The After Dinner Scholar
Introduction to Ecclesiastes by Dr. Jim Tonkowich

Introduction to Ecclesiastes by Dr. Jim Tonkowich

July 12, 2022

 I the Preacher have been king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with. I have seen everything that is done under the sun; and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.

Those words are from the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes. Are they the thoughts of a bitter cynic? Of a cranky, world-weary old man? Or encouraging words of wisdom?

When Dr. Jim Tonkowich introduced the book at the 2022 Wyoming School of Catholic Thought, he argued for the latter: Ecclesiastes contains encouraging words of wisdom, words our culture, so self-focused and materialistic, so forgetful of death, desperately needs to hear.

Numbering Our Days: Lecture by Dr. Jim Tonkowich

Numbering Our Days: Lecture by Dr. Jim Tonkowich

June 28, 2022

“Teach us to number out days,” sang the psalmist, “that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

This past June 12-17, the 2022 Wyoming School of Catholic Thought convened here in Lander. Adult learners came from California, Texas, Louisiana, New York, Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and elsewhere to study great texts on the theme “Mortality and Eternity.”

Our Wyoming Catholic College faculty led the sessions comprised of a short lecture introducing the reading followed by seminars.

This summer, The After-Dinner Scholar will bring you those lectures. And while they are helpful on their own, they will also serve as an introduction to your own study of the texts in the curriculum.

We began Sunday, June 12 with an after-dinner lecture to introduce the week. That night Dr. Jim Tonkowich spoke about Psalm 90.

Why the WORD Became Words with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

Why the WORD Became Words with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

May 4, 2021

Quoting St. Jerome, the great fifth century Bible scholar, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (133) tells us:

The Church “forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful. . . to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.”

Theologians throughout the life of the Church pointed out not just a connection, but a identification between Jesus Who is the Word of God made flesh and the Scriptures, the Word of God written and handed down to us. 

But how does that work? What does it mean?

Theologian Dr. Jeremy Holmes hopes that his new book will answer that question. The title is Cur Deus Verba: Why the WORD Became Words.

To sign up for the free distance learning course "Reading Your Bible for All It's Worth," visit the Wyoming Catholic College website.

He Is Risen! with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

He Is Risen! with Dr. Kent Lasnoski

April 6, 2021

“The Resurrection of Jesus,” says the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by Tradition; established by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery along with the cross.”

The resurrection is not reincarnation. It’s not reanimation. Jesus, the incarnate Son of God, second Person of the Blessed Trinity really and truly died on the cross, was buried in a borrowed tomb, and rose again from the dead.

During Holy Week, our podcast featured Dr. Jeremy Holmes discussing the Gospel of John chapter 19—the cross. During this Easter Octave, Dr. Kent Lasnoski joins us to discuss John chapter 20 and the resurrection.

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.

Fear and Kingship: The Life of Saul with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

Fear and Kingship: The Life of Saul with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

December 1, 2020

Summing up the reign of Israel’s first king, 1Chronicles 10 tells us, “So Saul died for his unfaithfulness; he was unfaithful to the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance, and did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord slew him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.”

Saul did not, however, begin his reign unfaithful to the Lord. In fact, given his druthers, he probably would not have begun his reign at all. Saul started out as the reluctant king, but that didn’t last.

During the fall, Dr. Jeremy Holmes leads Wyoming Catholic College freshmen through the history of God’s People in the Old Testament. He always pauses to discuss the short, troubling reign of King Saul.

Lovers in Latin: Reading Canticum Canticorum with Dr. Michael Bolin

Lovers in Latin: Reading Canticum Canticorum with Dr. Michael Bolin

November 19, 2019

“Adiuro vos, filiae Ierusalem, per capreas cervasque camporum,
ne suscitetis neque evigilare faciatis dilectam, quoadusque ipsa velit.”

The quote is from the Latin text of the Song of Songs in the Old Testament. “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the gazelles or the hinds of the field, that you stir not up nor awaken love until it please.” (Song 2:7)

That biblical book in Latin is the subject of one of four Latin reading groups here at Wyoming Catholic. Juniors and seniors hone the Latin skills they learned as freshmen and sophomores. The best way to retain and grow language skills is, of course, to use them.

The group working way through Canticum Canticorum ably led by Dr. Michael Bolin, our guest for this After Dinner Scholar.

Christ, the Incarnation, and the Scriptures with Prof. Travis Dziad

Christ, the Incarnation, and the Scriptures with Prof. Travis Dziad

September 10, 2019

After graduating from Wyoming Catholic College in 2013, Travis Dziad completed his Masters in Theology in Austria at the International Theological Institute. Then he went into the Ph.D. in Theology at Ave Maria University.

This summer in addition to returning to Wyoming Catholic College as Teaching Fellow for Theology, Leadership, and Outdoor Education, soon-to-be-Dr. Dziad successfully defended his dissertation which was on the timely topic of the inspiration of Scripture. Prof. Dziad is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.

The Challenge of the Sermon on the Mount with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

The Challenge of the Sermon on the Mount with Dr. Jeremy Holmes

August 20, 2019

And Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to the men of old, ‘You shall not kill; and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother shall be liable to the council, and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be liable to the hell of fire.”

Those of us who have brothers or sisters or spouses can take little comfort from those words of Jesus. With those close to us getting angry, hurling insults, and yelling “You fool!” (or more likely “You idiot!” which expresses the Greek better) comes as second nature.

In fact, if we’re honest, the entire Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5 to 7) stands as an enormous challenge to the way we do most things most of the time.

This summer at PEAK, Wyoming Catholic College’s high school program, theologian Dr. Jeremy Holmes taught the Sermon on the Mount.

“Friendship in the Bible: The Story of David and Jonathan” by Dr. James Tonkowich

“Friendship in the Bible: The Story of David and Jonathan” by Dr. James Tonkowich

June 18, 2019

Jonathan was Crown Prince of Israel, the man next in line to be king. David was, however, the man destined to be king instead--and that by God's sovereign choice. King Saul knew that God had chosen David and Jonathan knew as well. Yet rather than trying to kill David, "Jonathan loved him as his own soul." The two were the dearest of friends.

This lecture by Dr. Jim Tonkowich about the friendship between Jonathan and David opened the 2019 Wyoming School of Catholic Thought on June 9. The school's theme was: "No Greater Gift: Friendship from The Iliad to Facebook." 

This podcast is the first in a series of podcasts this summer featuring lectures from the Wyoming School.

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