About Peter Kalkavage

Peter Kalkavage has been a tutor at St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, since 1977. He is director of the St. John’s Chorus. Dr. Kalkavage is the author of The Logic of Desire: An Introduction to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, and has produced editions of Plato’s Timaeus, Phaedo, Statesman, and Symposium for Focus Philosophical Library. He is also author of two texts that have been used in the St. John’s music program, On the Measurement of Tones and Elements: A Workbook for Freshman Music.

On Nature and Grace: The Role of Reason in the Life of Faith

By |2021-05-05T16:26:22-05:00August 3rd, 2014|Categories: Christianity, Essential, Faith, Nature, Peter Kalkavage, St. John's College, St. Thomas Aquinas|

We may say that the world for Thomas Aquinas does not merely have but is blessed with intelligibility, just as man is blessed with reason. Nature’s beauty is not confined to the senses but extends to the mind. “Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has [...]

The Musical Universe and Mozart’s “Magic Flute”

By |2020-07-29T16:00:13-05:00October 19th, 2013|Categories: Music, Peter Kalkavage, St. John's College, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart|

“The Magic Flute” has been called Mozart’s “Masonic opera,” and so it is. Mozart was a serious Freemason. But the Masonic influence is of secondary importance to the power and precision of Mozart’s music, which, like all great music, is inexhaustible. Every act of listening to this work brings new discoveries. “Feelings are ‘vectors’; for [...]

Plato’s Timaeus and the Will to Order

By |2021-02-09T16:34:37-06:00July 27th, 2012|Categories: Books, Classics, Featured, Peter Kalkavage, Philosophy, Plato, Socrates, St. John's College|

Plato, through the drama of the “Timaeus” reminds us of the dangers of being human as well as the dangers of philosophy. Danger and safety, perhaps the most central terms of the Platonic dramas, become central because of Plato’s care for what we do and what we suffer. And whoever thinks another a greater friend [...]

Winged Words: Reading & Discussing Great Books

By |2021-05-24T12:08:32-05:00July 11th, 2012|Categories: Books, Great Books, Liberal Learning, Peter Kalkavage, St. John's College|

St. John’s College and the Great Books Program here at Mercer University have much in common. Both programs revolve around a set of great works of Western civilization. In both programs these works are approached through discussion rather than lecture. In both, students are encouraged to learn from one another rather than engage in one-upmanship [...]

The Neglected Muse: Why Music Is an Essential Liberal Art

By |2021-02-09T16:00:03-06:00March 22nd, 2012|Categories: Liberal Learning, Music, Peter Kalkavage, St. John's College|

Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul. –Plato Music transcends the classroom, the concert stage, and professional recordings. It pervades life. Mankind has long used music in all sorts of ways, to celebrate, to lament, to dance, to pray, to soothe or arouse, to woo, to infuse courage and [...]

Music in the Modern Age

By |2021-05-24T12:41:38-05:00March 3rd, 2012|Categories: Books, Culture, Music, Peter Kalkavage, St. John's College|Tags: , |

Surprised by Beauty: A Listener’s Guide to the Recovery of Modern Music, Robert R. Reilly, Washington, D. C.: Morley Books, 2002. In his generous and beautifully written book, Robert Reilly leads us through the vast, largely unknown territory of twentieth-century music. The title recalls C. S. Lewis’s Surprised by Joy and the poem of the [...]

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