Gritty Stones, Civilizational Mission, and History: Reflections on the Life of Stephen Tonsor with Dr. Gleaves Whitney

November 7, 2017

In 1984, when a young Gleaves Whitney journeyed from his home in Colorado to graduate school at the University of Michigan, it was with some trepidation. His doctoral advisor, according to a friend, “can be a mite prickly and doesn’t suffer fools gladly.”

Dr. Whitney’s advisor was historian Stephen Tonsor. Tonsor—a faithful Catholic with a strong belief in truth and a decidedly conservative political philosophy—seemed out of place at Michigan where he taught for nearly forty years. Yet his academic excellence, his brilliant mind, and his strong Christian character changed the lives of many of his students including Dr. Whitney.

Dr. Gleaves Whitney is Director of The Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University, a member of Wyoming Catholic College’s Catholic Scholars Advisory Board, and our guest on The After Dinner Scholar.

The book Dr. Whitney recommends in the podcast is Equality, Decadence and Modernity: The Collected Essays of Stephen J. Tonsor edited by Gregory L. Schneider.

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Shakespeare, Caesar, Culture, and Politics with Dr. Khalil Habib

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.

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Hamilton, Madison, and Jay: Exploring “The Federalist Papers” with Dr. Virginia Arbery

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.

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Religious Liberty in America with Dr. James Tonkowich

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.

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The Puritans, the Exodus, and the American Experience with Dr. Virginia Arbery

August 1, 2017

Who are we as Americans? Dr. Virginia Arbery, Associate Professor of Humanities at Wyoming Catholic College points out that the New England Puritan self-understanding is the root of our American self-understanding. Their sense of an exodus from England with a new beginning in the New World to found “A City on a Hill,” a New Jerusalem, remains with us today. Dr. Virginia Arbery is our guest on this edition of The After Dinner Scholar.

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Lecture: The Exodus and America by Dr. Virginia Arbery

August 1, 2017

That imagery of the Exodus goes far beyond Moses leading the people of Israel in about 1446 BC. It was alive and well on the shores of New England in 1630 and remains with us today as what Wyoming Catholic College professor Dr. Virginia Arbery calls “the root of American self-understanding.”

Dr. Arbery spoke about the New England Puritans and the imagery of the Exodus at the Wyoming School of Catholic Thought this past June. Here is her lecture in its entirety.

The documents Dr. Arbery cites in her lecture are: The Mayflower Compact, "A Model of Christian Charity" by Governor John Winthrop and The Life of William Bradford and The Life of John Winthrop both from Cotton Mather's Magnalia Christi Americana

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Returning from Exile: Egypt, the Wilderness, and the Promised Land with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

July 4, 2017

Throughout the Old Testament, there’s a familiar refrain: Remember. “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you from there.” 

The Exodus—God’s saving work among the Israelites whereby He brought them from slavery, through the Red Sea, across the wilderness, and into the Promised Land of Canaan—is the primary and paradigmatic act of salvation in the Old Testament and the event the New Testament writers looked to in order to understand faith in Jesus.

Bible scholar and Wyoming Catholic College professor Dr. Jeremy Holmes discusses how the Exodus as critical to understanding how we as Christians return from exile.

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Lecture: Moses and Israel: From Exile to Freedom by Dr. Jeremy Holmes

July 4, 2017

Reflecting on the death of Moses, the writer of the 34th chapter of Deuteronomy said, “Since then, no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, who did all those signs and wonders the Lord sent him to do in Egypt—to Pharaoh and to all his officials and to his whole land.  For no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.”

At the 2017 Wyoming School of Catholic Thought, Bible scholar and Wyoming Catholic College professor Jeremy Holmes reflected on how the Exodus from Egypt to the Promised Land and the life of Moses illustrate the theme of Returning from Exile. Here is his lecture in its entirety.

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And Justice for All: Plato’s Republic with Dr. Virginia Arbery

May 30, 2017

Politics had become a mess as politicians and their constituents gave up seeking the common good for seeking more goods for themselves and their friends. Rampant individualism was the rule of the day and justice, if mentioned at all, was merely a pretext for self-seeking.

Against that backdrop of a decaying political culture, Plato wrote The Republic. In it Socrates challenged the prevailing notions of justice and described what he viewed as true justice in individuals and in society.

Dr. Virginia Arbery, Associate Professor of Humanities at Wyoming Catholic College holds a doctorate in Political Philosophy from The University of Dallas. She has a great love for The Republic, happily sharing the book with her students and with us.

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Take Up and Read: St. Augustine’s On Christian Doctrine with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

May 2, 2017

In On Christian Doctrine, St. Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430) offers a guide for interpreting and expounding Scripture. “There are certain precepts for treating the Scriptures,” he wrote, “which I think may not inconveniently be transmitted to students, so that they may profit not only from reading the work of expositors, but also in their own explanations of the sacred writings to others.”

That is, he produced a practical guide with rules for interpreting the Bible and for explaining the Bible to other people.

Freshmen at Wyoming Catholic College have been reading On Christian Doctrine and their professor, Dr. Kent Lasnoski who is our guest on this podcast.

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