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Against Great Books

For many years, traditionalist thinkers have promoted the teaching of a set of core texts—the “great books”—as a vital element of a liberal arts education during a time when demands for multiculturalism led to the dismantling of a number of traditional programs of study. In more . . . . Continue Reading »

A Philosopher in the Twilight

In his preface to the Philosophy of Right, Hegel famously remarks that the owl of Minerva takes flight only as dusk is falling, which is to say that philosophy comes only at the end of an age, far too late in the day to tell us how the world ought to be; it can at most merely ponder what already . . . . Continue Reading »

Uncredentialed Wonder

He has authored over a dozen books, written a syndicated newspaper column and countless essays and articles covering a broad range of subjects—sports, politics, mobsters, union thugs, cultural touchstones, booze, and blades of grass—all of it written in a smart, literate voice of the casual sophisticate who takes his subject, but not himself, seriously. Continue Reading »

Newman in the Modern Classroom

I really think learning should be optional, ma’am.” This statement comes from one of my ninth graders in response to yet another lecture of mine on how important it is for students to bring their literature books to class—a particular hurdle in my case because I teach at a military school. . . . . Continue Reading »

To Be a Christian College

In 1877 some concerned citizens of Wheaton, Illinois, decided that they needed to do something about the strange little college that stood in the midst of their town. It had been there since the early 1850s, first as a Wesleyan school called the Illinois Institute and then—reinvented by Jonathan . . . . Continue Reading »

Kierkegaard for Grownups

That extraordinary writer of stories about the “Christ-haunted” American South, Flannery O’Connor, was frequently asked why her people and plots were so often outlandish, even grotesque. She answered, “To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you have to draw large and . . . . Continue Reading »

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