Support First Things by turning your adblocker off or by making a  donation. Thanks!

Registration for the 2023 First Things Intellectual Retreat is now closed. However, tickets are still available for “An Evening with The Hillbilly Thomists,” which will be held at the Union League Club of New York (38 East 37th Street) at 8 p.m. on Saturday, August 12. To purchase tickets, please visit Your ticket includes free drinks! If you have any questions, please contact Ellie Hancock at or 212-627-1985.

Without understanding where we have come from, what can we know of ourselves or what we are meant for? The 2023 First Things Intellectual Retreat, Creation and Fall,” offers participants the chance to turn their attention more fully to first things. Through dialogue undertaken in a common quest for wisdom, participants will consider readings from Scripture and classic texts from the Western tradition, including modernity's reappraisals of these works. The readings will offer—and our discussions will reflect on—fundamental perspectives on our origins, the role of man in the world, the nature of our subsequent losses, and our hopes for recovery of a proper relationship with God, the world, and each other.

Tuition: $650 per participant; reduced tuition available for ROFTers group leaders, classical educators, students, and clergy.

Dress Code: A coat and tie (and comparable attire for women) are required during the dinners, business casual is acceptable for the seminars on Saturday. No sneakers are permitted. 

Cancellation Policy: For a full tuition refund, please cancel at least three weeks in advance. We reserve the right to substitute speakers, change venues, or cancel part or all of the event due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, our liability is limited to a prompt refund of the registration fee, on a pro-rata basis, for the affected portions.

Photography Policy: Attendance at First Things events constitutes consent to be photographed for use in print and electronic media for marketing purposes. Images will not be identified without written approval. Please notify us at if you would prefer that your photo not be used.


The full retreat program will be held at the Union League Club of New York.

Friday, August 11

6:00 pm                             Cocktail Reception

7:00 pm                             Dinner & Lecture

The lecture will be given by Michael Legaspi, Associate Professor of Old Testament at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, on “Scripture, Creation, and the Question of Nature.”

Saturday, August 12

9:00 am–10:15 am             Seminar I: The Promise of the Garden

  • Genesis 1-3
  • Plato, Symposium (selections)
  • Talmudic aphorisms

10:30 am–11:45 am            Seminar II: The Loss of the Garden

  • John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book IX

12 pm Lunch (not provided)

1:30 pm–2:45 pm                   Seminar III: The City of Man

  • Francis Bacon, Great Instauration (selections)
  • René Descartes, Discourse on Method, Fifth and Six Discourses

3:00 pm–4:15 pm                   Seminar IV: The New Creation, or The City of God

  • Revelation 22
  • C. S. Lewis, The Great Divorce (selections)
  • C. S. Lewis, The Last Battle (selections)

5:45 pm–7:30 pm                    Dinner

7:30 pm–8:30 pm                   Cocktail Hour

8:30 pm– 10:00 pm                The Hillbilly Thomists

Image by Sebastian Bergmann, licensed via Creative Commons. Image cropped.