Conyers’s book launches an engaging assault on one of the great sacred cows of modern political science and religious studies, the doctrine of toleration....this is a provocative work that ought to be read widely by undergraduates as well as graduate students in ethics and political science, not only for the genealogy of toleration that it offers but also for its constructive proposal.
The Long Truce is a book to read and reread.
-Donald Livingston, Professor of Philosophy, Emory University
Conyers (theology, Baylor Univ.; How To Read the Bible) examines the philosophy of toleration and its application through history, tracing the path of this rarely questioned principle to its current place in our culture and government. By examining the concept of tolerance as viewed by Thomas Hobbes, Pierre Bayle, John Locke, and others, he shows that, historically, toleration has existed in groups and societies that had moral purposes and a conscience. Whereas toleration had historically been group related, now we see individual personal preference as a major basis for toleration. Conyers contends that as a public policy tolerance is used to lay the ground for peace and harmony, but instead of protecting minority groups, it allows for the centralization of power and indifference to values. Conyers believes that there is a need, in humility, to recover God's overall purpose of "telos," a morality that recognizes final causes. This thought-provoking study is recommended for academic libraries. George Westerlund, formerly with the Providence P.L. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Contrasting it to a Christian concept of a toleration that comes from humility while still seeking and asserting a universal truth, Conyers (Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor U.) argues that "toleration as a modern doctrine...has little to do with the survival of minority groups and everything to do with the centralizing of [state] power." He looks at the development of the concept of toleration in the works of Thomas Hobbes, Pierre Bayle, John Locke, Frederick Nietszche, and other philosophers and concludes that toleration without a reference to ultimate values necessarily leads to the conclusion that the power of the state must override the values of any groups ruled by that state. Finally he turns to Christian theology to offer an alternative that relies on the humility of the individual to make the formation of groups possible. He seems to believe that this formation of the idea leads to an ecumenical process that seeks to (and will) embrace all humanity. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
In The Long Truce: How Toleration Made The World Safe For Power And Profit, A.J. Conyers (professor at the George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University, Waco, Texas) reveals how the new, comprehensive, jealous, and demanding nation-states of early modern Europe propagated a novel version of toleration based on indifference to all values other than political power and material prosperity. By dissolving the loyalties that had previously bound European men to their church, family, and other intermediate institutions, toleration produced the modern "bi-polar society" in which the isolated citizen confronts the unmediated power of the state. In its modern form, toleration evolved not as a virtue, but as a strategy for the relentless imposition of secularism in the service of power and profit. Original, scholarly, fascinating, iconoclastic, Professor Conyers' The Long Truce is stimulating, informative, iconoclastic, "reader friendly", and a very highly recommended addition to any personal or academic reading list or reference collection in European social history, economic history, and political development.