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.
September 21, 2021
In the first chapter of his letter to the Christians in Rome, St. Paul wrote, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:18-20).
History bears out the truth of St. Paul’s statement. You don’t need a Bible to know that God exists and that he is eternal, powerful, intelligent, just, and creative. We all live on the same planet, see the same nature, and are able to come to the same obvious conclusions—even if some people refuse.
Nonetheless, Christianity is not a nature religion. It is a revealed religion. God has spoken through the words of the inspired writers of Scripture and through the Church.
So where are the boundaries between what any human can understand about God through reason and what requires revelation?
Prof. Kyle Washut has been discussing just that with our Wyoming Catholic College sophomores as they read St. Thomas Aquinas’ Compendium Theologiae together.
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.
August 17, 2021
“Because philosophy arises from awe,” wrote St. Thomas Aquinas, “a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.”
Last week our guest on The After-Dinner Scholar was Dr. Paul Giesting, newly-arrived professor of mathematics and science. Today our guest is philosopher, Dr. Daniel Shields who is also new to the college faculty.
Dr. Shields did his undergraduate work at Thomas Aquinas College and received his PhD from the Catholic University of America. His main interest is in philosophy of nature and science, ethics, moral psychology, and medieval philosophy.
May 25, 2021
When he delivered his “Regensburg Address” in 2006, Pope Benedict XVI set off a firestorm of anger. Not only had he criticized Islam and modern scientism, he had the temerity to suggest that what the world really needs is Catholicism. Nearly fifteen years later, sound far less profligate and far more prophetic.
Of course, the Regensburg Address was not primarily about Islam or about scientism. Pope Benedict argued for the place of reason in human life. Without it, we either end up with subjective religiosity ungoverned by reason and leading toward fanaticism or we limit reason to mathematics and physics leading to a cold, calculated science that erases religion and morality and with them our humanity.
Dr. Michael Bolin read Pope Benedict’s Regensburg Address with our Wyoming Catholic College seniors in the weeks before graduation.
February 23, 2021
It may be hard to believe, but the Catholic Church has a patron saint of humor: Philip Neri who noted that, “A cheerful and glad spirit attains to perfection much more readily than a melancholy spirit.” And my observation is that we can become cheerful and glad people as we laugh.
Last week The After-Dinner Scholar featured Wyoming Catholic College senior, Miss Amanda Johnson, talking about her theologically rich oration about horsemanship as an aid to restoring our fallen humanity.
This week senior Kevin Milligan discusses his philosophically rich oration was entitled: “Laughing at Perfection: A Classification of Laughter and a Defense of Its Role in the Natural Perfection of Man.”
January 19, 2021
Regarding the civilizations of ancient Rome and Greece, Numa Denis Fustel de Coulanges wrote in 1864, “What we have received from them leads us to believe that we resemble them. We have some difficulty in considering them as foreign nations; it is almost always ourselves that we see in them. Hence spring many errors.”
The ancient city, writes Coulanges, was in essence a religious association. The gods of each city, the soil of each city, and the people of each city were unique. Thus the only civic conceivable was the city.
Then something changed. Or rather multiple things changed.
Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos uses Coulanges book The Ancient City as a way of bridging how citizenship was understood in the ancient world of Plato’s Athens or Coriolanus’s Rome and how citizenship came to be understood beginning with Augustine’s City of God. Dr. Papadopoulos is our guest this week.
November 17, 2020
“First of all, then,” St. Paul wrote in 1Timothy 2:1-4, “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.”
We might have expected St. Paul to tell Timothy to pray “for kings and all who are in high position, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.” But he goes beyond that, urging that thanksgivings “for kings and all who are in high position.” That seems a bit peculiar or at least unexpected given that in AD 64, when St. Paul wrote this epistle, the Roman emperor was Nero who, among other violent and perverse behavior, ruthlessly persecuted Christians. Give thanks for him?
Here at the college there have been discussions with political philosopher, Dr. Pavlos Papadopoulos about thanksgiving as a civic virtue—something incumbent on us not only as Christians, but as citizens. With our annual national celebration of Thanksgiving coming up, we continued the conversation as a podcast.