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David Kern Apr 15, 2014

Welcome to Round 2 of the 2014 Great Books Bracket.

Round 1 was, shall we say, full of surprises. It appears that the Lutherans banded together and pushed Martin Luther's Bondage of the Will through to the second round in a fairly monumental upset over Aristotle's seminal and incredibly important Organon. That or a lot of you just don't like logic. Meanwhile, in the same bracket, Euclid's Works managed to secure the similarly surprising upset against the works of the Cappadocian Fathers. Our response: No comment.

Joshua Gibbs Apr 11, 2014

With Holy Week now upon us, I suspect at least a few theology teachers across the country are taking a break from their regular schedules for an investigation of the Gospel’s account of those days leading up to the Crucifixion. 

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David Kern Apr 9, 2014

So now that the NCAA College Basketball Tournament is over and you are thoroughly annoyed that you didn't win Warren Buffett's billion dolllar challenge, it's time to vote on a real bracket: The CiRCE Institute's 2014 Great Books Bracket. 

Bobby Hardin Apr 8, 2014

"They were not going to school to learn where they were, let alone the pleasures and pains of being there, or what ought to be said there.  You couldn't learn those things in a school.  They went to school, apparently, to say over and over again, regardless of where they were, what had already been said too often.  They learned to have a very high opinion of God and a very low opinion of his works-- although they could tell you this world had been made by God Himself.

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Jason Faulkner Apr 7, 2014

In his book To Know as We Are Known: Education as a Spiritual Journey, Parker Palmer discusses the (d)evolution of the image and purpose of knowledge. To paraphrase, Palmer posits that in pre-modern times, knowledge was approached lovingly, reverently, and for the purposes of drawing a knower into a deeper communion with the known—that “hidden wholeness” of creation of which Merton speaks.

Andrew Kern Apr 6, 2014

We think to determine three things: whether something is true, whether something should be done, and whether something commands our appreciation. In other words, we think to know truth, goodness, and beauty.

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Andrew Kern Apr 6, 2014

I suppose it must be theoretically possible to create an ethic without God or a god, but historically in the west it's been a problem.

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Andrew Kern Apr 6, 2014

The great argument of the "new atheism," as of most atheisms of the old stripe, seems to be that "you can't prove the existence of God."

In other words, using the tools of science, you can't prove the existence of something that transcends science.

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Andrew Kern Apr 5, 2014

The absence of God is evident in many ways in our culture. For example, we are not a praying culture and in fact our government is formally opposed to identifying with any particular groups prayers. We take the wisdom of this for granted, but a historical sense shows how unnervingly rarely we find parallel states.

One place I find the absence of God a little surprising, though, is in modern translations of the Bible. Let me give an example.

In Luke 1:41, we read in the older versions something like this: 

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Joshua Gibbs Apr 4, 2014

As a teacher of teenagers, and a former teenager myself, I have often heard and spoken of a person’s capacity to “handle this movie.” We speak less frequently of a teenager’s ability to “handle this music,” and little at all of the ability to “handle this book.” The ability to “handle a movie” is typically staked in the intellectual and spiritual maturity of the would-be handler; a student with greater spiritual maturity is better able to “deal with” a movie or kind of music which liberally trades in the obscene.

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