The Second One Thousand Years, by Richard John Neuhaus

The Second One Thousand Years: Ten People Who Defined a Milennium. Edited by Richard John Neuhaus. Eerdmans, 126 pp., $14.00 paperback.

From the front cover of this slim volume peer the faces of its ten subjects, each representing one century of the millennium just ended. For Abraham Lincoln and Pope John Paul II there is a photograph; painted or sculpted portraits represent the rest. It is an imposing gallery of those who have shaped our intellectual and cultural history.

Maimonides, Columbus, Pascal and Rousseau all engage us with their direct gaze, but Pope Gregory VII, Dante and Calvin peer away into some invisible distance. A youthful bust of Aquinas with a curiously abstracted expression holds the central place. If only one could gather all ten around a dinner table! If there is television in heaven, perhaps Steve Allen set to work as soon as he arrived, lining them up for appearances on a celestial version of his whimsical "Meeting of Minds."


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