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The next First Things Intellectual Retreat 
will take place this August in New York City.

More information is available here.

First Things is pleased to invite our readers to Waco, Texas for a memorable weekend of seminars and lectures on The Good of Marriage. Participants will have the opportunity to explore texts alongside scholars and First Things writers and editors, discussing ideas and questions about marriage, romance, and courtship in small-group seminars.

No expertise or academic prerequisites are required to participate. If you enjoy reading First Things and discussing the ideas found in its pages, this event is for you. Discussions will take place in small seminar sections led by faculty from Baylor University Honors College. Participants will explore substantial texts and questions of great significance in an environment animated by a spirit of friendship and common purpose.

This is a rare opportunity to get together with like-minded individuals to talk about big, timeless ideas and how they inform our understanding of the issues that occupy our culture today.


Observers of contemporary society have long acknowledged an increasing confusion about the nature of love as well as an impoverished understanding of marriage and married life. These conditions undermine human flourishing and pose a challenge to thoughtful people of faith who recognize the limits of modernity’s offerings.

Participants in this retreat will take up philosophical, theological, and literary texts from antiquity and the classical Christian and Jewish traditions to explore the nature of love and marriage as well as their relation to transcendence, faith, beauty, and reason.

By entering into conversation with texts from these traditions and considering perspectives largely foreign to modern culture, participants will discover truths that will enable them to live better lives and confidently propose alternatives to those in our age who wish to do likewise.


The First Things Intellectual Retreat will be held from Friday evening, May 19 to Sunday morning, May 21, 2017 at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

Friday, May 19, 2017
6:00 p.m. Cocktail reception
7:00 p.m. Dinner & Lecture: Thomas Hibbs, Dean of the Baylor University Honors College

Saturday, May 20, 2017
8:15 a.m. Continental breakfast (optional)
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Seminar discussions – all participants will attend all seminars through the course of the day.

15-20 participants per group
Lunch & scheduled breaks throughout the day

6:00 p.m. Cocktail reception
7:00 p.m. Dinner & Panel Discussion

Sunday, May 21, 2017
9:00 a.m. Continental breakfast (optional)
9:30 a.m. Musical performance, with remarks

11:00 am End of Intellectual Retreat

Dress code: Business casual attire for cocktail receptions and dinners. Casual attire for breakfast, lunch, and seminars.


All readings for the seminars will be taken from Wing to Wing, Oar to Oar: Readings on Courtship and Marrying, edited by Leon and Amy Kass. Participants will be mailed a complimentary copy upon registration, with a list of the selected readings for each seminar. The topics of the seminars are as follows:

Session I – Kinds of Love, and the Modern Setting

Readings: Gilbert Meilaender, C. S. Lewis, William Tucker, Allan Bloom

Session II – Historical Views

Readings: Genesis, Thomas Aquinas, Desiderius Erasmus, Rainer Maria Rilke, Charles Darwin

Session III – A Wedding

Readings: William F. May, Denis De Rougemont, Leon and Amy Kass, Various marriage ceremonies and blessings

Session IV – Blessings of Married Life

Readings: Robert Farrar Capon, Sullivan Ballou, Robert Frost, Alexis de Tocqueville


Participants are responsible for their own accommodations. A limited number of rooms have been reserved at the Hilton Waco, which is located at 113 South University Parks Drive, near the campus of Baylor University. The rate is $125 per night. Rooms can be booked by clicking this link.


Cost: $550 per participant

You may make a deposit of $250, with the balance due at the event, or pay in full in advance. The fee covers seminar tuition, assigned text materials, and all meals, including two cocktail receptions and dinner talks with First Things editorial staff and faculty from Baylor University.

There are a limited number of seats available for graduate students and seminarians at the discounted rate of $250. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please send an email to with the subject “Intellectual Retreat Scholarship.” Final decisions on scholarships will be made by March 30 at the latest.

Companion tickets are available at $100 per ticket for participant companions who would like to attend the evening receptions and dinner lectures but are not attending the day seminars.

To register, please use the form below. Check the corresponding box to either make a partial deposit or to pay in full, and to purchase a companion ticket, if required. If you are registering two participants or more, please re-use the form to register one seminar participant at a time—let us know who are the members of your party by writing their names in the Comment Box. Please also use the Comment Box for any special requests, such as kosher or vegetarian meals, wheelchair access, etc.

If you would like to mail your registration, please include the same information along with your check and mail it to:

First Things
Attn: Intellectual Retreat
35 East 21st Street, Sixth Floor
New York, NY 10010

You may also register by telephone at 1-212-627-1985, or contact us at

Please note: The registration fee does not include travel to Waco, TX or hotel accommodations.

Retreat Cancellation Policy: For a full refund of tuition fees, please cancel with at least three weeks advance notice from the event’s date. We reserve the right to substitute speakers, change venues, cancel seminars, or cancel part of or the entire 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 days.

In partnership with:

Baylor University Honors College