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St. John's College

The document entitled “To the Honorable the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, A Memorial and Remonstrance” is a jewel of republican rhetoric. Nor has this choice example of American eloquence gone without notice. And...

We turn to the Great Books so that the encounter with them might do for us what they did for past generations. We turn to them as world makers, that they might aide us in understanding the world they were instrumental in bringing about, our world...
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Publisher's Note: In this episode of a documentary series on St. John's College's most beloved tutors, Senior Contributor Dr. Eva Brann recounts how she escaped Nazi Germany and ended up at the College; her relationships with such philosophic luminaries as Jacob Klein, Seth Benardete, and Leo Strauss; and her vision...
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My title is a question: "Do you know what an odyssey is?" I am asking each of you to ask yourself: "Do I know what an odyssey is?" In learning as in traveling and, of course,...
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Dualisms: The Agons of the Modern World, by Ricardo J. Quinones (472 pages, University of Toronto Press, 2007) Dualisms stand at the very beginning of Western ways of viewing the world. Aristotle bears witness to...
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Modernity consists of perversions of notions drawn from Christianity; to be a modern means to be deeply enmeshed in them... The part of the title of this talk which I asked to have announced is "The Roots...
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It is for the soul’s health that we engage in inquiry; right action is the indirect, one might almost say, the unintended, consequence of thinking things through. Indeed, the old understanding of liberal education is that its very liberality consists in its being pursued for its own...
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There is a sickness, traditionally called melancholy, which is particularly at home in communities of learning such as ours. Its visible form can be seen in the engraving by Duerer called Melencolia Prima. Amidst the signs and symbols of...
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I'm uncertain of the joy of reading the Theban plays of Sophocles—the story is just too monstrous—but in accord with the awe. This translation conveys it... Sophocles: The Theban Plays, translated by David R. Slavitt (256 pages, Yale University Press, 2009)
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One of our most remarkable capabilities is our power of at once being and not being in a certain condition. It gives us a way to do justice both to self-avowed fictions and to other people’s truths... Our country’s three...
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Jane Austen's world is as merry as it is good. All the novels are perfect comedies—mirthful throughout and happy in outcome. Despite their brightness and lightness, these novels are in no way trivial—they are simply not concerned with those terrific follies presented to the...
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Plato's Republic: A Study by Stanley Rosen (432 pages, Yale University Press, 2008) Plato's Republic, Stanley Rosen says at the beginning of his book, is "both excessively...

Thomas Jefferson is a kind of incarnate compendium of the Enlightenment. His remarkable openness to its spirit is the philosophical counterpart to his political sensitivity in making himself "a passive auditor of the opinions of others," so as to catch the "harmonizing sentiments of the day" and...

Music pervades our lives and always has. It has taken you outside of yourselves and taken you deep within. It has been associated with things divine... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Christopher Nelson as he explores the...