David Kern Aug 29, 2014

Towards the beginning of his book, Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, Michael Pollan notes that Henry Fielding once referred to The Odyssey as “Homer's wonderful book about eating”. As a wannabe chef I love this; as a literature enthusiast and student I'm intrigued by it. And I think we get our first glimpse of this possiblity here in book three.

Andrew Kern Aug 27, 2014

This afternoon, I will be participating in a Podcast on Hamlet in which I hope to invite people to read Shakespeare's play and to look for what is obvious. Meanwhile, I'm reading the Iliad for the Apprenticeship and have been thinking quite a bit about how to read and to teach it. 

Brian Phillips Jul 3, 2014

I see now why there are no adequate translations of Homer.  He is baffling.  Not simple, in education; not primitive, socially ... There's a queer naivety in every other line: and at our remove of thought and language we can't say if he's smiling or not ... I have tried to squeeze out all the juice in the orange; or what I thought was the juice.  I tried to take liberties with the Greek: but failed.  Homer compels respect.

David Kern May 2, 2014

And so the end draws near. We - those of us who have voted - have narrowed down our list of sixty-four Great Books to just eight. Still standing are Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, both of which won their round of sixteen matchups easily, Plato's Republic, which narrowly (51% of the vote) escaped the pesky Beowulf, Virgil's Aeneid, and four books from Christendom: Augustine's Confessions, Thomas à Kempis' Imitation of Christ, Dante's Divine Comedy, and Milton's Paradise Lost.  

David Kern Apr 21, 2014

Welcome to the Sweet 16 of the 2014 Great Books bracket. In round two Aristotle took a beating, Shakespeare was eliminated altogether, and Homer won handily. None of the matchups were very close at all and there were no significant upsets at all. 

Here is the update bracket. 


And here's the more detailed breakdown of the round 2 matchups. 


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.

Andrew Kern Feb 10, 2014

Rod Dreher has been following a reflection by Tony Woodlief over HERE:  The article by Tony and the comments by Rod were so provocative (in the good sense) that I got carried away and wrote what became too long a comment. 

Here's what I wrote, but I have to urge you to read the original article and post (and also Rod's follow-up posts on his blog):

Brian Phillips Oct 17, 2013


Christian Classical education is “logo-centric” (among other things) – driven by language, in love with words, books, literature, truth; both logos and the Logos. Living in a time of confused and devalued language, then, proves difficult for many of us. To use one example, the title of “classic” can now apply to any book people are still talking about after a month or so. And to make sure the label of “classic” sticks a smattering of specific categories has been created: “modern classic”, “cult classic”, “destined to be a classic”, and so on. 

Andrew Kern Jun 26, 2013

The highest high point of classical education was its beginning. There never has been and never will be a poet as perfect as Homer. All of the Greeks acknowledged that he was their teacher. All of them walked down trails he blazed. Nobody compares but Moses and Christ.

David Kern Jun 18, 2013

As you perhaps know we are currently at the beautiful Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock, NC for the CiRCE Summer Institute, this year a conversation about Homer's epic poem, The Odyssey. Mr. Jonathan Councell, our friend from Veritas Classical School in Asheville, NC volunteered to journal his experience here at the retreat. The following is his day 1 experience.