The After Dinner Scholar
Dante and The Sin of Ulysses with Prof. Adam Cooper

Dante and The Sin of Ulysses with Prof. Adam Cooper

April 26, 2022

The eighth circle of Dante’s Hell are the Malabolge, the evil ditches. In the eighth evil ditch false counselors are punished, trapped in flames. Dante the pilgrim asks Virgil his guide about one flame in particular Virgil answers, "Within this flame find torment Ulysses and Diomedes.”

Ulysses is also known as Odysseus who, after conquering Troy, wandered ten years trying to get home to his kingdom of Ithaca, to his father, Laertes, to his beloved wife, Penelope, and to their son Telemachus. After he finally returns to all that was dear to him, Dante tells us, Odysseus succumbed to wanderlust "to gain experience of the world and learn about man’s vices, and his worth."

The voyage did not end well. Death and Hell take him. But did he deserve to be in Hell? Was his sin really as great as all that? 

Prof. Adam Cooper has been teaching Dante helps us understand.

George Herbert’s Easter Poems with Dr. Glenn Arbery

George Herbert’s Easter Poems with Dr. Glenn Arbery

April 19, 2022
Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
      Though foolishly he lost the same,
            Decaying more and more,
                  Till he became
                        Most poore:
                        With thee
                  O let me rise
            As larks, harmoniously,
      And sing this day thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.
 

These lines are from George Herbert's poem "Easter Wings." Herbert, a contemporary of William Shakespeare and John Milton, lived 1593 to 1633. In addition to being a poet he was a Church of England priest and theologian. Wyoming Catholic College president Dr. Glenn Arbery has long been an admirer of Herbert’s metaphysical poetry including “Easter Wings” and a poem simply entitled “Easter.”

Reading ”Moby Dick” with Dr. Elizabeth Reyes

Reading ”Moby Dick” with Dr. Elizabeth Reyes

March 29, 2022

“Call me Ishmael. Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation.”

The quotation comprises the first sentences of Herman Melville’s 1851 novel Moby Dick, a vast, sprawling work that is about, among other things, whaling.

Dr. Elizabeth Reyes, a faculty member at Thomas Aquinas College in California was our guest lecturer here at Wyoming Catholic college in March. Her dissertation was titled: “Ishmael’s Cetological Quest: A Progression of Imagination in Melville’s Moby-Dick.” Dr. Reyes was kind enough to join us for this podcast.

To hear Dr. Reyes lecture, "A Gentle Joyfulness," visit the Wyoming Catholic College website.

St. Thomas More: ”A Man for All Seasons” with Prof. Kyle Washut

St. Thomas More: ”A Man for All Seasons” with Prof. Kyle Washut

March 1, 2022

Once each semester at Wyoming Catholic College we hold All-School Seminar. Our entire community reads the same work and the student body and faculty are divided into seminar groups led by our seniors. Last week the whole college discussed Robert Bolt’s play about St. Thomas More, “A Man for All Seasons.”

More, who along with King Henry VII was a staunch defender of the Catholic faith and a favorite of the king who eventually made him Lord Chancellor. Then Henry, wanting to divorce Catherine of Aragorn, declared himself the head of the Church in England. More quit his high post hoping to avoid conflict with the king. It didn’t work.

This week, Prof. Kyle Washut discusses about All-School Seminars and “A Man for All Seasons.”

Great Books and a Great Mind: ”The Medieval Mind of C. S. Lewis with Dr. Jason Baxter

Great Books and a Great Mind: ”The Medieval Mind of C. S. Lewis with Dr. Jason Baxter

February 1, 2022

“It is a good rule,” wrote C. S. Lewis, “after reading a new book, never to allow yourself another new one till you have read an old one in-between.”

About three years ago, Dr. Jason Baxter taught the distance learning course “The Medieval Mind of C. S. Lewis” after which he turned his lectures into chapters for the book The Medieval Mind of C. S. Lewis: How Great Books Shaped a Great Mind which will be available this March 15th—though you may, of course pre-order it today.

We tend to forget that in addition to being a popular novelist and apologist, Lewis’s day job was professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Oxford University and later at Cambridge University. That is, he was first and foremost a scholar and his fiction and apologetic works are tied more tightly to his scholarship than most of his readers realize.

To order Dr. Baxter's book, The Medieval Mind of C. S. Lewis click here.

The Nature of Poetry: Socrates‘ Dialogue with Ion with Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos

The Nature of Poetry: Socrates‘ Dialogue with Ion with Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos

November 30, 2021

Each semester here at Wyoming Catholic College, we hold an “All-School Seminar.” All students, faculty, and any interested staff read the same work and meet in groups led by our seniors to discuss what they’ve read. This fall’s All-School Seminar was Plato’s dialogue between Socrates and Ion.

In the dialogue, Socrates greets Ion, a rhapsode, that is, a reciter of poetry. Ion specializes in the work of the epic poet Homer—The Iliad and The Odyssey. When Socrates meets him, he is returning from a religious festival where in competition with other rhapsodes, he took first prize for his recitation.

This week, Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos, shares with us about Socrates’ and Ion’s conversation.

Machiavelli on the Stage and in the Classroom with Dr. Tiffany Schubert

Machiavelli on the Stage and in the Classroom with Dr. Tiffany Schubert

November 2, 2021
Because life is brief
and many are the pains
which, living and struggling, everyone sustains
let us follow our desires,
passing and consuming the years
because whoever deprives himself of pleasure,
to live with anguish and with worries
doesn’t know the tricks
of the world or by what ills
and by what strange happenings
all mortals are almost overwhelmed.

“Because life is brief…let us follow our desires” has a contemporary ring to it. Yet those words were penned in 1512 by the playwright and philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli in his play La Mandragola, The Mandrake.

This semester, Dr. Tiffany Schubert is teaching Machiavelli’s play to Wyoming Catholic College juniors and it has led to amazing classroom conversations. Why would that be?

Aeneas: Journey into the Underworld with Dr. Adam Cooper

Aeneas: Journey into the Underworld with Dr. Adam Cooper

September 28, 2021

After fleeing the destruction of Troy while leading his young son and carrying his aged father, Aeneas wandered seven years across the Mediterranean. Finally, after his father's death, he and his ships made landfall in Italy. This was the land of his destiny. There he would conquer, establish the Trojans, and found the kingdom that would become Rome.

But before setting out to war, Aeneas told the Sibyl of Apollo, “Since here, they say, are the gates of Death’s king and the dark marsh where the Acheron comes flooding up, please, allow me to go and see my beloved father, meet him face-to-face.”

Dr. Adam Cooper has been reading Virgil’s Aeneid with our Wyoming Catholic College sophomores, guiding them as the Sibyl guided Aeneas into the Underworld.

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.

Shakespeare’s Rome: Politics and Eros by Dr. Tiffany Schubert

Shakespeare’s Rome: Politics and Eros by Dr. Tiffany Schubert

July 27, 2021

As Aeneus becomes increasingly comfortable building Carthage with Queen Dido, the god Mercury appears to him. “You, so now you lay foundation stones for the soaring walls of Carthage! Building her gorgeous city, doting on your wife. Blind to your own realm, oblivious to your fate!” Aeneus is supposed to be headed for Italy to build Rome. Carthago delenda est--Carthage must be destroyed.

The final presentation at The Wyoming School of Catholic Thought this past June focused on the story of Aeneas and Dido from Virgil’s Aeneid, the great founding myth of Rome. The parallel with Antony and Cleopatra is obvious and was probably intended.

But there’s a most important difference: where Antony stayed in Egypt forsaking Rome, Aeneas fled Carthage for the sake of Rome.

At the Wyoming School of Catholic Thought, Dr. Tiffany Schubert offered this presentation about the two couples and the relationship of politics and eros.

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