Let us suppose that sometime in the mid 19th century, a primitive animist tribe dwelling in uncharted jungle encounters a Western missionary who, amidst horrific gasping and choking, claims to be in possession of a holy book, a salvific book, a book from God himself, and then falls over dead. At the exact moment of his expiration, sweet rain pours forth from a cloudless sky, and the oldest and most venerable priest of the tribe confirms the benevolence of the omen. The dead missionary carries no portmanteau and his hands are empty.
This summer, my Medieval literature students are reading Chesterton’s biography of St. Francis of Assisi, and we will begin this Fall with a discussion of the book. Some students will express confusion or horror at the ascetic practices of St. Francis and they will need such habits explained. I tell them the logic of asceticism is already inextricably (though invisibly) bound to many aspects of their Christian walk, but that asceticism is also bound to a host of secular matters.
One. When classicists refer to Truth, Beauty, and Goodness, the Beauty of which they speak is almost always artistic Beauty. Artistic Beauty is a far safer subject to broach than physical Beauty. We enjoy talking of the Beauty of Rembrandt, Botticelli, or Bach. The Beauty of Claudia Schiffer or George Clooney strikes us as a bit tawdry, though. Artistic Beauty is diplomatic and agreeable, while physical Beauty has the power to offend.
The full text of the lecture I delivered last week in Austin, Texas.
Set in 1987. Warren Hays is 40 and works at a University library. He is the great grandson of Will Hays, founder of the Hays Code. Hays graduated with a master’s degree in classics from Notre Dame. He moved to LA after he graduated and tried to win fame as a standup comic. His schtick was a skewed mockery of modernity staked in little history lessons on 17th and 18th century European history. No one thought it was funny. Successful comedians only spoke of pain and depravity. He became disillusioned. After several years, he left LA and was deeply in debt.
At the Society for Classical Learning conference in Dallas last month, I gave a lecture on writing and using catechisms in the classroom. Before writing a catechism for my classroom last year, I wrote an essay on what I hoped to accomplish; a year later, I can report the use of a catechism in the classroom was a complete success in every way I hoped, but also offered additional benefits I could not have predicted.
An excerpt from "Carrie," a short story by Joshua Gibbs
God created all things in six days. Some Christians allege that Christ created all things anew in three, and the last two thousand years has seen many other bold and valiant claims about the power of man. It might be said that Gutenberg reinvented humanity, or that Copernicus reinvented the heavenly bodies, or that Edison and Ford reinvented society, but in Galton Sanger alone can man claim to have reinvented every last thing.
Mexico is extremely rich in its poverty and I see that in food. When you have "nothing to eat," you have to eat anything and everything. A few years ago, I went to Oaxaca with Alejandro Ruiz. We wanted to visit the coastal part of Oaxaca. And we The first stop was in Cuquila. So it's a coffee farm. There's this guy named Roberto. He was making a sauce. You know, molcajete. And I was starving because it was a long trip. Directly, I went to the kitchen to grab something to eat and I saw Roberto. He was making the sauce and I ate it.
"Menus," by Blaise Cendrars
Truffled green turtle liver
Iguana with Caribbean sauce
Gumbo and palmetto
Red River salmon
Canadian bear ham
Roast beef from the meadows of Minnesota
San Francisco tomatoes
Pale ale and California wine
Scottish leg of lamb
Royal Canadian apples
Old French wines
I woke this morning and in the early dawn light filtering through the windows, Michelangelo's David stood over my wife's side of the bed. The figure was exactly David, the outline of the head and the curve of the shoulders. After a moment, I realized I was seeing not an enigma, but a pareidolia, the same phenomenon of the mind which finds faces in clouds.