October 17, 2017
Behind the personal conflicts in in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, says Wyoming Catholic College board member Dr Khalil Habib, the bard is making the case that “politics always swims downstream from culture.”
Just as Caesar believes that he is driving changes in Rome, so, too, Brutus, Cassius, and their fellow conspirators believe that they are driving changes by murdering him. In fact, it is the changing Roman culture that drives the events much more than the men involved. Rome changed from the days of the Republic to the eve of the Empire. Killing Caesar cannot and does not undo those changes.
In addition to being Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Pell Honors Program at Salve Regina University, Dr. Habib is a member of the Wyoming Catholic College Board of Directors and our guest on this week’s After Dinner Scholar.
October 10, 2017
“What is good?" asked Friedrich Nietzsche, "The Anti-Christ. Whatever augments the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man. What is evil? Whatever springs from weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power increases—that resistance is overcome.”
Thus it seems curious that Sean Steel, a member of the education faculty at the University of Calgary, should use Nietzschean categories--the Dionysian, the Apollonian, the anti-Dionysian--to propose a rather congenial understanding of a good education.
The Wyoming Catholic College faculty read and discussed Steel’s article “Schooling for ‘Deep Knowing’” during a recent symposium. Our Academic Dean, Dr. Thaddeus Kozinski, led our discussion and is our guest on this week’s After Dinner Scholar.
Sean Steel's article, "Schooling for 'Deep Knowing'" can be found here.
October 3, 2017
From the very beginning of Wyoming Catholic College--ten years ago--creation, nature, the outdoors, has been a crucial part of our vision of a liberal arts education.
Freshmen arrive nearly a month before classes begin for a three-week backpacking expedition—the first three weeks of their ten-week wilderness requirement for graduation. In the wilderness, they experience the wonder that comes from an encounter with God’s creation, they grow spiritually in the solitude, they form strong friendships, and learn new confidence and leadership skills.
Dr. Tom Zimmer received his Ph.D. in outdoor education from the University of Utah, has untold weeks of wilderness experience, directs the Wyoming Catholic College outdoor program, and is our guest on this After Dinner Scholar.
September 26, 2017
When The New York Journal published the text of the newly proposed United States Constitution, alongside they ran a column criticizing the constitution as aristocratic tyranny and calling for a “No” vote on ratification.
Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, quills in hand, stepped forward to defend the document. In a series of 85 newspaper columns, they not only defended the Constitution as written, but provided all the background and the logic that went into the framers’ thinking.
The result is what is known as The Federalist Papers, a book Wyoming Catholic College political philosopher Virginia Arbery has taught repeatedly and is currently teaching to our seniors.
September 19, 2017
“What do you hope to achieve by bothering me?” It’s a question many asked Socrates and in the dialogue Alcibiades, he answers the question.
Alcibiades yearns for a life in politics and is both an attractive and ambitious would-be leader of Athens. He would appear to have a great future before him, but Socrates tells him—convinces him, “You are wedded to stupidity, my good fellow, stupidity of the highest degree.” Alcibiades can’t explain the difference between justice and injustice, good and bad, advantageous and disadvantageous.
Professor Kyle Washut introduced the Wyoming Catholic College freshmen to philosophy and the value of studying philosophy with Socrates' conversation with Alcibiades. Through it they see themselves and their need for education in a new way.
September 12, 2017
In 1947, Don Giovanni Calabria read La Lettere di Berlicche, the Italian translation of C. S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters and decided to write to the book’s author. Since he knew no English and had no indication that Lewis knew Italian, Fr. Giovanni wrote in Latin, confident that Lewis, an educated man and scholar, could read and write—if not speak—Latin.
That would be a bad assumption today. Many universities and colleges gave up teaching the classics years ago.
Yet at Wyoming Catholic College, all students take Latin learning not just reading and writing, but learning how to speak and to converse in Latin. At the center of the program is Professor—or more properly Magister Eugene Hamilton. Magister is our guest on this week's After Dinner Scholar.
September 5, 2017
In her essay, “The Sovereignty of Good Over Other Concepts,” Iris Murdoch wrote, “We [humans] are what we seem to be, transient mortal creatures subject to necessity and chance. This is to say that there is, in my view, no God in the traditional sense of that term; and the traditional sense is perhaps the only sense.”
At the same time she spoke about virtue, morality, love, beauty, and the Good. Does that sound paradoxical? Dr. Thaddeus Kozinski began his junior level course on ethics here at Wyoming Catholic College by having students read and discuss Murdoch’s essay complete with paradoxes.
August 29, 2017
The great American experiment in religious liberty expressed in the words of the First Amendment to the Constitution was unprecedented in the eighteenth century, remains rare in the world today, and is under attack even in spite of the Constitution and the Western intellectual tradition that informed the Constitution.
Dr. James Tonkowich discusses religious liberty and introduces the free Wyoming Catholic College distance learning course "Religious Liberty in America."
To request your copy of the lectures, study guide, and Dr. Tonkowich's book The Liberty Threat, fill in your name and mailing address here.
August 22, 2017
Over the past week, the administration and staff at Wyoming Catholic College have met to discuss The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene. It’s an historical novel set in the 1930s in the Mexican state of Tobasco. The Catholic Church had been outlawed and churches including the cathedral were torn down. Priests were arrested as enemies of the state and promptly shot. In that setting, Greene gives us his paradoxical portrayal of service to God, love for neighbor, and holiness in the life of the last remaining Catholic priest, a character known to us only as “father’ or “the whisky priest.”
Dr. Glenn Arbery, president of Wyoming Catholic College led the discussion and is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.
August 15, 2017
Anyone who has read Flannery O’Connor’s stories knows that she was convinced that "the repugnant distortions of modern life" appeared far too natural and normal to her audience and she was quite willing to use “ever more violent means” to point that out.
Her short story “Revelation” exemplifies her dictum that “to the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost blind you draw large and startling figures.”
This summer Dr. Kent Lasnoski assigned “Revelation” to high school juniors and seniors during Wyoming Catholic College’s PEAK Program. Dr. Lasnoski is our guest on this edition of The After Dinner Scholar.