowell, and others who have made related critiques of the nature of man. A good example of this continuation of the Babbittian critique can be found in John Hallowell's slim volume entitled The Moral Foundations of Democrary. The all consuming "constant element" in life, when worshipped and elevated into "an end in itself," could prove to be disastrous. Humanism is a principle based on selection; it is not a formulaic system that controls one's whole being like Nietzsche's Will to Power. It is clear Babbitt realized the challenge presented by Nietzsche and its roots in a naturalistic impulse--"with the growth of the naturalistic temper, the normal has come to have less appeal than the novel," Babbitt argued. As Ruediger Grimm has suggested, Nietzsche's Will to Power is essentially Nietzsche's view of Life. Life then assumes a form of the Will to Power. The Will to Power is the whole of being, but this force is also finite and sporadic, as compared to Babbitt's more monolithic interpretation of the concept. A superficial rendering of this idea might suggest that the Will to Power is related to Hegel's Weltgeist or Spengler's Untergang ; but Nietzsche is neither attempting to promote a new theory of metaphysics, nor provide a description of the universe. The declaration demands the acknowledgment of the Will to Power as a force of great proportions, even thought the power exerted by this force is difficult to measure. Nietzsche's modern critics, who are in basic agreement with Babbitt's assessment, have successfully and correctly outlined his disdain for the old morality and have accused him of "demoralizing" his concept of the Will to Power. The logic behind this hypothesis is partially correct; Nietzsche certainly displays much displeasure (unlust) when he addresses the problems of the world in which he lives, but these criticisms must not end in resentment and displacement from the world. Nietzsche is arguing for a fundamental change in our approach to the ordering of knowledge and it is this "danger of will-worship" Babbitt abhors. A system of knowledge based or grounded in history may not be so easily assimilated into this new perspective.
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18For a more thorough discussion of the patrimony, see Claes G. Ryn, "The Humanism of Irving Babbitt Revisited," Modern Age, Volume 21, Number 3 (Summer 1977), pp. 251-262. 19Ibid., p. 252. 20(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954). 21Babbitt, "Humanism: An Essay at Definition," p. 29. 22Ibid., p. 29. 23Ruediger H. Grimm, Nietzsche's Theory of Knowledge (Berlin: Walter de Guyter, 1977), p.7. 24For an example of this consider Jasper's notion of the Will to Power as "spasm" or "leap"; it is evident that
this is what Nietzsche's Zarathustra most abhors:"Weariness that wants to reach the ultimate with one leap, with one fatal leap, a poor ignorant weariness that does not want to want anymore: this created all gods and afterworlds."(Kaufman, The Portable Nietzsche, p. 143.)

25An example of this can be found in Walter Mead's “Will as Moral Faculty," The Ethical Dimension of Political Life (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1983), p. 61.

6 Nietzsche stands in the middle ground, between Hegel and Heidegger; history for Nietzsche is not the complete realm of being, but rather a influence, albeit an important one. Heidegger and other existentialists attempted to draw from history a radical historicism that would create a closer connection between the eternal and earthly. Nietzsche, in contradistinction to Hegel and Heidegger, urges engagement as the most essential attribute. By arguing for such a ground based on the Will to Power Nietzsche is breaking with the classical view by transforming the dualistic view of life into a singular notion of life. At the end of the day, the Nietzschean solution proves to be destructive according to Babbitt. Most importantly, it lacks the "kind of working"--the energetic ordering of the soul Aristotle stressed. This approach for Babbitt required a constant effort to "rise from a lower to a higher range of satisfactions." For Babbitt, the all consuming "constant element" in life, when worshipped and elevated into "an end in itself," could prove to be disastrous. Humanism, as we have argued, is a principle is based on selection; it is not a formularic system that controls one's whole being like the Nietzschean Will to Power. Babbitt's humanism, multifaceted in theory and practice, rested primarily on Aristotelian ideas, as we have noted. Plato, who was an important figure for Babbitt, and especially for his associate Paul Elmer More, is nevertheless not as significant in Babbitt’s intellectual patrimony. Folke Leander has argued that Babbittian humanism is grounded on the level of intuition in Aristotle's distinction of the "One and the Many":
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In practice the ethical universals--which are only various modes of the intuition of a human universal, distinguished according to the group of impulses which this human universal is in each case felt to be opposed to-are the only universals with which Babbitt is concerned. They are not arrived at by intellectual processes but are a matter of immediate superrational intuition. And on this level the problem of the One and the Many cannot be dealt with in terms of the intellect.

26Irving Babbitt, Democracy and Leadership (Indianapolis: Liberty Classics, 1979), p. 201. 27Babbitt, "Humanism: An Essay at Definition," p. 41. 28Ibid, p. 29.
30Ibid, p. 29. 31The Will to Power, on the other hand, was (and is) frequently considered to be such a device. Alfred Adler, a member of Freud's circle and a pioneer in the field of individual psychology, subscribed to this intrepretation. He believed that could find in The Genealogy of Morals a Will to Power that would allow one to resist the dynamic elements of everyday life even more thoroughly; in his own field of study, he became a neo-Freudian and his promotion of the process of a removal from the confines of normal earthly activity would later influence not a few neo-Marxist thinkers. (See Walter Sokol, "The Political Uses and Abuses of Nietzsche in Walter Kaufmann's Image of Nietzsche," Nietzsche Studien, Band 12 (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1983), p. 438. 32Folke Leander, Humanism and Naturalism (Gotesborg: Elanders Boktryckeri Aktiebolag, 1937), p. 187.

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7 But this is not is say that Babbitt is a thorough going nominalist. Babbittian humanism, and its related concept of the will, should be understood as not so very different from a telology of sorts: the consideration that the final product of "end" will be the resultant of a specific action or set of actions. The higher will as guide depends on a reification the Aristotelian practice of forming good habits. The critique presented by Rousseau and Nietzsche is dangerous because it encourages only spontaneous action. As Claes G. Ryn has demonstrated, "Babbitt's real theory is that morality has two aspects, renunciation and affirmation of the impulse." The "golden mean" of Babbitt's humanism can only function between absolutist and relativistic approaches. The supreme rationalist, following in the patrimony of a Bacon or de Tracy, must eventually erect an ideology as the mechanism for directing a political or philosophical agenda. This stringent rationalist, however, will be ineffective unless his effort is augmented by the relativist. For Babbitt, the combination of these two forces, separated from an inner principle of restraint, would create a society that could "oscillate violently between opposite extremes." As this approach demonstrates, one might argue that the weakness of Babbitt's critique is his reluctance to ascribe to reason any useful qualities, as I alluded earlier in this paper; however, upon closer examination Babbitt's reliance on intuition rests on a reason of a sort, but not a worship of modern reason.
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Hough and Humanism Lynn Harold Hough was without question greatly influenced by Babbitt's, and to a lesser degree, More's conceptualization of humanism. When Hough's works on the subject are examined, a shift from a universalist, dogmatic conception of the concept to a more moderate understanding of humanism can be observed. This section will attempt to trace Hough's approach to the concept of humanism. Hough's first attempt to promote the idea of humanism occurred in 1925 with the publication of his Evangelical Humanism. In this tome Hough attempted to relate the "spirit" of evangelism with the "spirit" of humanism, an approach influenced by Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit. At one point, Hough even praises Hegel's propensity for the "bending of the material (philosophical, artistic, and political) to express the character of the invisible and the ideal." This process, Hough concluded, provided a humanism that
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31Ibid., p. 170. 32Claes G. Ryn, "The Humanism of Irving Babbitt Revisited," Modern Age, Volume 21, Number 3 (Summer 1977), p. 254. 33See H. Lee Cheek, Jr., "The Problem of Ideology in Contemporary Conservative Thought," The Lincoln Review, Volume 8, Number 1 (Fall 1987), pp. 25-35. 34Irving Babbitt, Literature and the American College, p. 103. 35Lynn Harold Hough, Evangelical Humanism (New York: The Abington Press, 1925). 36Author's note. 37Hough, Evangelical Humanism, p. 151.

8 was "already transcending its limitations." The molding of various influences--what Hough considered to be a humanizing process--could serve as the foundation for unifying the evangelical and sacramental views of human existence. The effort to combine various elements in Hough's early thinking can not be considered to be a process of synthesis. Political humanism, for Hough, began in 1776 with the issuance of the Declaration of Independence; the statement of political principal was, in Hough’s view, followed and connected to the French enunciation of the Rights of Man. The West had finally reached a point of "full consciousness," and the old world was to become a memory. Hough indiciates that a movement of full consciousness has the possibility of expanding: in fact, he believed such a process was inevitable, as the West advanced in an intellectual and technological manner. Central to the spread of this humanism was the influence of John Locke, JeanJacques Rousseau, and Abraham Lincoln. Locke epitomized for Hough the vitality of this "new" thinking, and he believed Locke was the predominant force behind the American Revolution. Obviously, Locke served as an important figure for the colonists; however, Locke and his doctrines, especially his Treatises on Government, have to be considered in light of many other sources and political movements. It can be argued that Locke is primarily a philosopher of individualistic liberty and actually limits the role of the political. Locke, like his predecessor Hobbes, did not equate the new social order that would result from his theories as a means of elevating the dignity and intellectual life of man. While Hough stresses the influence of Locke, he appears to be unaware of the importance of influences on the Founders. Hough follows his praise of Locke with an endorsement of Rousseau as a visionary of this newly reinvigorated humanism. Rousseau, the great defender of a intrinsic and naturalistic virtue appears to contradict Hough's revivalistic assessment:
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O, Virtue! Sublime science of simple souls, are there so many difficulties and so much preparation necessay in order to know you? Are your principles not engraved in all hearts, and is it not enough, in order to learn your laws, to commune with oneself and, in the silence of the passions, to listen to the voice of one's conscience? That is true philosophy; Let us know how to be satisfied with it.

Rousseau was, after all, attacking all aspects of society and humane learning. His efforts were greatly criticized by the most well-known academics in France during this period, the

38Ibid., p. 151. 39Ibid., p. 99. 40It should be reiterated that this is Hough's first presentation of the concept. His views will change over time,
indicating the influence of the scholarship of Irving Babbitt on his work.

41For a recent and insightful discussion of this see Andrzej Rapaczynski's Nature and Politics: Liberalism in the
Philosophies of Hobbes, Locke and Rousseau (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987).

42Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Sciences and the Arts, in Rousseau: The Basic Political Writings (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1987), p. 21

9 Encyclopedists, for reasons that would appear to contradict Hough, including his stress on what one might call sentimentalism. Perhaps the most controversial and tenous example Hough presents as an exponent of humanism is Abraham Lincoln. Hough praises Lincoln for making American political humanism "a passionate and joyous spirit of democracy." Even as Hough lamented Lincoln's departure from classical humanism, he acknowledged "you cannot deprive him [Lincoln] of his place in the humanistic succession." While Lincoln is certainly an important figure in American history and politics, one who deserves much scholarly attention, Hough's promotion of him as one of the "iron men" on the humanist revival is problematic at best. The arguments presented by Hough in his Evangelical Humanism are frequently different, and in some cases contradict his later efforts, and the view of humanism presented by Irving Babbitt; nevertheless, even in this early effort, Hough's central thesis is identical to Babbitt's: "(defining humanism ) One may put it in a sentence by saying that whenever you find traces of Aristotle then you may have a certain assurance of humanistic influences." Hough, influenced by Babbitt and his own thorough reading of Aristotle, realized the centrality of Aristotle's thesis that virtue can not be practiced perfectly, except in the perfect state. Parting with Babbitt's close associate, Paul Elmer More, and his own endorsement of abstract theory, Hough begins to question the "high-bred seriousness" of the Plationic dialogues and the Platonic Socrates. More was intriqued by Plato's Doctrine of Ideas, and it is his devotion to the Platonic notion of the absolute that separates him from Hough's intrepretation of the classical tradition. In this early elucidation of Houghian humanism, the centrality of Saint Paul and the Pauline texts is introduced. St. Paul, more than any other historical figure for Hough, possessed the ability to see "the significant matters in right relations." Paul, through his letters, presented the most accessible account of the historical and spiritual tension in the early Church. In Hough's view these tensions were most obvious in the Letter to the Romans. Paul's letters were important expressions of just what the proper modes of social behavior should be, especially in terms of the relationship of the citizen to the state. Paul's view of Christian freedom, civil responsibility, and early Christian society provided the basic "plan" for humanism. Men must be able to extract from human experience
43 44 45 46 47 48 49

43Hough, Evangelical Humanism, p. 101. 44Ibid. 45Hough's comments in regard to Lincoln are largely based a rather innocent respect for American
historiography. Some contemporary scholars, notably Harry V. Jaffa, have attempted to portray the Lincoln presidency as the second American Founding--a propostion less accurate and more radical than Hough could have ever imagined. See Jaffa's Crisis of the House Divided (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983), and A New Birth of Freedom (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2000) for examples of this view.

46Authors's note. 47Hough, Evangelical Humanism, p. 106. 48Ibid. 49Ibid, p. 143.

10 something more than an abstraction, if these individuals can ever hope to receive the "full message" of the humanistic cause.50 Hough's stress on experiential knowledge is presented more fully in his The University of Experience (1932) published seven years after Evangelical Humanism.51 In a substantial way, Hough repudiates his earlier devotion to the Hegelian concept of a world spirit and its concomitant political implications. Political life that is neither grounded in experience nor historical understanding, could only be counterproductive. For Hough, after all, it was through "vicarious experience that we learn to apply the mind of God to the life of man." The most mature and encompassing presentation of Lynn Harold Hough's view of humanism comes nearly a decade after The University of Experience in his The Christian Criticism of Life. In the only early essay length critique of Hough's humanism, Louis J. A. Mercier uses The University of Experience as the sole basis of his survey of Hough's view of humanism. In this book Hough again stresses the beginning of humanism in Greece: "When thinkers in the fifth century Athens turned from a study of things--of the material world--to a study of the mind of man--of thoughts and ideals and quick-moving intelligence, humanism was born." Greek humanism was epitomized, for Hough, by the Greek tragedy; all aspects of culture were represented and the Greek perceptions of the world around them was given full expression. In ancient Greece, Hough thought civilization "discovered the meaning in free intelligence investigating and controlling the world and the inner and outer life of man." The humanism of Athens was further developed by Rome. Hough readily acknowledged the Greek contribution to Roman society, but the Roman propensity for finding applications for this inherited knowledge was deemed by Hough to be most important contribution. While Athens was a more thoughtful society, Rome produced a society with more dependable and prudent men. More specifically, Hough, like Babbitt, saw a great proponent of humanism in the great Roman political thinker and lawyer, Cicero. The special, critical understanding Cicero witnessed in his De Officiis concerning the different parts of the mind, namely, a part controlled by the appetite and a part based on reason, was a tremendous philosophical achievement. Justinian's approach to law was
52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59

50Ibid., p. 143. 51Lynn Harold Hough, The University of Experience (New York: Harper and Row, 1932). 52Ibid., p. 84. 53Ibid., p. 86. 54Hough, The Christian Criticism of Life (New York: Abington-Cokesbury, 1941). 55Louis J.A. Mercier, "Lynn Harold Hough," in American Humanism in the New Age (Milwaukee: Bruce Publishing Company, 1948), pp. 88-111. 56Christian Criticism of Life, p. 26. 57Ibid., p. 37. 58Ibid., p. 40.

11 another example of the crystallization of humanistic sanctions. In Rome, practical humanism was nurtured. Again, Hough demonstrates just how severe his break with the Hegelian flirtations presented in his early works has become. Hough proceeds to describe the decline of Rome as a surrendering of the humanisitic influence. When Hough turns to a consideration of humanism in the Middle Ages, he clearly repudiates his earlier praise for what one might consider to be ideological formulations. Hough argued that a person's view of the Middle Ages could tell you much about that person and the person’s worldview; if someone simply dismissed the period, Hough believed, "you know at once that he has had no firsthand contact with the rich heritage remaining from the era." The Middle Ages witnessed not just a renewed devotion to God, but an invigorated attempt to appreciate the role of man in his relationship with the Divine. The work of Boethius, Saint Anselm, and especially Saint Thomas Aquinas, provided the proper synthesis of Christianity and the classical tradition, Hough posited. The basic contribution of the medieval writers was the inclusion of critical insight, and it is precisely in this addition that humanism, for Hough, becomes a mature doctrine. Hough proceeds to examine other historical periods, but the integration of the classical tradition in the medieval period remained in his analysis the great flourishing of humanism. It is at this point that Hough proposes a theory distinct from Babbitt, More or any other "New Humanist" philosopher. Humanism is to be always present, but on three levels. A superficial rendering of this idea might suggest a departure from the Babbittian defense of humanistic dualism, although Hough, again, is making a distinction totally compatible with Babbitt's concept. Hough's three levels, the subhuman, the human, and the divine intelligence, can be condensed into two levels, therefore reinforcing Babbitt's fundamental defense of a dualistic humanism. According to our condensation, the subhuman and the human are essentially "a facing and a stating of the facts of life." It is a condition of Amathia, or ignorance; as Plato uses the term in The Laws. This approach constitutes a refusal to discuss the underlying problems of life. Only through critical humanism, the third level, can man understand the "ultimate sources," what the Eric Voegelin has termed the existential consciousness. In man's effort to move from the subhuman, to the human, to critical humanism, he must move beyond the "one and the one," a type of monism, towards an understanding of the theophanic manifestation. The first step of this awareness comes with theistic humanism, a term often associated with Paul Elmer More. More departed from Hough and Babbitt in his endorsement of a free will, and the will’s relations to intuition. In this criticism, More makes a most poignant, if incorrect, critique of Babbitt's humanism: " Will not the humanist, unless he adds to his creed the faith and hope of religion, find himself at the last, despite his protests, dragged back into the camp of the naturalist?" As it will
60 61 62 63

59Ibid., p. 41. 60Ibid., p. 41. 61Ibid., p. 50. 62Ibid., p. 141. 63Paul Elmer More, New Shelburne Essays, Volume 3 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1936), pp. 1920.

12 soon be demonstrated, Babbitt held religion in much higher regard than what is usually admitted by his critics. More's theistic humanism recognized a relationship with the eternal, "an intuition of the spiritual realm," as Stephen Tanner has argued. The higher and the lower self are balanced by their openness to evil. Unfortunately, evil and illusion become the measuring gauge of philosophical reality for More. The truer the illusion for More, the truer the perception of humanism. More was critical of the Babbittian and Houghian view of humanism based, in part, on his own "redoubtable conscious." Hough's central concept of a critical humanism cannot easily be reconciled with More’s version, as such an idea lacked a full appreciation of the dynamic role sin assumed in historical periods, especially the Renaissance. Hough argued that critical humanism, or Christian Humanism, required the recognition of the "inherent nobility, " "the philosophy of man made in the image of God." From Hough's The Meaning of Human Experience (1945), and Christian Humanism and the Modern World (1948), one can extract his most mature and insightful presentation of the concept of Christian humanism. This application of humanism is certainly Hough's greatest contribution to the "New Humanism," and as we have suggested, and his mature insights could serve as the basis promoting Babbittian Humanism to the Christian community. We will now examine the interrelationship between Christian Humanism as defined by Hough and the humanism of Irving Babbitt.
64 65 66

Christian Humanism and the "New Humanism" Christian humanism, as presented by Hough, provided the mechanism for an ecumenical understanding of the concept: All this (the Christian Church) it has done on the basis of a series of facts and a series of interpretations which we may call classic Christianity. This corpus of thought is held in common by the Greek and Latin communions, and by the great state churches and by the free churches of the Protestant world. It unites the neo-Thomists in the Roman Catholic Church with the representatives of classic Christianity in any Protestant communion. It is the basis of an ecumenical Christianity which transcends all the walls built up by the different communions. It centers in Jesus Christ. Its fundamental assertion has to do with the Incarnation. Its central spiritual message has to do with the cross. In its name embattled Christians in this bitter and difficult age confront the world.

Through the incarnation, man is able to assume a position of dignity in a fallen world. God was able to take on human trappings only due to the fact that man is made in God's image. The ability to choose between the higher and the lower potentialities of life and the gift of critical reflection mark the central gifts of Christian humanism, and are only

64Stephen L. Tanner, Paul Elmer More (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1987), p. 39. 65Ibid, p. 245. 66Hough, Christian Humanism and the Modern World (Toronto: The Ryerson Press, 1948), p. 7. 67Hough, The Christian Criticism of Life, pp. 212-213.

13 possible, Hough argued, because of man's likeness to God. Hough believed that as one progressed towards Christian humanism, one would also be allowed to experience a Zetema, a period of significant self-illumination, that would allow the centrality of the incarnation to be accepted. Christian humanism was the ideal situation to allow for all streams of human life "to flow together." Hough believed all tributaries of philosophical inquiry could flow into a central stream; this central element was the Christian religion. The initial problem one must encounter in the pursuit of the life he envisioned was physical well-being. Hough was in total agreement with the classical notion that physical well-being was connected with spiritual and intellectual well-being. The Christian contribution to this understanding involved the "sacramental view of life." The human body was similar to a lamp; in most cases there was no light, as most individuals lacked the eternal energy of the spirit. Through Christiam humanism, all lamps could burn and the moral imagination, what Cardinal Newman called the "Illative Sense," could be renewed. Social and spiritual well-being, as well as intellectual well-being, could be improved through the concept of Christian humanism. Improvements required the acknowledgement of a greater force in the universe than humanity. Well-being for Hough was predicated on "man's happy and friendly acceptance of his position under God and over nature." The deeper understanding man has of himself, the more he can fathom that he is not divine; only God can serve as man's Lord and moral exemplar. Through a process of apperception man was able to experience God's love for man. Hough also believed that Christian Humanism could produce a society most akin to the inherited tradition: For the real problem lies at last in the production of great numbers of individuals each of whom is a social individual in the sense that he is actually able to forget himself in the good of others. It may be said quite freely that Christianity has revealed a unique power in the production of just such individuals. And here the crux of the whole matter lies in the fact that every person who loves God, as God has come to him in Christ, is already the sort of person who can love his neighbor as himself.
68 69 70 71

This could allow adherents of Christian Humanism to help reverse many problems of social decay. The basic response of Christian Humanism was to readopt and promote the "Beloved Community." The central ingredient behind the "Beloved Community" was the centrality of the dignity of man. Through the incarnation, a special image of the dignity of human life is presented and reaffirmed. This approach would also include an appreciation for social action, but given its communitarian base, it would discourage the inclusion of all-controlling, statist measures found in the modern welfare state.

68Hough, The Meaning of Human Experience, p. 303. 69Ibid., p. 304. 70Ibid., p. 308. 71Ibid., p. 309. 72Christian Humanism and the Modern World, p. 45.

14 The most serious challenge to Christian Humanism came from the utopian critics. Hough argued these utopian theorists were adept at attacking existing social structures, but were unable to notice the injustices of their own proposals. Hough argued against such a view, claiming that the utopian corpus of writing exaggerated the depravity of the human condition and failed to appreciate the tremendous improvements made in the 20th Century. Social evolution, in the truest sense, required "the preservation of the good and the destruction of evil." The transition from a bleak past to a brighter future as portrayed by the Marxist critics of social structures was for Hough simply propaganda, and an example of unconstrained and unscientific thought. Modern democracy had become more much accommodating of genuine popular rule, Hough surmised, but the excesses of plebiscitarian democracy remained a serious concern. Hough, like Babbitt, and most defenders of the classical tradition, was all too aware of democratic man's weakness for becoming a victim of his passions. Hough was a careful student of Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Politics, and he endorsed their effort to recapture and to regenerate the last soul of any political system; the just polity was the best practicable regime because it provided the restraint necessary to preserve the Politeia, and it allowed for the greated amount of personal freedom. Hough believed the problem of democracy had become more bewildering and confusing; only through humanism, especially Christian humanism, could the West survive the challenges ahead of it. The importance of the correct relationship between men in the political and social order formed the basis of the just society, and Hough observed that such connective tissue was dissolving in the 1930s and 1940s. Lynn Harold Hough considered his Christian Humanism compatible and an extension of Babbittian humanism. Babbitt never directly criticized Hough's approach, and on several occasions even encouraged Hough's efforts. Hough's approach to humanism was greatly influenced by his exposure to the scholarship of Irving Babbitt, as we have argued in this paper. Hough considered Babbittian humanism integral to his exposition of what one might call Babbittian humanism with a Christian face. Unlike the portrayal of Babbitt presented by his critics, Babbitt was appreciation of the contribution of to Christianity; in fact, Babbitt once urged that a post-World War I Europe could only be recovered by "a change of heart in a Buddhistic or Christian sense," and such a change would have to begin at the center of the political structure. Instead of being a proponent of an anti-Christian, modernist bias as some of Babbitt's objectors have urged, Babbitt preferred a Christianity, or Christian humanism that could avoid the "pistol-shot
73 74 75 76

73Ibid, p. 47. 74See Hough's The Christian Criticism of Life and other works for accounts of his many meetings with his philosophical mentor. 75Irving Babbitt, "Notes on Democracy and Imperalism," Babbitt Papers (Harvard University), as quoted by Thomas R. Nevin in Irving Babbitt: An Intellectual Study (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984), p. 134.. 76Sister Mary Killeen's Man in the New Humanism (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America, 1934), argues that only the scholastic concept of man would allow for "true humanism." A more recent and less reliable agrument against Babbitt's connection to Christianity can be found in James W. Tuttleton's "T.S. Eliot and the Crisis of the Modern," Modern Age, Volume 31, Number 1-2 (Summer/Fall 1987), pp. 275-283. Tuttleton suggests Babbitt has "given up" on Christianity and "begun a journey into the future virtually dissociated from the historic, religious and moral tradition" (p. 275).

15 transformations of human nature." Hough offered such a humanism, augmented with a notion of humility.

77Irving Babbitt, "What I Believe," Forum (February 1930), p. 86.

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