Great Books

Soul, World, and Idea: Interpreting Plato

By |2019-10-14T12:30:22-05:00October 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 |2019-10-14T22:17:54-05:00October 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 |2019-10-11T12:59:16-05:00October 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 |2019-10-07T12:22:17-05:00October 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 [...]

The Shield of Aeneas: Memory and History in Virgil’s “Aeneid”

By |2019-10-01T22:13:05-05:00October 1st, 2019|Categories: Aeneas, Aeneid, Civilization, Conservatism, Great Books, History, Paul Krause, Senior Contributors, Virgil, Western Civilization|

The “Aeneid” was only possible because the Roman people had the memory and consciousness to make it possible. It is up to us to ensure that its living well of memory doesn’t dry up. Without it, the “Aeneid” will pass into the dustbin of history like the corpses of Priam and Pompey. The grandest [...]

Dante on Gifts

By |2019-09-20T12:49:48-05:00September 24th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Dante, Great Books, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Senior Contributors|

Not only has your age been graced with many gifts and talents; you have been showered with a wealth of instruments and opportunities for the doing of good. Nevertheless, in the midst of plenty, you continue to bury them under the ground rather than invest them in and for God’s Kingdom. You must relearn [...]

From Pagan Heroism to Christian Alliance: Tolkien’s “Beowulf”

By |2019-10-05T09:54:55-05:00September 24th, 2019|Categories: Beowulf, Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Great Books, J.R.R. Tolkien, Myth, Poetry, Senior Contributors|

J.R.R. Tolkien argued that while Christianity gave the heroes a new point upon which to focus, the enemies of the heathen gods remained, too, the enemies of the Christian God. Beowulf, by challenging all that is spawned in Hell, has, by default, become the ally of all that destined to Heaven. Inducted into the [...]

The “Eumenides” of Aeschylus: Whole-Hearted Patriotism & Moderated Modernity

By |2019-09-23T23:56:06-05:00September 23rd, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Literature, St. John's College|

Aeschylus’ Eumenides is a play about an institutional innovation and a paean to the goddess of the city. It is an account of the origin of Athens’ Supreme Court and a love poem to Athena and her people and places. This poet, however, loves for cause and with a thoughtful passion. This people, the [...]

Russell Kirk’s Unfinished Justice

By |2019-09-22T21:27:09-05:00September 22nd, 2019|Categories: Aristotle, Bradley J. Birzer, Conservatism, History, Plato, Russell Kirk, Senior Contributors, Timeless Essays|

Russell Kirk thought that because justice is rooted in nature and because in its perfection transcends all time and space, one can innately observe virtue in the actions of wise men. Such observation of those we admire might be the best teacher in our current day, serving as a reminder of what has always [...]

Dante on Sin

By |2019-09-20T14:16:30-05:00September 17th, 2019|Categories: Dante, Great Books, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Senior Contributors|

In our mortal lives, we can often hide the desiccated state of our souls from others; in the afterlife, we can no longer hide from others what we truly are inside. Let go of your rebelliousness and disobedience, my friends, before it is too late, before you find yourself circling the path of futility. Author’s [...]