The After Dinner Scholar
Aristotle‘s ”Categories” with Dr. Michael Bolin

Aristotle‘s ”Categories” with Dr. Michael Bolin

September 14, 2021

Aristotle’s Categories,” writes Davidson College Professor of Philosophy, David Studtmann, “is a singularly important work of philosophy. It not only presents the backbone of Aristotle’s own philosophical theorizing but has exerted an unparalleled influence on the systems of many of the greatest philosophers in the western tradition.”

And freshman philosophy at Wyoming Catholic College begins by being thrown into the deep end as students jump into Aristotle’s Categories. In that work, Aristotle outlines the framework needed to read and understand the works students will encounter later in their intellectual journey: The Physics, The Metaphysics, and The Nicomachean Ethics.

Their guide to The Categories this semester is our guest this week, Dr. Michael Bolin, whose specialties are the works of St. Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle.

In Conversation with Ancient Greek and Latin with Prof. Stephen Hill

In Conversation with Ancient Greek and Latin with Prof. Stephen Hill

September 7, 2021

In the past few weeks, this podcast has featured introductions to two of three new faculty at Wyoming Catholic College: Dr. Paul Giesting and Dr. Daniel Shields. Today's podcast introduces the third, Prof. Stephen Hill.

Prof. Hill joins Wyoming Catholic College to teach humanities and the Latin program which, of course, is taught as spoken Latin. Prof. Hill also has proficiency in speaking classical Greek.

Rhetoric and Senior Orations with Dr. Virginia Arbery

Rhetoric and Senior Orations with Dr. Virginia Arbery

February 9, 2021

Mark Twain observed, “There are only two types of speakers in the world. 1. The nervous and 2. Liars.” I suspect that our Wyoming Catholic College seniors can relate.

In the fall semester, Wyoming Catholic College seniors write theses on topics of their choosing. This week, at the beginning of Spring semester, each senior will share his or her thesis research with the college community in a senior oration. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday classes are canceled and each member of the class of 2021 will deliver a half hour lecture followed by a half hour of questions put to them by a faculty panel and by their fellow students.

Dr. Virginia Arbery teaches rhetoric, the foundation of the senior orations and she shares with us the place of rhetoric and public speaking in a Wyoming Catholic College education.

Carpe Diem: The Poetry of Horace with Prof. Eugene Hamilton

Carpe Diem: The Poetry of Horace with Prof. Eugene Hamilton

November 10, 2020

In 1959 Oxford University Press published a 200-page book containing 451 translations (half of them in English) of a single 16-line Latin poem, Ad Pyrrham or “The Ode to Pyrrha.” The poet—now nearly forgotten—was perhaps the most influential poet of all time. His name: Quintus Horatius Flaccus, known in the English-speaking world as Horace.

For 2,000 years Horace was admired as possibly the greatest poet in history. And then Latin—especially advanced Latin—became a thing of the past and few were able to read his grammatically complex works. Today, of course, poetry itself has become passé.

But at Wyoming Catholic College, Latin is a required subject and poems are read, studied, and memorized. Latinist Eugene Hamilton has been helping a group of students work there way through a selection of Horace’s Odes.

Senior Orations, Rhetoric, and the Pursuit of Truth with Dr. Virginia Arbery

Senior Orations, Rhetoric, and the Pursuit of Truth with Dr. Virginia Arbery

February 25, 2020

“Wisdom without eloquence is of little advantage,” said the great Roman orator Marcus Tullius Cicero, “but eloquence without wisdom is most mischievous.”

Last week was a big week here at Wyoming Catholic College. Classes were canceled on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday to make room for three days of senior orations.

Each of our seniors writes a thesis during the fall semester and then in late February delivers a half-hour lecture on their thesis topic followed by a half-hour of questions—first from the faculty panel that will be grading the oration and then from the audience.

The school community—students, faculty, and staff—make up the audience that also includes family and alumni who make the trip back to Lander to hear our seniors present their ideas with wonderful rhetorical skill.

“How do they come by that skill?” you ask. Part of our integrated curriculum is the sequence of courses called the Trivium: grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Dr. Virginia Arbery teaches Trivium 202: Political Rhetoric and the Common Good. Dr. Arbery is our guest on this edition of The After Dinner Scholar.

Lovers in Latin: Reading Canticum Canticorum with Dr. Michael Bolin

Lovers in Latin: Reading Canticum Canticorum with Dr. Michael Bolin

November 19, 2019

“Adiuro vos, filiae Ierusalem, per capreas cervasque camporum,
ne suscitetis neque evigilare faciatis dilectam, quoadusque ipsa velit.”

The quote is from the Latin text of the Song of Songs in the Old Testament. “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the hinds of the field, that you stir not up nor awaken love until it please.” (Song 2:7)

That biblical book in Latin is the subject of one of four Latin reading groups here at Wyoming Catholic. Juniors and seniors hone the Latin skills they learned as freshmen and sophomores. The best way to retain and grow language skills is, of course, to use them.

The group working way through Canticum Canticorum ably led by Dr. Michael Bolin, our guest for this After Dinner Scholar.

Lecture - Courage in Conquest: Joshua and the People of Israel by Dr. James Tonkowich

Lecture - Courage in Conquest: Joshua and the People of Israel by Dr. James Tonkowich

August 7, 2018

“Have I not commanded you?” God said to Joshua, “Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened, neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

The Bible, to no one’s surprise, is filled with examples of courage. Moses stood up to Pharaoh, David ran to battle Goliath with nothing but a sling and a few stones, Elijah called out King Ahab, Peter stood up to the Sanhedrin and eventually the Roman authorities who put him to death. G. K. Chesterton, commenting on Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane said, “Alone of all creeds, Christianity has added courage to the virtues of the Creator.”

At the Wyoming School of Catholic Thought in June, Dr. Jim Tonkowich spoke about the meaning of courage in the Bible, focusing on the Old Testament story of Joshua.

Here are his remarks in their entirety.

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

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.

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

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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