Saturday, December 10, 2011

Condensing Taylor's "A Secular Age"

Ruth Abbey's review of a new little book by Charles Taylor and Jocelyn Maclure (Secularism and Freedom of Conscience) opens with an interesting observation:
Readers hoping for a condensed version of Taylor's 2007 tome, A Secular Age, will not find it here.
I find that intriguing precisely because I think I'm writing that hoped-for book! I've contracted with Eerdmans to write a crisp little book (of about 50,000 words) that will function as a "guide for the perplexed" as they approach Taylor's daunting tome. The goal is to write a book that at once condenses Taylor's argument while also giving it some room to breathe, with more cultural hooks and analysis that will make his account come alive. Ideally my little book will function as a portal and invitation to A Secular Age--a book that I feel contains an argument with real existential import; but one that has, to date, been underappreciated because of the density of Taylor's prose and the sprawling nature of the book's analysis.

My goal is to finish the book by the end of January 2012, hoping for a quick turnaround from my good friends at Eerdmans. Abbey's lead gives me hope that there might be an audience waiting for it.