Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Part 2 with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

December 26, 2017

Wandering lost in a wild land on Christmas Eve, Sir Gawain prayed, “I beg of you, O Lord, and Mary, that most merciful of mothers, and most dear, find me safe lodgings in some house, devoutly to hear Mass, and then your matins tomorrow morning. I meekly ask you, and to this purpose I promptly pray my Pater and my Ave, and Creed.”

Last week we looked at the fourteenth century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight from a literary point of view. Our college president Dr. Glenn Arbery helped us understand the story, its structure, and its context.

But the anonymous author of the tale about Sir Gawain was interested in more than telling a good story. He had a clear theological and spiritual purpose as well. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is an intensely Christian poem. To help us understand how that’s the case, our guest this week is theologian Dr. Kent Lasnoski.

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Part 1 with Dr. Glenn Arbery

December 19, 2017

It was Christmas time, and King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table gathered to celebrate the courted Camelot. Amid the merriment and mirth of New Year's Eve, a huge knight rode into the festive hall. He was clad in green armor that perfectly matched his green hair, green skin, and green horse. With him, he brought a holly branch, a huge battle ax, and a strange game.

Beginning this year, Wyoming Catholic College will select a book of the year, some work that highlights the Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts. This year's book of the year is the anonymous 14th century masterpiece, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, wrote JRR Tolkien, “Is a romance, a fairy tale for adults, full of life and color.” In this, the first of three podcasts on the poem, Dr. Glenn Arbery, president of Wyoming Catholic College introduces us to this strange tale.

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Conscience, Rights, and the Moral Imagination in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn with Dr. Virginia Arbery

December 12, 2017

December 15 is Bill of Rights Day and when we asked political philosopher, Dr. Virginia Arbery if she’d be willing to talk with us about the Bill of Rights, she said she’d be happy to talk about rights, but rather than the Bill of Rights, she suggested we discuss Mark Twain’s novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Twain’s story about the friendship and travels of Huck, a runaway boy and Jim a runaway slave explores right and wrong, freedom and bondage, conscience rightly formed and conscience poorly formed, rights and responsibilities.

Dr. Arbery is Associate Professor of Humanities at Wyoming Catholic College.

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Poetry, Praise, and “Pied Beauty” with Dr. Jason Baxter

November 21, 2017

Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, a Jesuit, was born in 1844 in Essex, England and died in 1889 in Dublin, Ireland. And while none of his poems were published during his lifetime, when they were published beginning in 1918, he was immediately heralded as one of the greatest poets of the Victorian Era.

Each year Wyoming Catholic College freshmen memorize, among other poems, Hopkin’s “Pied Beauty” and with him give thanks to God “for dappled things.”

Their enthusiastic, poetry-reciting professor is Dr. Jason Baxter who is our guest for this Thanksgiving edition of The After Dinner Scholar.

Wyoming Catholic College Poetry Anthology:

  • “To an Athlete Dying Young,” A. E. Housman
  • “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer,” John Keats
  • “God’s Grandeur,” Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • “The world is too much with us,” William Wordsworth
  • “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” Robert Frost
  • “What a piece of work is a man,” William Shakespeare
  • Sonnet 116, William Shakespeare
  • “Spring and Fall,” Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • “Pied Beauty,” Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • “Ozymandias,” Percy Shelly
  • “To Lucasta, Going to the Wars,” Richard Lovelace
  • Holy Sonnet XIV (“Batter my heart”), John Donne
  • “Love III,” George Herbert
  • General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
  • “The quality of mercy is not strained,” William Shakespeare
  • “Sonnet 94,” William Shakespeare
  • “For once then, Something,” Robert Frost
  • “The Tyger,” William Blake
  • “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” William Butler Yeats
  • “When you are old,” William Butler Yeats
  • “Because I could not stop for death,” Emily Dickinson
  • “Fire and Ice,” Robert Frost
  • “The Second Coming,” William Butler Yeats
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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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Dionysus, Apollo, and the Challenge of Deep Knowing with Dr. Thaddeus Kozinski

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.

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Plato’s “Alcibiades”: The Gateway to Philosophy with Professor Kyle Washut

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.

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Transcending Time and Space through the Study of Latin with Professor Eugene Hamilton

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.

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The Witness of the Whisky Priest: Graham Greene’s “The Power and the Glory” with Dr. Glenn Arbery

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.

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Flannery O’Connor and the Warthog from Hell with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

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.

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