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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Twentieth century philosopher of history, R. G. Collingwood said that the study of history was in essence “an attempt to understand the present by reconstructing its determining conditions.” And thus it has been since the beginning of the writing of history with the author often called “The Father of History,” the ancient Greek historian Herodotus.
At Wyoming Catholic College, student's read Herodotus' sprawling account of the war between the Greeks and the Persians with Dr. Virginia Arbery, Associate Professor of Humanities. Dr. Arbery is this week's podcast guest.
N. B.: The transcript of Niall Ferguson's speech "The Decline and Fall of History" is available here.