Great Books

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

By |2019-10-01T22:13:05-06:00October 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 |2019-09-20T12:49:48-06:00September 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 |2019-10-05T09:54:55-06:00September 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 |2019-09-23T23:56:06-06:00September 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 |2019-09-22T21:27:09-06:00September 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 |2019-09-20T14:16:30-06:00September 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 [...]

Dante on Lust

By |2019-09-09T22:56:39-06:00September 9th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Dante, Great Books, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Love, Morality, Sexuality, Virtue|

It is both seemly and right to feel love and even erotic passion, but when such feelings are taken to an improper extreme or directed toward an improper object, they grow twisted and perverse and morph into the sin of lust. We will have done significant damage to ourselves. Author’s Introduction: Imagine if Homer, [...]

Image, Being, and Form in the Platonic Dialogues

By |2019-09-09T16:01:00-06:00September 9th, 2019|Categories: E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Jacob Klein, Plato, Socrates, St. John's College|

Modernity is best apprehended as being in a ruptured continuum with Greek antiquity—a continuum insofar as the terms persist, ruptured insofar as they take on new meanings and missions. That perspective makes those who hold it avid participants in the present. Jacob Klein was in the last year of his nine-year tenure as dean [...]

Dante on Virtuous Pagans

By |2019-09-03T16:27:48-06:00September 3rd, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Dante, Great Books, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Reason, Senior Contributors, Virgil, Virtue|

It was there, in the first circle of Hell, that I first understood what it meant to be a virtuous pagan. It meant to be led by the dim but true light of reason, to seek continually after the higher things, to pursue with courage and devotion a life of virtue. Author’s Introduction: Imagine [...]

What Has Athens To Do With You?

By |2019-08-12T12:29:46-06:00September 2nd, 2019|Categories: Art, Classics, Culture, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, History, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Learning, Philosophy, Plato, Senior Contributors, St. John's College|

The humanly full life is concretely local and intellectually wide, to be lived in a face-to-face community whose members can talk to each other about anything, where nothing of human interest is interdicted; where no one owns a specialty so that others have to venture opinions with the disclaimer, “Of course, that’s not my [...]