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‘The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self,’ with Dr. Carl R. Trueman

December 1st, 2020 | 3 min read

By Matthew Lee Anderson

Dr. Carl Trueman has written the book of the moment for Christian intellectuals this winter: The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution. He joins the entire Mere Fidelity cast and crew in this episode to where the modern notion of the self came from (at least since Rousseau) and how it led to the victory of sexual identity politics. If you’re wondering how the sentence, “I’m a woman trapped in a man’s body” came to make intuitive sense in our culture, listen on!

Mere Fidelity is sponsored by The Davenant Institute.

Seeking to retrieve the riches of Classical Protestantism and to renew and rebuild the contemporary church, the Davenant Institute provides two graduate-level degree programs in Classical Protestantism through Davenant Hall. Starting this winter term, Mere Fidelity’s own Alastair Roberts will be teaching a course on Exodus and the Shape of Biblical Narrative with Davenant Hall.

Use the code MF20 to receive a 20% discount when you register for Davenant Hall courses this winter term.

Crossway is generously offering a free copy of Dr. Trueman's book to a new Patreon supporter of Mere Fidelity! To be entered in the drawing, just sign up to support the show on Patreon at $3/month or more before 11:59pm Central Time on Monday, December 7th. If you sign up to a whole year of support at once, you'll receive an additional entry in the drawing; if you retweet our preview clip of the episode posted over at the @MereFidelity Twitter account, you'll also receive an additional entry (for a maximum of three entries per supporter). The winner will be notified the evening of Wednesday, December 9th.


New Sponsor Discount Code [1:51]

Dr. Carl Trueman [2:23]

Book Giveaway for New Patreon Supporters [3:59]

How did the statement “I’m a woman trapped in a man’s body” come to make intuitive sense in our culture? [5:14]

Making Connections & Research Surprises [8:36]

Chief Interlocutors [13:02]

To what extent is the church complicit in the transformation of the self? [15:27]

Christianity & Romanticism as co-belligerents; Mercersburg Theologians [25:58]

Therapeuticization of the Self; We can’t go back, so what's next? [31:13]

Cultural Structures and the Notion of the Self [38:00]

The Role of History in Forming Communities [47:30]


To support Mere Fidelity financially, visit our Patreon here.

Follow DerekAndrew, and Alastair for more tweet-sized brilliance. Thanks to Timothy Crouch for keeping us organized. Thanks to Tim Motte for his sound editing. And thanks to The Joy Eternal for lending us their music, which everybody should download out of gratitude for their kindness.

Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is an Associate Professor of Ethics and Theology in Baylor University's Honors College. He has a D.Phil. in Christian Ethics from Oxford University, and is a Perpetual Member of Biola University's Torrey Honors College. In 2005, he founded Mere Orthodoxy.