The philosopher John Macmurray (1891-1976), perhaps the last of the great Scottish humanists, is now seen as a thinker for the twenty-first century. He was a philosopher with passion and vision as well as an inspirational teacher and lecturer at the universities of Oxford, London and Edinburgh.
Deeply moved by his experience in the trenches of the First World War, Macmurray was confirmed in his Christian faith but became scathing in his criticism of the Churches. Later, as a philosopher, he came to challenge the foundations of modern European thought and social practice, mounting an assault on impersonal academic systems which failed to address human freedom.
From the nightmare of the trenches to the crowded lecture halls of his academic teaching, in his private as well as his public life, Macmurray sought to express with integrity his vision of personal relations lived with freedom, equality and justice in community.
This biography, drawing on unpublished diaries, correspondence, interviews with colleagues and students and family records, is the first authoritative account of John Macmurray's life. It sheds much light on the development of his thought and reveals the colourful complexity of his character and relationship.
John E. Costello, a Canadian Jesuit priest, is a faculty member of Regis College in the University of Toronto and Director of the Toronto-based Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice.