The After Dinner Scholar
The Constitution, Philosophy, and Pope John Paul II with Judge Leon Holmes

The Constitution, Philosophy, and Pope John Paul II with Judge Leon Holmes

September 29, 2020

In an op-ed column in USAToday last week, Wyoming Catholic College senior Anthony Jones wrote: “I gathered with the entire student body of Wyoming Catholic College on Sept. 17, 2019, for a mandatory celebration of Constitution Day. We began with the Pledge of Allegiance, witnessed a lively panel discussion between professors on the history and modern relevance of America’s founding principles, and concluded by singing patriotic songs.”

Anthony Jones went on, “If you are a student at a typical American university, that description probably sounds foreign to anything you have experienced. Anti-Americanism has spread across college campuses like a wildfire, igniting rage and resentment against anything perceived as oppressive — even the American flag. As a result, most universities would likely shy away from a celebration of our nation’s founding in favor of more ‘inclusive’ events.”

On September 17 of this year, Anthony along with the rest of the student body of Wyoming Catholic College as well as faculty and staff gathered to celebrate Constitution Day 2020.

This year we heard from retired federal judge, Dr. Leon Holmes. Judge Holmes received his PhD in political science from Duke University and his JD from the University of Arkansas School of Law. He served sixteen years on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. Retiring from the court earlier this year, Judge Holmes is a visiting professor this fall at Wyoming Catholic College.

The Founding of Rome and the Question of Honor with Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos

The Founding of Rome and the Question of Honor with Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos

September 22, 2020

It’s a word we don’t hear very often these days, but one that was of utmost importance to our ancestors—actual and figurative. In fact, they couldn’t live without it. The word is “honor.”

Ancient Romans practiced a timocratic—that is, an honor-loving—way of life. The Roman historian Livy in particular highlights the great deeds done for the honor of the city and for personal honor as well as the heinous and dishonorable crimes of, for example, the early kings of Rome—crimes that led to their downfall and exile.

Wyoming Catholic College sophomores have been reading Livy with Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos. In this interview, Dr. Papadopoulos begins by responding to one of his own paper prompts.

Pericles and the Golden Age of Athens with Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos

Pericles and the Golden Age of Athens with Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos

July 7, 2020

The Greeks finally defeated the Persian Empire in about 448 BC. When that war ended, the Athenians began to build an empire leading to a new war this one with their former allies. Central to the empire building and beginnings of the Peloponnesian War was the statesman Pericles.

During the first of our two two-week-long PEAK programs for high school students, Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos taught a course about Pericles. His story is told by Thucydides in The Peloponnesian War and by Plutarch in Lives.

In the last of the speeches Pericles delivers in Thucydides’ account, Pericles tells an angry crowd, “And yet if you are angry with me, it is with one who, as I believe, is second to no man either in knowledge of the proper policy, or in the ability to expound it, and who is moreover not only a patriot but an honest one.” Was he really as good as all that? Was the age of Pericles truly the golden age of Athens?

Religious Freedom Today by Dr. Jim Tonkowich

Religious Freedom Today by Dr. Jim Tonkowich

February 11, 2020

There’s been a great deal of concern about religious freedom over the past ten or so years and for good reason. Religious freedom is central to all human freedom. But the conversation about religious freedom involves two highly controversial words. Those words are “religious” and “freedom.”

In January Dr. Jim Tonkowich had the privilege of speaking about religious freedom to the Wyoming Pastors’ Network as they met on the day before the March for Life in Cheyenne. They are concerned about the future of religious freedom in our country particularly as the culture’s understanding and our laws concerning human sexuality, marriage, and morality continue to veer away from and even be at odds with biblical and Church teachings.

After covering the history of religious freedom, Dr. Tonkowich moved on to those two controversial words: Religion and Freedom.

Recordings of Dr. Tonkowich's three lectures can be found at The Wyoming Pastors' Network website

"Religious Freedom in America," Wyoming Catholic College's 12-part distance learning course can be found at the college website.

Hobbes, Locke, Political Philosophy and the American Founding with Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos

Hobbes, Locke, Political Philosophy and the American Founding with Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos

October 1, 2019

“Ready, fire, aim,” we tell our children,” is no way to live.” Careful thought comes first whether you’re hunting, choosing a college, building a birdhouse, or writing a constitution for a new republic.

What kind of government will allow human beings the greatest freedom to flourish? To answer that question, we first need to ask about the nature of human beings and second we need to ask about the nature of freedom.

And while the answers to those questions may seem obvious, they are far from it. They require careful questioning and reasoning.

The American founders lived in an age where questions about what it means to be human and about the definition of freedom were hotly debated and nowhere more so than by Thomas Hobbes and John Locke.

At Wyoming Catholic Colleges’ Constitution Day assembly, political philosopher Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos discussed Hobbes and Locke, their similarities, differences, and the way each influenced the American founding.

Medieval Manuscripts and the Movement of the Heavens with Dr. Henry Zapeda

Medieval Manuscripts and the Movement of the Heavens with Dr. Henry Zapeda

September 24, 2019

“Everybody knows,” said the US senator at a Senate hearing I attended, “that before Columbus everybody was sure that the world was flat.” 

Regardless of what the senator believes, you’d have to go back a long, long, long time before Columbus to find people who believed the world was flat. In fact, back in about 240 BC not only was it well known that the earth was a ball, but they had managed to calculate its circumference.

And by AD 150, Claudius Ptolemy created his geocentric model of the universe, a model that held sway for 1,500 years until Nicolaus Copernicus and others placed the sun rather than the earth at the center of things.

In that 1,200 years Ptolemy’s treatise, Almagest, was copied over and over. In addition, scholars wrote numerous commentaries on the work.

All of which fascinates Wyoming Catholic College’s Dr. Henry Zepeda who has a particular interested in the way medieval scholars understood the mathematical sciences that they inherited from the Greeks and Arabs. He has spent much of his adult life reading medieval manuscripts in libraries across the United States and Europe and spent this past summer in Kansas City immersed in medieval manuscripts.

The Medieval Mind of C. S. Lewis with Dr. Jason Baxter

The Medieval Mind of C. S. Lewis with Dr. Jason Baxter

February 5, 2019

Before C. S. Lewis was a novelist, spiritual writer, or Christian apologist, he was a scholar. Lewis served as a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University from 1925 until 1954 when he was made Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University. That is Lewis’ primary calling was as a university professor and literary scholar.

His scholarly studies influenced all of Lewis’ writings from Narnia to the Space Trilogy from Screwtape to “The Weight of Glory” from The Abolition of Man to The Great Divorce and Till We Have Faces. Lewis’ popular books while speaking forcefully to our modern era are Medieval to the core.

Wyoming Catholic College Academic Dean Dr. Jason Baxter is, like Lewis, a student and scholar of Medieval and Renaissance literature. He has for years been reading over Lewis’s shoulder, studying the same books and authors.

This winter Dr. Baxter will be teaching a free distance learning course on “The Medieval Mind of C. S. Lewis.” To register, visit our website.

Old Testament Judges and Kings and the Question of Centralization with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

Old Testament Judges and Kings and the Question of Centralization with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

November 13, 2018

“And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them, who did not know the Lord or the work which he had done for Israel.” (Judges 2:10)

When Israel entered the Promised Land, Joshua was the clear commander and leader of the people. Then he and his generation died. It was a generation that, as a friend used to say, forgot to make disciples. The memory of the Exodus and of the Lord God faded and, well, disaster was the result.

Enemies came to oppress Israel. In their pain they called out to the Lord who, because he is faithful, heard and answered by sending a judge to deliver them. Then, when the judge died, the cycle began all over again.

Dr. Jeremy Holmes and I have been team teaching freshman theology, a course that surveys the history of Israel in the Old Testament. Our classes that reflected on the judges and the subsequent anointing of a king over Israel got us thinking. Dr. Holmes is our guest on The After Dinner Scholar.

Liberal Education from Plato to Wyoming Catholic College with Dr. Tiffany Schubert

Liberal Education from Plato to Wyoming Catholic College with Dr. Tiffany Schubert

October 16, 2018

The purpose of education, stated on government websites, school websites, university websites, and education policy and reform websites was pretty much the same: "to better prepare students to compete in a global economy." That is, the purpose of education is almost universally believed to be purely utilitarian. One way or another, it’s a matter of vocational training. The old days of Latin, Greek, the classics, poetry, even history and literature are behind us now. Today computer science, technology, economics, accounting and engineering rule. After all, we have a global economy to run.

The purpose of education, however, has been debated since ancient times. Contrary to a utilitarian education Seneca who lived 4 BC to AD 64 wrote, “I respect no study, and deem no study good, which results in money-making.” And don’t forget that at the time, Rome had a global economy to run.

Dr. Tiffany Schubert joined the Wyoming Catholic College faculty this year to teach the heart of the liberal arts: the Trivium. Dr. Schubert has researched and taught on the nature of a liberal education and is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

Popular Government and Our Constitution with Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos

Popular Government and Our Constitution with Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos

October 2, 2018

In July 1776, John Adams wrote that the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4 should be celebrated, “with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations.”

Here in Lander, Wyoming on the Fourth of July, we celebrate in a way that would make John Adams proud. But come September 17, at Wyoming Catholic College, we also celebrate Constitution Day, the date in 1787 on which our Constitution was signed and sent to the states for ratification. Rather than celebrating with “Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations,” we quietly reflect.

Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos, Assistant Professor of Humanities, who is new to the college this year, lectured on the topic “Popular Government and Our Constitution” at this year’s Constitution Day celebration. Dr. Papadopoulos is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

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