The Intrepid Soul: Why We Need the Classics and Humanities

By |2020-06-09T16:33:36-05:00June 9th, 2020|Categories: Classics, Coronavirus, Culture, Education, Humanities, Modernity|

To justify the Classics and Humanities, some have tried to argue that they remain a practical option for students, couching their praise in terms readily amenable to the outcome-focused mentalities of today’s high-achieving students. But does reducing the Classics and Humanities to a series of “practical” stepping-stones do the subjects any justice? Colleges and [...]

What Is a Classical Education?

By |2020-05-08T10:01:17-05:00May 12th, 2020|Categories: Classical Education, Classics, Culture, Education, Great Books|

When most people imagine a classical school, they probably think of a K-12 institution with a compulsory Latin curriculum focusing on grammatical analysis and close translation, an integrated approach to humanities that takes inspiration from the Great Books programs developed over the last sixty years, and some compromise with the conventional STEM-orientation in science [...]

Shakespeare and Classical Antiquity

By |2020-06-09T11:03:05-05:00April 22nd, 2020|Categories: Books, Classics, Culture, Literature, William Shakespeare|

Jonathan Bate’s wide-ranging and capacious knowledge of classical antiquity is what used to constitute the core of an education in England. That makes him an excellent guide to the territory he unveils in “How the Classics Made Shakespeare,” as he surveys the manifold ways in which Shakespeare drew upon classical sources. How the Classics [...]

The Ancient Hebrew Roots of the Christian Logos

By |2020-01-10T00:43:14-06:00January 9th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christianity, Classics, Great Books, Senior Contributors|

Though originally a Jew, St. John was clearly a Hellenized Jew who might have taken his own concepts from either the pagans or the Jews. As he describes the Incarnate Word in his Gospel, the Incarnation resembles most closely the Memra of the Jews. As I discussed in my previous essay, the Pagan Logos [...]

The Pagan Roots of the Christian Logos

By |2020-01-10T09:38:29-06:00January 7th, 2020|Categories: Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Humanism, Christianity, Cicero, Classics, Great Books, Liberal Learning, Virgil|

Any understanding of human dignity in the twenty-first century demands an understanding of the Judeo-Christian Logos (Memra in Hebrew). Without it, there is only chaos and darkness, dispiritedness and confusion, blackness and the abyss. One only has to witness the evil sown by the attempted coup against the Judeo-Christian Logos in the last century [...]

Eva Brann on Happiness and Learning

By |2020-05-06T00:22:41-05:00January 6th, 2020|Categories: Classics, Eva Brann, Happiness, Liberal Learning, St. John's College|

There is a moment in every class when students’ eyes light up, or go wide, and they have a moment where it clicks and makes sense, where you can see they are learning something that they will never forget—these are the very highlights for Eva Brann, longtime tutor at St. John's College, Annapolis. It was [...]

How to Keep From Losing Your Mind

By |2020-04-18T15:07:17-05:00December 31st, 2019|Categories: Books, Classical Education, Classics, Great Books, Liberal Learning|

In “How to Keep From Losing Your Mind,” Deal W. Hudson sets out to not merely defend—in a traditional and philosophical sense—Western thought but also to share the beauty of culture and the approach he took as he was writing, namely that of “a mounting sense of joy.” How to Keep From Losing Your [...]

Pre-Socratics or First Philosophers?

By |2019-11-25T23:33:00-06:00November 25th, 2019|Categories: Classics, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, Heraclitus, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Philosophy, Socrates, St. John's College|

The Pre-Socratics may be thought of as deficient, lacking something, primitive in the derogatory sense. But there is also the opposite perspective: These men were not primitive, without sophistication, but primeval, deeper, more receptive to origins. Think how peculiar this appellation is: “Pre-Socratics.” A whole slew of thinkers, poetical, aphoristic, prosaic—condemned to be known as [...]

What Has Athens To Do With You?

By |2019-08-12T12:29:46-05:00September 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 [...]

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 [...]

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’ [...]

Killing Socrates: The Death of a Great Books Program

By |2019-03-09T09:22:14-06:00March 8th, 2019|Categories: Classical Education, Classical Learning, Classics, Culture, Education, Great Books, Humanities, John Senior, Liberal Arts, Liberal Learning, Wyoming Catholic College|

Few people know that in the early 1970s a “great books” program, founded by John Senior and two other professors, flourished at a large state university in the midwest. Even fewer know of its slow demise. Editor’s Note: Robert Carlson was a student and friend of John Senior, one of three founders of the [...]

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