Eva Brann

Jacob Klein: European Scholar and American Teacher

By |2019-12-02T23:47:19-06:00December 2nd, 2019|Categories: E.B., Education, Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Jacob Klein, Meno, Plato, St. John's College|

Jacob Klein presents the model of teaching best fitting a stable community of liberal learning. He was a master of the somewhat mysterious art of leading from behind—by solicitous listening, by intimating questions, even by expectant silence. The subtitle of my talk might be “Liberal Education: Program and/or Pedagogy?” The reason is that I think of [...]

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 [...]

A Reading of the Gettysburg Address

By |2019-11-18T22:03:18-06:00November 18th, 2019|Categories: Abraham Lincoln, Alexis de Tocqueville, American Republic, Civil War, Declaration of Independence, E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, St. John's College|

Liberal education ought to be less a matter of becoming well-read than a matter of learning to read well, of acquiring arts of awareness, the interpretative or “trivial” arts. Some works, written by men who are productive masters of these arts, are exemplary for their interpretative application. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is such a text. [...]

Understanding Hegel’s Theory on Time

By |2019-11-05T00:36:59-06:00November 4th, 2019|Categories: E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Liberal Learning, Nature, Order, Philosophy, St. John's College, Time|

Time, it will turn out, is a kind of intuiting, indeed the matrix of all intuiting, but it is not therefore to be intuited, that is, looked at, rather than thought out. The moving pictures that Hegel himself suggests to illustrate the emerging determinations of thought are only concessions to our ordinarily representational minds. This [...]

A Suitable Boy

By |2019-10-29T01:03:31-06:00October 28th, 2019|Categories: Books, Community, E.B., Eva Brann, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, St. John's College|

One of the qualities that makes ”Vikram Seth’s “A Suitable Boy” so engaging a work is involvement. I mean that each of the cast of characters is involved with all the others, in series or in parallel, in accordance with the recognized register of traditional and contemporary relationships. A Suitable Boy: A Novel, by [...]

Was Thomas Jefferson a Philosopher?

By |2019-10-25T10:03:24-06:00October 22nd, 2019|Categories: American Founding, Declaration of Independence, E.B., Eva Brann, Great Books, In Honor of Eva Brann at 90 Series, Philosophy, St. John's College, Thomas Jefferson|

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 to incorporate them into a document that [...]

Soul, World, and Idea: Interpreting Plato

By |2019-10-14T12:30:22-06:00October 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 |2019-09-30T15:15:09-06:00September 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 |2019-09-23T23:56:06-06:00September 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 [...]

Understanding Imagination

By |2019-09-18T21:54:46-06:00September 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 |2019-09-09T16:01:00-06:00September 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 [...]

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 [...]