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.
August 18, 2020
In the Epilogue to his book The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature, C. S. Lewis wrote, “I have made no serious effort to hide the fact that the old [Medieval] Model [of the universe] delights me as I believe it delighted our ancestors. Few constructions of the imagination seem to me to have combined splendour, sobriety, and coherence in the same degree. It is possible that some readers have long been itching to remind me that it had a serious defect; it was not true.”
Last week the annual Wyoming School of Catholic Thought was held here in Lander. The topic was “Beauty is Truth: Science and the Catholic Imagination.” Our readings in science and in literature considered this question of how we see the world, how we image it even before we think about it.
That began with a look at Medieval science and cosmology. The group read and discussed chapter 5 and the Epilogue from Lewis’ The Discarded Image guided by Dr. Tiffany Schubert who offered this introduction to the topic.
July 28, 2020
On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland. On September 3, Great Britain declared war on Germany. On September 29, the Feast of St. Michael in the Anglican Church, the term began at Oxford University. Studies? Classes? Learning? In War-Time?
Academics at Wyoming Catholic College focuses on the great books of the liberal arts tradition—a tradition stretching back beyond the founding of Oxford in 1096. And Oxford in 1939 was still almost exclusively the liberal arts. What was the point of reading Homer, Herodotus, and Dante, studying Euclid, perfecting an understanding of Latin and Greek with a war going on?
On Sunday, October 22, 1939 at St. Mary the Virgin Church in Oxford, literary scholar and Oxford do C. S. Lewis stepped into the pulpit to answer that question? His sermon “Learning in War-Time” has become something of a classic and Dr. Jason Baxter studied that sermon earlier this month with high school students who attended Wyoming Catholic College’s PEAK Program.
May 5, 2020
In the May 1991 issue of The Atlantic, poet Dana Gioia wrote, “American poetry now belongs to a subculture. No longer part of the mainstream of artistic and intellectual life, it has become the specialized occupation of a relatively small and isolated group. Little of the frenetic activity it generates ever reaches outside that closed group. As a class poets are not without cultural status. Like priests in a town of agnostics, they still command a certain residual prestige. But as individual artists they are almost invisible.”
Not only do we Americans not know our contemporary poets, we don’t read the poets of the past either. Poems are, for many of us, opaque. We simply don’t understand nor do we take the time to learn to understand, to appreciate, to love poetry.
With that in mind, Wyoming Catholic College president, Dr. Glenn Arbery has been on a mission: the revival of poetry. And he's begun a daily vlog on which he reads and comments on one poem a day: www.wyomingcatholic.edu/blog. Dr. Arbery is our guest on this episode of The After Dinner Scholar.
April 21, 2020
St. Agnes' Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
Numb were the Beadsman's fingers, while he told
His rosary, and while his frosted breath,
Like pious incense from a censer old,
Seem'd taking flight for heaven, without a death,
Past the sweet Virgin's picture, while his prayer he saith.
With those lines, the Romantic Era poet John Keats (1795-1821) began “The Eve of St. Agnes”(available here). A beadsman was someone whose duty it was to pray for his benefactor, the beads being the beads of the rosary.
While he prays in the chapel, in the adjacent castle, Keats tells us, Madeline dreams of her love for Porphyro, her family’s great enemy. Later that night Porphyro arrives at the castle and finds his way to Madeline’s bedroom. She wakes from a dream, the two declare their love for each other, and they run off together.
Dr. Glenn Arbery and Dr. Tiffany Schubert got together—online of course—to discuss the poem for the benefit of Wyoming Catholic College juniors listening at home.
March 17, 2020
“One afternoon in the autumn of 1851, a solitary horseman, followed by a packmule, was pushing through an arid stretch of country somewhere in central New Mexico. He had lost his way, and was trying to get back to the trail, with only his compass and his sense of direction for guides....Under his buckskin riding-coat [the traveler] wore a black vest and the cravat and collar of a churchman. A young priest...and a priest in a thousand, one knew at a glance. His manners, even when he was alone in the desert, were distinguished. He had a kind of courtesy toward himself, toward his beasts, toward the juniper tree before which he knelt, and the God whom he was addressing.”
Those first lines from Willa Cather’s Death Comes to the Archbishop set the stage for the entire novel. A young priest riding through the middle of the varied landscapes of New Mexico.
Wyoming Catholic College senior Catherine Stypa chose Cather’s novel as the subject of her senior thesis this past the fall and her senior oration earlier this winter. Catherine Stypa is our guest on this edition of The After Dinner Scholar.
March 10, 2020
“Quit your books” to enjoy the sunshine is not exactly what we want from our students, but they do study this poem, “The Tables Turned” by William Wordsworth from which that line is taken.
Wordsworth (1770-1850) was one of the first of the English romantic poets and one of the major figures in the Romantic Movement. Romanticism emphasized individualism, emotions, and the glories of nature in contrast to an increasingly technological world.
Dr. Tiffany Schubert has been teaching Wordsworth this semester and is our guest on this week's After Dinner Scholar.
March 3, 2020
Aeschylus play “Agamemnon” along with “The Libation Bearers” and “The Eumenides” form the trilogy called “The Oresteia.”
As the first play opens, Agamemnon has been gone ten years fighting the Trojan War. During that time his wife, Clytaemnestra, has ruled as a tyrant. She has sent off their son, Orestes, and has taken up with Agamemnon’s cousin Aegisthus. She’s also established a string of signal fires from Troy to Argos to inform her as quickly as possible of the fall of Troy which will lead to her husband’s return.
One night, the watchman sees the signal that Troy has fallen and the scene is set for Agamemnon’s homecoming that includes revenge, bloodshed, and finally the kind of justice appropriate to a free people.
Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos has been teaching “The Oresteia” to our Wyoming Catholic College freshmen and is our guest on The After Dinner Scholar.
February 4, 2020
William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” has it all: heroes and villains, loyalty and betrayal, hatred and love, vengence and silliness, a devilish plot and a happy ending. At one point it veers dangerously close to utter tragedy only to come right again with true love conquering even the coldest hearts.
After trading Beatrice's and Benedick's insults, guest Dr. Tiffany Schubert shares insights into this delightful comedy.