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Great Books

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The ends of higher education are the acquisition of wisdom and virtue and the serious pursuit of knowledge and truth. Reading the Great Books helps us to get to these ends. Informed by the wisdom, the beauty, the goodness, and the truth we encounter in Great Books, we can...
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Have you ever wondered what a mostly adult Huckleberry Finn might have been like? Or who might pass for a modern day Huck Finn? Or what Huck might have done had he been born into money—or made...
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My title is a question: "Do you know what an odyssey is?" I am asking each of you to ask yourself: "Do I know what an odyssey is?" In learning as in traveling and, of course,...
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This is the ultimate message of Homer’s two epics: Where family is found, life is found; where family is found, true beauty is found; where family is found, piety is found; where family is dissolved, only death and destruction follows...
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Augustine is accessible and applicable because he is one of us. He suffers from the same temptations and succumbs to those temptations. He falls and does not always get up again, preferring to wallow in the gutter with his lusts and his illicit appetites. And yet, like...

In Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, a Greek war hero faces imposing challenges in his long journey home. After decimating the armies of Troy, King Odysseus sets out for Ithaca only to find himself wrestling against...
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Aristotle identified man’s eating habits as one of the cornerstones of civilization—one of two activities that highlighted the nature of man’s exquisiteness (and barbarousness). The importance of eating to the human condition should be self-evident to everyone. But what is...
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Our morally bankrupt culture sees sex as no more important, complex, or harmless than the ABCs. But it is unwise to teach the young that which is both beyond their understanding and harmful to their developing character. What American families need are educators who understand the true...
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Is it worth it to try to do great things in business or politics or art or education—or even the Church? Recently, when I was reflecting on honor and fame as praiseworthy ambitions for...
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Homeric Moments: Clues to Delight in Reading the Odyssey and the Iliad (326 pages, Paul Dry Books, 2002) "Reading Homer's poems is one of the purest, most inexhaustible pleasures life has to offer—a secret somewhat too well kept...
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The planting of trees in the orchard—the passing down of tradition, of the moral wisdom of the past, of the torch of life, and of the beauty of life’s simplest but richest and pleasures—produces the great harvest of joy that culminates in the final chapters of the...
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Should honor and fame no longer be ends of ambition in such a world? The ancient philosophers doubted the ultimate merit of fame, but they also looked for the most spirited students, those most inclined to “undertake extensive and arduous enterprises"...
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Modernity consists of perversions of notions drawn from Christianity; to be a modern means to be deeply enmeshed in them... The part of the title of this talk which I asked to have announced is "The Roots...
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Perhaps an apology might be necessary for the sheer audacity of beginning any essay with such a question and with such a seemingly absurd claim. Of course, Shakespeare cannot save civilization, at least not on his own. Perhaps we...