Great Books

Plato’s “Symposium”: The Drama and Trial of Eros

By |2019-07-21T22:20:01-05:00July 21st, 2019|Categories: Great Books, Love, Myth, Paul Krause, Philosophy, Plato|

Plato was a moralist. An ethicist. He was concerned with the primacy of action, of engagement, in a world that was deeply iconoclastic, barbarous, and savage. Love of wisdom allows for the creation of that space where ethical and loving life is possible. Plato’s Symposium is one of the most iconic works of literature [...]

The Moral Imagination & Imaginative Conservatism

By |2019-07-19T14:32:07-05:00July 17th, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Edmund Burke, Eva Brann, Imagination, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Jane Austen, Moral Imagination, St. John's College|

Moral imagination runs not incidentally but necessarily in tandem with a certain aspect of conservatism, what I think of as imaginative conservatism… The Moral Imagination: From Edmund Burke to Lionel Trilling, by Gertrude Himmelfarb (259 pages, Ivan R. Dee, 2006) The Moral Imagination is a very engaging collection of a dozen essays on a dozen [...]

In Defense of the Humanities

By |2019-07-14T21:32:01-05:00July 14th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Great Books, Humanities, Liberal Learning, Paul Krause, Senior Contributors, Timeless Essays|

Any talk of saving culture, or restoring culture, begins with a defense of the humanities. Any hope of cultural revival equally begins with a re-emergence of the humanities. Any hope to truly celebrate—though not uncritically—the human person rests with being drenched in the dewfall of the humanities. Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series [...]

Plutarch’s “Lives”: A Tale of Spiritual & Moral Instruction

By |2019-07-18T08:36:02-05:00July 12th, 2019|Categories: Great Books, History, Morality, Paul Krause, Plutarch, Rome, Senior Contributors|

Plutarch’s “Parallel Lives” is a profoundly spiritual and moral work, and one which calls each and every one of us to become great men and not to remain in the shadow of the great men of history who may, in fact, have been petty instead of great. Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus, better known as Plutarch, [...]

Socrates and Free Government

By |2019-07-10T15:49:10-05:00July 10th, 2019|Categories: Apology, Gleaves Whitney, History, Plato, Socrates, Stephen Tonsor series, Timeless Essays|

A free government is only sustainable if citizens can govern themselves. Socrates patiently revealed, through conversations that held a mirror up to fellow citizens, that they did not sufficiently understand such basic concepts as justice, piety, virtue, truth, and goodness when applied to themselves. Yet they presumed to govern others? Today’s offering in our [...]

Boethius on Allegory

By |2019-07-03T09:05:25-05:00July 2nd, 2019|Categories: Great Books, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Philosophy, Senior Contributors|

Though myths lack literal truth, I am convinced that they contain true wisdom that must be attended to by those who desire to grow intellectually, morally, and spiritually. How, you may ask, can I both reject and embrace the message of the myths? Author’s Introduction: Imagine if Homer, Virgil, Dante, Chaucer, and the other [...]

Cicero’s Republic: The Duty to Make Whole That Which Is Broken

By |2019-06-27T22:35:02-05:00June 27th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Cicero, Cicero's Republic Series, Civil Society, Senior Contributors|

In “On Duties,” Cicero throws down the gauntlet, defining one of the most important aspects of Western civilization: There is no greater philosophy than the discovery of what our duties are to one another, to our communities, and to our God. A divorce, the death of a beloved daughter, the absence of his only [...]

The Importance of Learning to Argue: From Ancient Greece Through the Present

By |2019-06-26T22:48:36-05:00June 26th, 2019|Categories: Civilization, Education, Great Books, Liberal Learning, Socrates, St. John's College|

Perhaps more than ever, we have a need for education of a particular kind: an education that trains one in the habits of exchanging ideas. Not a forum for the debate of settled opinions, where victory is the end, but an education that is the forge and working house of thought itself. In order [...]

The Moral Project of Nietzsche’s “Beyond Good and Evil”

By |2019-06-26T17:21:21-05:00June 26th, 2019|Categories: Education, Friedrich Nietzsche, Great Books, Morality, Philosophy|

Friedrich Nietzsche has long been smeared as a ghastly nihilist who repudiated all conceptions of morality. Critics point to the title of his famous work, Beyond Good and Evil, which appears to call for the repudiation of morality, as well as contain his vociferous condemnations of eternal moral standards. With his proclamation that “God [...]

Boethius on Fortune’s Wheel

By |2019-06-27T11:37:55-05:00June 25th, 2019|Categories: Great Books, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Philosophy, Senior Contributors|

Oh, pay heed, citizens of the twenty-first century, to Philosophy’s warning. There are many in your day who think they can control Fortune’s Wheel. They cannot. Those who reach the top of her Wheel may rejoice for a day, but sooner than they think, the Wheel shall spin and they shall accompany it in [...]

Antigone and Me

By |2019-06-19T14:42:28-05:00June 19th, 2019|Categories: Antigone, Christine Norvell, Great Books, Sophocles|

Antigone was verbally attacked by Creon for her choice, for her womanhood, and for her independent actions. Being able to withstand a barrage of abuse made Antigone’s resilience clear. My life is in no way a parallel of Antigone’s, yet thousands of years later, the virtues that rise within us by God’s grace and [...]