St. John’s College

Soul, World, and Idea: Interpreting Plato

By |2019-10-14T12:30:22-05:00October 14th, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Phaedo, Philosophy, Plato, Senior Contributors, St. John's College|

“To save the phenomena” of heavenly motions by undergirding them with rational, that is, mathematical, hypotheses—that is said to be the problem Plato set for astronomers in a passage from the “Republic” frequently referenced by Daniel Sherman. His own project is, as I understand it, the inverse one: to save the Platonic ideas by [...]

Visions of a Botanist: Explorations & Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest

By |2019-09-30T15:15:09-05:00September 30th, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Science, St. John's College, Western Civilization|

In Wade Davis’ “One River,” every issue that a sound-minded person most cares about is joined under a novel aspect: sanity and the way to illumination, visibility and the manifestations of the divine realm, physicality and the gateway to transcendence. One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rain Forest, by Wade Davis (New [...]

The “Eumenides” of Aeschylus: Whole-Hearted Patriotism & Moderated Modernity

By |2019-09-23T23:56:06-05:00September 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 [...]

Understanding Imagination

By |2019-09-18T21:54:46-05:00September 18th, 2019|Categories: Books, E.B., Eva Brann, Imagination, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Science, St. John's College|

There is in our world a strong strain of relentless reductionism and blind rationalism whose inevitable complements are mechanical creativity-mongering and thoughtless image-proliferation. One antidote would be a revivified attention to the reason of images. Understanding Imagination, by Dennis L. Sepper (546 pages, Springer, 2013) When Professor Rosemann invited me to this colloquium—small in [...]

Image, Being, and Form in the Platonic Dialogues

By |2019-09-09T16:01:00-05:00September 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 [...]

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 [...]

The Ecstasy of Love

By |2019-08-26T21:23:06-05:00August 26th, 2019|Categories: Aristotle, Books, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Philosophy, Plato, Senior Contributors, St. John's College|

Stewart Umphrey’s “Complexity and Analysis” presents a sober analysis of ways of going beyond oneself, especially in love; its conclusion presents the union of integrity with transcendence in the “sober madness of philosophy.” His careful descriptions and distinctions trace out incompleteness as a human condition. Those of our alumni who had really good Republic [...]

Converting the Cosmos of the Mind

By |2019-08-19T22:06:59-05:00August 19th, 2019|Categories: E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Plato, Quotation, Senior Contributors, Socrates, St. John's College|

At every moment of this present life, our readiness to learn was, and is now, up to us, was and is our responsibility, and on every day our life breaks around the before and after of a life-changing choice… though all the past choices ease or obstruct the present one. Our cosmos, the place [...]

Socrates on Statesmanship: The Actual Intention

By |2019-07-18T13:46:22-05:00August 12th, 2019|Categories: Civil Society, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Learning, Philosophy, Plato, Politics, Senior Contributors, Socrates, St. John's College|

Statesmanship is the craft of setting up a civic framework, a loom upon which the citizens of various temperaments, here the warp and woof, are interwoven into a cloak-like texture, which represents at once the body politic and its protective cover, as if to say that a well-interlaced citizenry will wrap itself in its own [...]

Mental Imagery

By |2019-07-29T10:53:04-05:00July 29th, 2019|Categories: E.B., Eva Brann, Imagination, Immanuel Kant, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Learning, Philosophy, Science, Senior Contributors, St. John's College|

As Immanuel Kant says, the imagination is “a hidden art in the depth of the human soul.” It is a faculty which presupposes that somehow or other two worlds of objects are present to us, one of which seems to us to be outside, the other inside ourselves. The imagination is a puzzle not [...]

The Past-Present

By |2019-07-18T12:54:06-05:00July 22nd, 2019|Categories: E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, History, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Learning, Senior Contributors, St. John's College, Time, Tradition|

The past is, indeed, a place in which to take refuge when it is necessary to pull back, to contemplate life, and to mull things over. The present is the phase for brisk deliberation, decision, and action; for being in that sleepwalking state in which we do, more or less surefootedly, the one thing [...]

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 [...]

We Hold These Truths: Thoughts on the U.S. Constitution

By |2019-07-15T14:52:17-05:00July 15th, 2019|Categories: Audio/Video, Constitution, St. John's College|

Editor's Note: What is the duty of government? What are the rights of man in a civilized society? What is the purpose of law? Mortimer Adler, scholar of, and advocate for, the Great Books, attempts to answer these questions and more in the following interview. Interposed with scenes of discussion from a seminar conducted at [...]