Great Books

Shakespeare and the Saints

By |2019-10-28T15:19:26-06:00October 31st, 2019|Categories: Catholicism, Christianity, Imagination, Joseph Pearce, Literature, Sainthood, Senior Contributors, William Shakespeare|

When most of us think of Shakespeare we don’t immediately connect him with the saints. We might think of the play Sir Thomas More, on which he collaborated with other contemporary playwrights and which was banned during his lifetime for its volatile pro-Catholic perspective. We might connect him with the positive portrayal of Edward [...]

The Witches of “Macbeth”: A Weyward Translation

By |2019-10-30T17:42:37-06:00October 30th, 2019|Categories: Christine Norvell, Halloween, Imagination, Literature, Senior Contributors, Tragedy, William Shakespeare|

Enter three sisters as thunder and lightning clash above. Their very presence inspires both fear and wonder of the unknown. William Shakespeare’s broad audience of commoners, merchants, and nobility all readily acknowledge their supernatural presence, the stuff of superstition. But what was Shakespeare’s intent for their appearance? What are they? Imagine a smoking cauldron [...]

Dante on the Beatific Vision

By |2019-10-29T20:47:24-06:00October 29th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Dante, Great Books, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Senior Contributors|

To achieve the Beatific Vision of Plato and his pre-Christian heirs is to move to a place of absolute serenity, removed from the passions and emotions of our world. That is not what I encountered in paradise. Far from a place of stoic calm, heaven overflowed with ecstasy and jubilation. Author’s Introduction: Imagine if [...]

Dante on Hierarchy

By |2019-10-24T14:54:04-06:00October 24th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Dante, Great Books, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Senior Contributors|

Rather than seek to create an artificial equality that violates God’s diversity of gifts, find your own unique place in the celestial hierarchy. And once you find your assigned part, take pride in it, without envying those above you in the hierarchy or condescending to those below. Author’s Introduction: Imagine if Homer, Virgil, Dante, [...]

Was Thomas Jefferson a Philosopher?

By |2019-10-25T10:03:24-06:00October 22nd, 2019|Categories: American Founding, Declaration of Independence, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Philosophy, St. John's College, Thomas Jefferson|

Thomas Jefferson is a kind of incarnate compendium of the Enlightenment. His remarkable openness to its spirit is the philosophical counterpart to his political sensitivity in making himself “a passive auditor of the opinions of others,” so as to catch the “harmonizing sentiments of the day” and to incorporate them into a document that [...]

Soul, World, and Idea: Interpreting Plato

By |2019-10-14T12:30:22-06:00October 14th, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Phaedo, Philosophy, Plato, Senior Contributors, St. John's College|

“To save the phenomena” of heavenly motions by undergirding them with rational, that is, mathematical, hypotheses—that is said to be the problem Plato set for astronomers in a passage from the “Republic” frequently referenced by Daniel Sherman. His own project is, as I understand it, the inverse one: to save the Platonic ideas by [...]

Dante on Jealousy

By |2019-10-14T22:17:54-06:00October 14th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Dante, Great Books, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Senior Contributors|

Too many of your theologians and preachers have rejected an aspect of God that is made clear in the scriptures: our God is a jealous God. And you’ve rejected it, not because you have disproved it, but because you are embarrassed by it. You simply cannot imagine that God could have anything in common with [...]

The Death of Eros & the Tragedy of Love in “Antony and Cleopatra”

By |2019-10-11T12:59:16-06:00October 10th, 2019|Categories: Imagination, Literature, Love, Paul Krause, Politics, Senior Contributors, William Shakespeare|

Antony and Cleopatra is one of the most mature of William Shakespeare’s tragedies. As such, it is arguably one of his finest and deepest works. Pride, love, and the Fall all factor into the play as much as does the contest between temporal politics and eternal love. Antony and Cleopatra are passionate and energetic [...]

The World Spins On: “The Value of Herman Melville”

By |2019-10-07T12:22:17-06:00October 9th, 2019|Categories: Fiction, Great Books, Herman Melville, Imagination, Literature|

The quest to write the Great American Novel has long been the American literary equivalent of the quest for the Holy Grail. Among the perennial roster of contenders for this legendary status, there is a strong case to be made for “Moby-Dick.” With the generosity of a patient teacher, Geoffrey Stanborn makes that case in “The [...]