Last week, I mentioned what will not be taken from us if we choose what is better: “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42). Here is how Thomas Aquinas puts it in his mediation on the relationship between the Contemplative and Active life: Sometimes a … Continue reading Thomas’s Take on Life Interrupted
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ (Colossians 2:8). What business do we have studying the liberal arts? The quadrivium and trivium? Why should Christians take an interest in philosophy, in … Continue reading Vain Philosophy and Christian Learning
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). This is a difficult verse. If we read it as a proclamation of tit-for-tat justice on earth, or even with the expectation that we can always discern the purposes … Continue reading All Things Work Together for Good?
The Heavens declare the glory of God and the skies showeth his handiwork (Psalm 19:1) When we step outside the walls of a school, when we walk about in a park, when we look up at the sky, as we are about to, we observe. We take in and experience the world. And we all … Continue reading An Address on the Eclipse to the Christian Student
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
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?
Paul gives an allegorical reading of Old Testament history to distinguish between the bondage of the law and the freedom of adoption. But the allegory is a complex one, perhaps because the subject is itself complex. The chief difficulties of the allegory are these: A. He depicts Hagar (vs. Sarah) as under the bondage of … Continue reading Allegory, Reversal and Recognition in Galatians 4:21-31
Near the bulk of St. Augustine’s On Christine Doctrine discusses the role of secular learning. This is surprising because the text promises to reveal how to understand and teach Scripture. Augustine’s approach only makes sense if reading Scripture requires us to become proficient in reading the world. At the outset, Augustine challenges objections to sacred teaching. There have always been … Continue reading Did Augustine take notes from Aristotle?
In Plato’s dialogues, one finds room for speculation and wonder. One also finds the discipline of logic, the presence of faith, and the need for each these modes of thinking to co-operate with one another. This helps us see why philosophy is a most serious and yet wonderful kind of play. As I embark on further graduate … Continue reading An Introduction to Philosophy, Platonic or Otherwise
Between the difficult and the impossible there lies an infinite distance. No dint of human effort or mortal genius can alter the nature of such a boundary. Each individual believes he knows with certainty precisely where these boundaries have been laid. For instance: I am not good at math; I am a poor artist; I hate … Continue reading Re-moving the Boundary Stones!