Virgil on Pietas

By |2019-04-16T22:08:10-05:00April 16th, 2019|

I’m glad to see that your age has not forgotten Rome. But please, children of the future, do not think that Rome was only a city or an empire or a people. She was also an idea, the noblest idea the world has ever known. And behind that idea was a single word: pietas. [...]

The Classics and Christianity

By |2019-01-11T15:44:57-05:00January 11th, 2019|

Christians invented the classical curriculum; it is as much part of the broader Western inheritance as it is specifically part of the Christian inheritance… Why study old books? How do dusty old books written by dead men and women thousands of years ago grow my faith? Such can be common thoughts when the Christian [...]

Love, Ancient and Modern

By |2018-12-08T21:36:00-05:00December 8th, 2018|

“Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy.” The opening words to Homer’s Odyssey are among the most famous and recognizable in Western literature. That beginning stanza captures so much of the human condition and [...]

Earning the Tradition

By |2019-04-11T11:26:34-05:00February 7th, 2018|

Tradition in action gives rise to new work, and the new work changes the tradition… At a gathering of Wyoming Catholic College faculty and staff on Monday morning, I had occasion to mention T.S. Eliot’s seminal essay “Tradition and the Individual Talent.” Eliot still had an overwhelming ascendancy in literary circles even in the 1960s and [...]

Did It Have To Be Dido?

By |2019-03-05T14:52:22-05:00January 23rd, 2018|

In Virgil’s Aeneid, the strongest and most admirable characters like Aeneas and Turnus are seen as ideals of patriotism and courage. At times though, their stories are momentarily superseded by interactions with a minor character. These subplots often serve to deepen our understanding of the main characters, but in turn bring a new character [...]

Reflections on Christ and the Classics

By |2019-01-03T15:48:07-05:00January 20th, 2018|

In a certain way, Christ is both priest and offering, a self-sacrifice transcending both concepts. This is something the classical world found disquieting… The extent to which the pagan classical world and Christianity are able to tell a common story has had an uneven history. In late antiquity, the Church Fathers were reluctant disciples [...]

“The Last Jedi” and the End of Heroism

By |2018-01-05T13:45:53-05:00January 4th, 2018|

The Last Jedi seems intent on burning down the archetypes of the heroic past. When the hero fails to be a hero, and furthermore denies his own status as a hero, what is the rationality behind such postmodern disenchantment?… Moviegoers have loudly lamented the Luke Skywalker they encountered in Rian Johnson’s newest episode of the [...]

Augustine: A Saint for Eternity

By |2018-11-05T00:49:38-05:00August 27th, 2017|

Augustine passed on to us, and all posterity, prescient words of wisdom: that even in the most disconcerting and dark of times, beauty, compassion, truth, love, and happiness abound… When the Visigoths sacked Rome in 410, the city that had taken the world captive had fallen into captivity. The event was a transformative moment [...]

Enchantment, Realism, and the Imagination

By |2018-11-19T20:36:58-05:00August 5th, 2017|

Longing for the enchanted world underlies the poetic imagination, but it’s the light of common day that we inhabit, thus we should value realism in the imaginative realm… One of the themes of frequent discussion at Wyoming Catholic College is Charles Taylor’s idea of disenchantment—the disappearance in modern times of an “enchanted” relation to [...]

Clash of Civilizations: Greece or Rome?

By |2019-03-05T14:31:13-05:00July 14th, 2017|

Join Boris Johnson, Britain's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and Mary Beard, professor of classics at the University of Cambridge, as they debate the significance of the world's most timeless civilizations: Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Mr. Johnson defends the culture, art, and philosophy of Ancient Greece, while Dr. Beard argues for the supremacy [...]

Leaving Providence College: A Window Shuts, A Door Opens

By |2017-05-13T10:39:36-05:00May 13th, 2017|

I am too old to want to spend the evening of my career trying to shore up a crumbling wall, when those who are in authority at the college are unwilling to listen to our pleas. No, I’d prefer to be in on building something exciting for the Church and for sheer ordinary humanity… Sometimes [...]

An American Augustan Age of Literature

By |2016-12-08T10:56:00-05:00October 19th, 2016|

The Augustan Age refers to a time period broadly revolving around the restoration of order (if not necessarily liberty) at the end of the Roman republic and the beginning of the empire—roughly 50BC to 120AD. Many scholars label it the “Silver Age of Roman Literature.” Every one of the authors listed below held numerous [...]

The Social Message of Social Media

By |2018-10-29T16:35:34-05:00August 19th, 2016|

In the first chapter of Understanding Media (1964), called “The Medium is the Message,” Marshall McLuhan begins the book by explaining his most famous aphorism. Over time, the proposition has acquired the status of a cliché, such that its original meaning and intent can become obscured. But as W. Terrence Gordon, the editor of the [...]

The World of the Poet

By |2018-10-30T14:54:11-05:00June 17th, 2016|

Man, it is often said, cannot jump over his own shadow. The poet—and by “poet” I mean a writer of imaginative works in verse or prose—leaps over the universe… Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper et in saecula saeculorum. I We not only read a novel, we enter into its created world. [...]