Cicero’s Republic: Three in One

By |2019-06-06T10:12:11-05:00May 20th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Cicero, Cicero's Republic Series, Civil Society, Government, Senior Contributors|

A republic, by its very essence, imitates the highest of creation: man endowed with understanding and free will. Yet, in this greatest of strengths also resides the deepest of weaknesses. When the people enjoy true liberty, they often fail to identify its source, admiring its effects rather than its causes. In particular, they misunderstand [...]

Cicero’s Republic: Implanted in the Nature of Man

By |2019-06-06T10:09:59-05:00May 17th, 2019|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Cicero, Cicero's Republic Series, Civil Society, Civilization, Senior Contributors|

The best society, Cicero argues, cultivates us as free individuals for the benefit of the community. Virtue exists in every being, but few realize it or cultivate it. Yet, it is what makes men, men, and allows them to be free. Usually remembered for his political triumphs and defeats as well as for his [...]

Professors Must Teach the Truth

By |2019-05-19T15:08:59-05:00May 17th, 2019|Categories: Education, Great Books, Josef Pieper, Liberal Learning, Plato, Socrates, Truth|

Only fools would send their children to school to listen to some teacher’s opinions, unless, of course, those opinions also happen to be true. Discussing St. Thomas Aquinas’s love of teaching, Josef Pieper writes: Teaching does not consist in a man’s making public talks on the results of his meditations, even if he does [...]

Virgil on Courage

By |2019-05-30T09:49:59-05:00May 14th, 2019|Categories: Aeneas, Character, Heroism, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Senior Contributors, Virgil|

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 [...]

Herman Melville’s Last Story

By |2019-05-08T10:46:01-05:00May 8th, 2019|Categories: Books, Christine Norvell, Great Books, Herman Melville, Literature|

Some would argue that Moby Dick, written at the height of his popularity, is Herman Melville’s best work. But his novella Billy Budd, written in obscurity and published twenty years after his death, just might surpass his early masterpieces for its concise portrayal of humanity. “The author is generally supposed to be dead,” writes [...]

Virgil on Tradition

By |2019-05-30T09:51:24-05:00May 7th, 2019|Categories: Aeneas, Civilization, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Senior Contributors, Tradition, Virgil, Wisdom|

Citizens of the twenty-first century, learn from us to respect and honor your traditions. You seem so fascinated with novel, untried ideas that you often overlook the wisdom of the past. If we forget that legacy, we cease to be who we are. Author’s Introduction: Imagine if Homer, Virgil, Dante, Chaucer, and the other [...]

Plato’s “Timaeus”: A Unique Universe of Discourse

By |2019-05-06T12:41:15-05:00May 6th, 2019|Categories: Books, Classics, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Learning, Philosophy, Plato, St. John's College|

Plato’s Timaeus is less a dialogue than a short tale of antiquity by Critias followed by an account of the cosmos by Timaeus, in which, the question is asked: Why is the greatest philosophical work on the cosmos framed by politics? Before reviewing Peter Kalkavage’s Focus Press translation of the Timaeus, I must, in [...]

Leviathan, Inc.: Robert Nisbet & the Modern Nation-State

By |2019-05-05T22:21:55-05:00May 5th, 2019|Categories: Alexis de Tocqueville, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Robert Nisbet, Senior Contributors, Western Civilization|

Robert Nisbet feared that modern totalitarians had succeeded in undermining the very foundations of goodness, truth, and morality. They had not only redefined liberty as power, but they had transformed the modern political state into a secular church, exchanging real religion for civic religion, creating a “New Leviathan.” Like most Americans during the Great [...]

Fit for the World

By |2019-06-06T02:33:40-05:00May 5th, 2019|Categories: Antigone, Apology, Christopher B. Nelson, Essential, Great Books, Humanities, Liberal Learning, Plato, Socrates, St. John's College|

  The mysteries of the human heart, and of the soul within you, are every bit as wondrous as the mysteries of the political and the natural worlds. And so you have asked questions of the world, in part because it is your nature to wish to know, in part because you wish to [...]

The Divine Tragedy of Achilles

By |2019-04-27T21:45:41-05:00April 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 [...]

Virgil on Furor

By |2019-05-30T09:55:33-05:00April 23rd, 2019|Categories: Aeneas, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Senior Contributors, Virgil|

Furor is the rage in the blood that turns justice into revenge and war into slaughter. Furor is the all-consuming lust that privileges private obsession over public service. Furor is the unadulterated avarice that shatters oaths and smashes kingdoms. It is the incarnate enemy of civilization; where it reigns, there can only be dissolution. Author’s [...]