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.

Stay a While: Holy Week and Good Friday with Dr. Jim Tonkowich

Stay a While: Holy Week and Good Friday with Dr. Jim Tonkowich

April 12, 2022

There was a time, remarked twentieth century theologian Karl Rahner, when people were “full of life’s joy, satisfied and carefree, and they celebrated Mardi Gras in the streets and laughed the laughter that still came from the heart.  Therefore, they could presumably experience a brief period of recollection, of contemplative seriousness, and of ascetic restraint from life’s luxuries as a beneficial change from everyday life and for the good of the soul.” In such a world, Lent and Holy Week made sense. Dr. Jim Tonkowich asks, "Do they still make sense?"

Sacred Signs and Spiritual Life with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

Sacred Signs and Spiritual Life with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

April 5, 2022

This is spring Outdoor Week at Wyoming Catholic College and as a result our campus is a bit of a ghost town. Students are spending the week canyoneering, canoeing, rock climbing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, learning to hunt, and producing Shakespeare’s “Richard III.”

As a college, we take educating the bodies of our students as seriously as we take educating their minds and spirits. That’s why, as we approach Palm Sunday and Holy Week, we are rebroadcasting an interview with Dr. Kent Lasnoski about Romano Guardini's book Sacred Signs and the importance of the physical in our spiritual lives.

On the Annunciation with Msgr. Daniel Seiker

On the Annunciation with Msgr. Daniel Seiker

March 22, 2022

 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:26-28)

The 2022 Solemnity of the Annunciation falls on this coming Friday, March 25. That day we remember Gabriel’s visit to Mary, his message, and her response: “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And so Mary became the Mother of God and, as she sang in the Magnificat, “all generations will call me blessed.”

Monsignor Daniel Seiker is our Latin rite chaplain here a Wyoming Catholic College tells us about this great holy day for us.

Magi, Baptism, and Marriage: Celebrating Epiphany with Fr. James Schumacher

Magi, Baptism, and Marriage: Celebrating Epiphany with Fr. James Schumacher

January 4, 2022

“What are you doing, O Magi?” asked St. Bernard of Clairvaux, “Do you adore a little Babe, in a wretched hovel, wrapped in miserable rags? Can this Child be truly God? … Are you become foolish, O Wise Men … Yes, these Wise Men have become fools that they may be wise!”

With the presents snug in their new homes, the wrapping paper recycled, the New Year’s Eve noisemakers silent, the so-called “holiday season” spent, we can breath a sigh of relief and look forward to celebrating Epiphany.

Epiphany, a solemnity, means “showing” and the Church draws our attention to the Three Magi, to John the Baptist, to Jesus’ first miracle turning water into wine. “Can this Child be truly God?” Epiphany a firm and reliable, “Yes!”

Wyoming Catholic College faculty, staff, and in-town alumni attend Holy Rosary parish here in Lander. This week, our pastor, Fr. James Schumacher gives us some insights on the celebration of Epiphany.

George Herbert’s “Love (III)” with Dr. Tiffany Schubert

George Herbert’s “Love (III)” with Dr. Tiffany Schubert

June 15, 2021

“Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,” begins George Herbert’s poem “Love (III).” It’s one of the 26 poems students at Wyoming Catholic College memorize over their four years and one of the most beloved.

George Herbert, an Anglican clergyman, lived a mere 39 years, from 1593 to 1633. Yet the great Puritan pastor and theologian, Richard Baxter said of him, “Herbert speaks to God like one that really believeth in God, and whose business in the world is most with God. Heart-work and heaven-work make up his books.”

Dr. Tiffany Schubert  taught the poem this year and began this interview by telling us something about poet George Herbert.

“30 Days with Married Saints” with Kent and Cait Lasnoski

“30 Days with Married Saints” with Kent and Cait Lasnoski

May 11, 2021

As they begin their devotional guide for married couples, 30 Days with Married Saints, Wyoming Catholic College theologian Dr. Kent Lasnoski and his wife Cait ask the reader to imagine a beatification ceremony for a married couple. The words they quote are from St. John Paul II’s homily at the beatification of Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi, but they add, “One day, God willing, such a homily might be given for you! You may think this possibility highly unrealistic and perhaps it’s true that you and your spouse will never be officially canonized. But that doesn’t mean that you cannot become saints.”

Their book 30 Days with Married Saints is a means to that end.

I began by asking Kent and Cait what inspired them to write the book.

An Introduction to Christian Mysticism with Dr. Jason Baxter

An Introduction to Christian Mysticism with Dr. Jason Baxter

April 27, 2021

In his new book An Introduction to Christian Mysticism: Recovering the Wildness of Spiritual Life, Wyoming Catholic College professor Dr. Jason Baxter notes that today mysticism makes us more than a little nervous. It seems to have New Age and Eastern connotations. Nonetheless, he notes, “in the premodern age..., ‘mysticism’ wasn’t some bizarre, exotic, cultish, or unusual phenomenon (like it has become), stored on bookshelves dealing with paranormal occurrences; rather it was seen as the lifeblood of prayer and adoration of God in the soul.” Then he goes on, “Ignoring it would be like selling a precious family heirloom at an estate sale because you didn’t know what it was.”

In this podcast, Dr. Baxter begins by explaining what this heirloom—what mysticism is.

For more of Dr. Baxter's books, articles, and lectures go to jasonmbaxter.com

An Invitation to “The Brothers Karamazov” with Prof. Adam Cooper

An Invitation to “The Brothers Karamazov” with Prof. Adam Cooper

April 20, 2021

In his 1880 novel The Brothers Karamazov Fyodor Dostoevsky explores questions of good and evil, alienation and belonging, the existence of God and the nature of morality.

As scholar and author Kenneth Boa writes in his four-volume A Taste of the Classics, “The Brothers Karamazov is a remarkable work that explores the whole human range of behavior, from the depths of depravity to the heights of exultation and from the meanness of the human spirit to the great nobility of which it is capable.”

This semester, Wyoming Catholic College seniors have been reading “The Brothers K” under the capable tutelage of Prof. Adam Cooper. I asked Prof. Cooper what attracts him to the novel.

Pilate, the People, and the Death of Jesus with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

Pilate, the People, and the Death of Jesus with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

March 30, 2021

Faithful cross, above all other,
One and only noble tree:
None in foliage, none in blossom,
None in fruit thy peers may be:
Sweetest wood and sweetest iron,
Sweetest weight is hung on thee.

While each time we see a cross or a crucifix and every time we attend Mass we have the opportunity to ponder Christ’s great sacrifice, during Holy Week it becomes almost the exclusive focus of our attention. 

Writing about Good Friday in his book Death on a Friday Afternoon, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus wrote, “This is the axis mundi, the center upon which the cosmos turns. In the derelict who cries from the cross is, or so Christians say, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. The life of all on this day died. Stay a while with that dying.”

The Gospel of John, chapter 19 tells the story of that dying. In this podcast Dr. Jeremy Holmes discusses John 19 and the death of Jesus.

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