Literature, Poetry, and Literary Converts with Prof. Joseph Pearce

May 15, 2018

The Wyoming Catholic College Class of 2018 graduated on Saturday, May 12. Their graduation speaker was author and scholar Joseph Pearce.

Pearce has authored more than 24 books including The Quest for Shakespeare, Tolkien: Man and Myth, The Unmasking of Oscar Wilde, C. S. Lewis and The Catholic Church, Literary Converts, Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton, Solzhenitsyn: A Soul in Exile and Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc.

Pearce is a man of books and books figure prominently into his conversion and his life. Joseph Pearce is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Dante’s Divine Comedy with Dr. Jason Baxter

April 3, 2018

Dante’s descent into Hell in Inferno, begins on Good Friday in the year 1300. He sojourns in that place of pain, despair, and noise emerging appropriately at dawn on Easter. Then in the days following Easter, he climbs Mount Purgatory and is swept up to the heights of Heaven.

Dante’s Comedy tells an amazing tale, but perhaps just the thought of tackling Dante is overwhelming. Maybe you’ve tried to read it or thumbed through only to quit discouraged. Or perhaps you read all the words, but with little real satisfaction.

What you need is a guide and Wyoming Catholic College professor Dr. Jason Baxter, after guiding many of our students through Dante has a brand new book aptly titled, A Beginner’s Guide to Dante’s Comedy. To tell us about the book, Dr. Baxter is our guest on this edition of The After Dinner Scholar.

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Falling Inward: Humanities in the Age of Technology with Dr. Jason Baxter

March 13, 2018

“I begin this book, on the humanities,” writes Wyoming Catholic College Associate Professor of Fine Arts and Humanities, Dr. Jason Baxter, “with a description of travel, because I think the experience of being immersed in a world of surprises, like I was in Ischia, and the experience of reading a ‘great book’… is fundamentally analogous.”

Dr. Baxter goes on to write that his just-released book Falling Inward: Humanities in the Age of Technology is an answer to the question, “How is the profound sense of travel like the experience of reading?” Both are fundamentally the experience he calls “falling inward.”

To discuss his book and the meaning of its title, Dr. Baxter is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

Order Dr. Baxter's book, Falling Inward from Cluny Media or Amazon.

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Restless and Rational: The Traveler’s Heart in Philosopher’s Terms with Elizabeth Meluch

March 6, 2018

“The world is a book,” wrote St. Augustine of Hippo some 1,600 years ago, “and those who do not travel read only one page.” 

The idea of reading page after page of the book of the world is not unique to St. Augustine. We are all homo viator, human travelers both in the sense that we are pilgrims in earth moving toward our eternal homes and in the sense that as embodied beings, we are naturally drawn to explore the world of places that we inhabit. Something in us wants to know what’s over the next hill and over the next hill and beyond that river.

Wyoming Catholic College senior Elizabeth Meluch certainly had a sense of that when she began writing her thesis and the accompanying oration she delivered last week on the subject of travel. Miss Meluch is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

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The Paradox of Courage with Dr. Glenn Arbery

January 30, 2018

In the book Orthodoxy, G. K. Chesterton wrote about courage: “No quality has ever so much addled the brains and tangled the definitions of merely rational sages. Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die.”

Courage is vital in facing battle, persecution or martyrdom, sickness, and death. It is central to spiritual battles and speaking the truth of the Gospel to our neighbors. Relationships with others—husband/wife, parent/child, friend and friend—often require courage. And among successful executives, managerial courage in decision making is a sought-after trait.

At the same time, the word courage is used to cover up all sorts of questionable behavior and prudence requires that we know the real thing from its counterfeits. That’s why the topic of the 2018 Wyoming School of Catholic Thought—June 10-14 here in Lander, Wyoming—is “The Paradox of Courage.”

This week to give us a foretaste of the school,  our guest is Wyoming Catholic College President Dr. Glenn Arbery.

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A Universal Language for a Universal Church with Dr. Scott Olsson

January 23, 2018

While vernacular languages will continue to be our normal way of communicating and doing business, there is something fitting about a universal Church, a Church comprising “every tribe and tongue and people and nation” having a universal language: Latin.

At Wyoming Catholic College, we invite our undergraduate students, our podcast listeners, and participants in the Wyoming School of Catholic Thought into the great conversation that is Western civilization. Since much of that conversation in the world and in the Church occurred in Latin, it makes perfect sense that we would encourage—and with our undergraduates require—Latin as a read and spoken language.

Our guest this week, Dr. Scott Olsson is Associate Professor of Mathematics and the Natural Sciences at Wyoming Catholic College. At the same time, he has an abiding passion for Latin, a passion he passes on to his students and to his children.

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Angels and Demons, Blessing and Blindness, Hope and Exile: The Book of Tobit with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

January 9, 2018

The story of Tobit takes place during the exile in Assyria. When Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian army took the people of Judah and Jerusalem into captivity, the people went with God’s promise of return. Two hundred years earlier, when the Assyrians captured Israel, that is, the Northern Kingdom, the people went into exile with no such promise or hope of returning. The so-called “ten lost tribes,” already thoroughly paganized in their religion, simply assimilated into Assyrian society.

But not Tobit. Though exiled, living in Nineveh, and working for the king, he had not apostatized like his fellow Israelites. He followed the Lord wholeheartedly and kept His commands carefully. Like Job he was brought low and like Job he finally saw his vindication.

Dr. Kent Lasnoski taught Tobit to Wyoming Catholic College freshmen during the fall semester.

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Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Part 3 with Dr. Ben Lockerd

January 2, 2018

“The answers to the errors of modern times need to be given in philosophy and theology,” wrote Dr. Benjamin Lockerd, “but it is essential that our students also experience the truth imaginatively.”

This is the third and final installment in our podcast series on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight the Wyoming Catholic College 2017-18 Book of the Year. It’s a book that highlights the Catholic intellectual tradition and the liberal arts and one we especially recommend that you read and study.

Our guest on this third podcast is Dr. Benjamin Lockerd, Professor of English at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Dr. Lockerd is a member of the Wyoming Catholic College Catholic Scholars Advisory Board.

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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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