Homer

Warfare in Epic Poetry

By |2019-08-11T15:38:58-05:00August 11th, 2019|Categories: Death, Great Books, Homer, Iliad, Odyssey, Timeless Essays, War|

A culture that fails to represent, or that misrepresents its wars in all their glory, gravity, and tragedy, is a weaker polity. Epic poetry, with its stark recording of the facts and feelings of war, can give cultures and communities access to the reality of warfare and inscribe its memory on the collective consciousness [...]

Homer’s “Iliad” and the Shield of Love and Strife

By |2019-08-08T09:43:26-05:00August 8th, 2019|Categories: Great Books, Greek Epic Poetry, Homer, Iliad, Literature, Love, Odyssey, Paul Krause, Senior Contributors, War|

The human characters of Homer’s grand epic, the “Iliad,” embody what Homer is driving home at with his poem: the tension between strife and love. Achilles transforms from a rage-filled and strife-filled killer to a forgiving lover touched by the very power of love. Homer’s Iliad is the defining epic of Western literature. Its [...]

From Hector to Christ

By |2019-08-09T09:58:31-05:00August 3rd, 2019|Categories: Death, Great Books, Homer, Iliad, Paul Krause|

Hector, in many ways, is the closest to Christ in the ancient pagan world of heroes, literature, and lore. Yet, he falls short of Christ as all men do—and as all pagans did. But there is something remarkably sacramental about Hector to the Christian reader; there is something about Hector that shows glimpses of [...]

Telling Lies

By |2019-06-21T12:34:08-05:00June 17th, 2019|Categories: Aristotle, E.B., Eva Brann, Friedrich Nietzsche, Homer, Iliad, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Odyssey, Plato, St. John's College|

We should learn to cultivate the unwillingness to tolerate the unwitting, untold lie in the soul, and the wit and wisdom to transmute the unavoidable lying of any utterance into the telling lies that reveal truth… The first lecture of the school year is, by an old tradition, dedicated to the freshmen among us. Whether [...]

The Divine Tragedy of Achilles

By |2019-09-03T15:08:40-05:00April 27th, 2019|Categories: Great Books, Heroism, Homer, Hope, Iliad|

The Iliad is Homer’s vehement attempt to reconcile god and man, clairvoyantly musing on how terrible and wonderful it would be if a man possessed a divine nature. As the heroes of The Iliad are slain in blood, Homer gives each of them an epitaph in poetry, that they may die not as expendable [...]

Great Books I Wouldn’t Want to Be In (And Some I Would!)

By |2019-04-26T23:13:59-05:00April 26th, 2019|Categories: Books, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Great Books, Homer, Jane Austen, Mark Twain|

It is interesting that at least half the great books I considered for this list were stories I would not want to enter, but loved reading. Literature allows us to gain a breadth of experience our own circumstances would not permit and at very little expense to us… If there’s something book lovers like [...]

The Wonders of the “Odyssey”

By |2019-09-19T13:10:10-05:00April 22nd, 2019|Categories: Classics, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, Homer, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Odyssey, St. John's College|

The “Odyssey” is a wondrous poem. Joe Sachs’ Afterword to his translation is a thought-inducing meditation on wonder, on Homer’s imaginatively and artfully conceived wonders and on Homer’s people, who are—above all, Odysseus—open to wondering and to its ensuing wisdom… the Odyssey by Homer, translated by Joe Sachs (Paul Dry Books: Philadelphia 2014) Joe Sachs’ [...]

Homer on Hospitality

By |2019-05-30T09:48:26-05:00February 19th, 2019|Categories: Great Books, Homer, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series|

Author's Introduction: Imagine if Homer, Virgil, Dante, Chaucer, and the other great poets of ancient Greece, Rome, and the Middle Ages had been given the gift, not only to peer into the twenty-first century, but to correspond with us who live in that most confusing and rudderless of centuries. Had it been in their power [...]

Homer on Story-Telling

By |2019-05-30T10:14:38-05:00February 5th, 2019|Categories: Homer, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series|

I have read your books, and I have discovered that many of you believe that people are products of their environment. How can you believe such things, and yet deny altogether the influence of the past? Nature may give us robust health or leave us scarred, but her traces upon us are minor things compared [...]

Odysseus: Patron Hero of the Liberal Arts

By |2019-02-25T14:28:17-05:00February 4th, 2019|Categories: Audio/Video, Classics, E.B., Education, Eva Brann, Great Books, Homer, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, Odyssey, St. John's College|

Odysseus has the art we need. I think he came by it through a rare combination of acutely honed cleverness and deep-souled imagination; we can acquire it by education. This art, the art of discovering significance, is the art of interpretation... I am to write about my hero Odysseus and to connect him to Liberal [...]

Liberal Education and the “Much-Enduring” Odysseus

By |2019-01-25T08:46:09-05:00January 19th, 2019|Categories: Great Books, Homer, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, Literature, Odyssey, St. John's College, Wisdom|

The epithet “much-enduring” is often associated with moments when we see the interplay between Odysseus’ self-knowledge and his ability to use his experience to judge and adapt himself to circumstances; between his enduring self and purpose, and the many-ness of his schemes and courses of action... Editor’s Note: This essay is part of a series [...]