Virtue and its Limits: from Prudence to Contemplation

A talk Given at New College Franklin, Prospective Weekend, Spring 2018 Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, the great Western text on virtue, concludes in a very strange way. After all his work discussing virtue, Aristotle unexpectedly relegates it to second rank. But if I am to make clear the remarkable nature of this move, I first need … Continue reading Virtue and its Limits: from Prudence to Contemplation

A Question of the Liberal Arts: Why is Song a Gift from the Gods?

from a talk given at New College Franklin in the Fall of 2013 Main Texts: Homer’s Odyssey, Book 8, lines 42-45, 62-94, 483-499, 521-534 Homer’s Iliad, Book VI, lines 440-465 My goal in giving this talk is to inspire wonder and excitement about the program of study here, to encourage intellectual enthusiasm. With this goal … Continue reading A Question of the Liberal Arts: Why is Song a Gift from the Gods?

On Christian Doctrine: The Rule of Scripture and Knowledge of the Profane

We study the world that we may understand Scripture, and Scripture teaches us to truly read the world. Is this a conflict of principle or a vicious circle? No, it is the ordinary course of human learning elevated to a glorious pitch. God is pleased to use the things of His creation as a tutor unto … Continue reading On Christian Doctrine: The Rule of Scripture and Knowledge of the Profane

Work or Rest?

Is man fundamentally a contemplative being or one whose fulfillment is found in work? Perhaps the answer lies in how we understand the term ‘work’. A long standing argument in Christian and philosophic circles grapples with anthropology, the goodness of work, and the nature of happiness in general. In some sense, this issue touches even … Continue reading Work or Rest?