In this world we find ourselves feeling alienated and in exile, looking for communion with others and a true home. The reason is what Dr. Glenn Arbery calls out "primal exile," the banishment from Paradise. In this podcast he summarizes his lecture "Exile from Eden" which is also available as a podcast.
This past June 11-15, Wyoming Catholic College held what will be the annual Wyoming School of Catholic Thought. Our topic was “The Splendor of Imagination: Returning from Exile.”
On the first evening of the school, Wyoming Catholic College President Glenn Arbery delivered this lecture on John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost. With it he introduced the topic of exile in the Fall and banishment of Adam and Eve.
In St. Luke’s brief description of Jesus as a child, he emphasized that Jesus grew in wisdom. That is, Jesus not only learned the Scriptures, but went beyond learning information to learning how to live well under the good laws and just reign of God. In learning the Scriptures, Jesus would have read, studied, and memorized the sayings in the Old Testament wisdom books including the Book of Wisdom sometimes known as the Wisdom of Solomon.
Dr. Kent Lasnoski, Assistant Professor of Theology here at Wyoming Catholic College explains wisdom literature generally and the Book of Wisdom in particular.
Wyoming Catholic’s founding document, our “Philosophical Vision Statement,” talks a great deal about the imagination. “The College will,” it states, “seek to educate the whole person—the mind, heart, and imagination.”
Imagination is vital because it is the way we see the world around us, the way we image reality before we even think about it. As American humorist Mark Twain observed, “You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” Fortunately our imaginations are not fixed, but can be properly focused for the good through worship, through study and community, and through encountering the beauty and power of Creation.
To talk about imagination and how we form Catholic imaginations in ourselves, in our students, and in our children, we have with us Dr. Glenn Arbery, President of Wyoming Catholic College.
John Milton’s Paradise Lost spans all of history from the fall of Satan and his angels to the creation of Adam and Eve, to the fall of man, to the cross of Christ, to the Second Coming. In A Preface to Paradise Lost, Milton scholar C. S. Lewis wrote, “Paradise Lost records a real, irreversible, unrepeatable process of the history of the universe; and even for those who do not believe this, it embodies…the great change in every individual soul from happy dependence to miserable self-assertion and thence either, as in Satan, to final isolation, or, as in Adam, to reconcilement and a different happiness.”
This week's guest, Wyoming Catholic College president Dr. Glenn Arbery, has taught Paradise Lost for many years and is currently working through the poem with our juniors.
Evil Enchantment and The Weight of Glory: What Dante Taught C.S. Lewis about Poetry with Dr. Jason Baxter
From the time he was a child, C. S. Lewis was steeped in what we today call “The Great Books” including Chaucer, Spencer, John Milton, and—the subject of our conversation today—Dante.
Lewis read Dante’s Inferno in Italian as a teenager. He read Purgatorio in the hospital during World War I as he recovered from wounds he received in the trenches. Then some fifteen years later—once he gave up his atheism, but before he embrace Christianity—Lewis finally read Paradiso.
This past February 3rd, Dr. Jason Baxter, Assistant Professor of Fine Arts and Humanities at Wyoming Catholic College delivered a lecture entitled “Evil Enchantment and The Weight of Glory: What Dante Taught C.S. Lewis about Poetry.” Dr. Baxter’s expertise includes not only Dante and C. S. Lewis, but all of the philosophers, poets, and writers Lewis studied and loved.