Is Equality a Positive Good?

By |2021-03-23T16:31:07-05:00March 8th, 2021|Categories: American Republic, Declaration of Independence, E.B., Equality, Eva Brann, Philosophy, Senior Contributors, St. John's College|

Fairness is an acknowledgement of just desserts, and therefore implies equality in dealings with similarly entitled partners. So it is indeed equality adjusted to circumstances that I desire. Thus there is an intimation that equality will come into play when justice is administered communally. Regarding the title: 1. The question mark expresses a genuine perplexity [...]

Myths versus Novels

By |2021-03-23T16:30:10-05:00February 28th, 2021|Categories: E.B., Eva Brann, Fiction, Literature, Myth, Senior Contributors, St. John's College, Virginia Woolf|

Although myths and novels belong to different categories, they are alike in being the venues of human figures who are not presented as images of actually existent, “real-world” people. They have their being in a specific work of art, a drama or a narrative, such as the “Oresteia,” or a novel, such as Edith Wharton’s [...]

How We Split the World Apart: The Separation of Faith & Philosophy

By |2021-03-23T16:27:53-05:00February 11th, 2021|Categories: E.B., Eva Brann, Faith, Philosophy, Religion, Senior Contributors, St. John's College, Theology|

This is an edited version of a conversation between Eva Brann, the longest-serving tutor at St. John’s College, and Hamza Yusuf, President of Zaytuna College, recorded in March 2019. You can listen to the full podcast here. Hamza Yusuf: We’re really fortunate today to have with us, I think, one of the treasures of our [...]

Reflections on Imaginative Conservatism

By |2021-01-21T12:00:41-06:00January 21st, 2021|Categories: Conservatism, E.B., Essential, Eva Brann, Imagination, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, St. John's College, The Imaginative Conservative|

My first and last care is not politics but education. Education seems to me inherently conservative, being the transmission, and thus the saving, of a tradition’s treasures of fiction and thought. But education is also inherently imaginative. Author’s Note: I wish to dedicate this essay to a writer of books whose greatness is at once [...]

The “Eumenides”: Patriotism & Moderated Modernity

By |2020-10-06T22:17:07-05:00October 4th, 2020|Categories: Books, Classics, E.B., Eva Brann, Featured, Great Books, Literature, St. John's College, Timeless Essays|

The “Eumenides” is not a tragedy of the unresolvable impasse, of the unavoidable fatality. It is a “pragma,” an affair practically handled, whose outcome is not all-round cleansing by devastation, but a future of good daily living. Aeschylus invests this drama of sweet reason, of moderation triumphant, with exhilarating solemnity and participatory splendor. Aeschylus’ Eumenides is [...]

Castalia and St. John’s College

By |2020-06-03T09:22:02-05:00June 2nd, 2020|Categories: Books, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, Imagination, Liberal Learning, Literature, Myth, Senior Contributors, St. John's College|

“Waldzell” is the name Hermann Hesse gives to the school in a “Pedagogical Province” brought to life in the book called “The Glass Bead Game.” St. John’s College is an American school with two campuses. The features in which Waldzell is like St. John’s as well as those in which it differs are responsive; they [...]

Kant’s Imperative

By |2019-12-29T14:20:10-06:00December 29th, 2019|Categories: Culture, E.B., Ethics, Eva Brann, Immanuel Kant, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Philosophy, Reason, Senior Contributors, St. John's College, Virtue|

What makes freedom possible is beyond all knowing, but what makes the moral law possible is freedom itself. The fact that we have a faculty of freedom is the critical ground of the possibility of morality. I have called this lecture “Kant’s Imperative” so that I might begin by pointing up an ever-intriguing circumstance. Kant [...]

Some Advice to Fellow Lovers of Liberal Learning

By |2021-01-23T14:09:29-06:00December 26th, 2019|Categories: E.B., Education, Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, St. John's College|

A preliminary function of a liberal education must be to serve as a purgative, a cleansing, of those who wish to be free. By its means we can cleanse ourselves of our undigested and unconscious prejudices. When it first came home to me that I would not be a tutor at the Graduate Institute in [...]

The Enduring Legend of “Antigone”

By |2021-01-04T18:34:26-06:00December 16th, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Sophocles, St. John's College|

Greek myths have had an unbroken authority over the imagination of the West, and among them the Antigone legend is paramount in both shaping and expressing the moral constitution of Western humanity. Antigones, by George Steiner (Clarendon Press, 1984; Oxford Paperback, 1986; 328 pages) Anyone who has reread the Antigone about as often as is [...]

Love, Peace, and War in Italy: A Memoir

By |2019-12-09T21:20:32-06:00December 9th, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Europe, Eva Brann, History, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, St. John's College|

Douglas Allanbrook’s memoir, “See Naples,”  is not only a memorial to the many dead, but also an exorcism, half-a-century later, of some particular ghosts. See Naples: A Memoir of Love, Peace, and War in Italy, by Douglas Allanbrook (A Peter Davison Book, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York and Boston, 1995) Douglas Allanbrook came to St. [...]

Jacob Klein: European Scholar and American Teacher

By |2019-12-02T23:47:19-06:00December 2nd, 2019|Categories: E.B., Education, Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Jacob Klein, Meno, Plato, St. John's College|

Jacob Klein presents the model of teaching best fitting a stable community of liberal learning. He was a master of the somewhat mysterious art of leading from behind—by solicitous listening, by intimating questions, even by expectant silence. The subtitle of my talk might be “Liberal Education: Program and/or Pedagogy?” The reason is that I think of Jacob [...]

Pre-Socratics or First Philosophers?

By |2019-11-25T23:33:00-06:00November 25th, 2019|Categories: Classics, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, Heraclitus, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Philosophy, Socrates, St. John's College|

The Pre-Socratics may be thought of as deficient, lacking something, primitive in the derogatory sense. But there is also the opposite perspective: These men were not primitive, without sophistication, but primeval, deeper, more receptive to origins. Think how peculiar this appellation is: “Pre-Socratics.” A whole slew of thinkers, poetical, aphoristic, prosaic—condemned to be known as [...]

A Reading of the Gettysburg Address

By |2020-11-18T15:04:21-06:00November 18th, 2019|Categories: Abraham Lincoln, Alexis de Tocqueville, American Republic, Civil War, Declaration of Independence, E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, St. John's College|

Liberal education ought to be less a matter of becoming well-read than a matter of learning to read well, of acquiring arts of awareness, the interpretative or “trivial” arts. Some works, written by men who are productive masters of these arts, are exemplary for their interpretative application. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is such a text. Liberal [...]

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