Weekly Reading - Plato

When I started studying political philosophy in graduate school, the emphasis was on the classics and above all, Plato. Augustine, the Church Fathers, and Bonaventure only kept reinforcing this as I got farther and farther into theology. Here Mark Vernon gives a fair rundown on how Plato somehow stands across Western thinking. Part 1: Why Plato?Part 2: Who was Plato’s Socrates?Part 3: Philosophy as a way of lifePart 4: What do you love?

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Weekly Reading - Calvin

I’ve been looking forward to this, since despite being a Catholic theologian who’s firmly convinced that double predestination is a horrible blasphemy, I’ve always admired Calvin as a theologian. The sheer architectural brilliance and comprehensive nature of his thought inspires a kind of intellectual awe. If I had landed at a Reformed college rather than a Catholic one (Deo gratias), I could easily have wound up a Calvinist. In belated commemoration of his deathiversary (May 27, 1564), here’s the Weekly Reader on John Calvin.

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Masons & Catholics, no Monty Python

“Indeed, much of European and American politics over the past two centuries has involved a running and often bitter confrontation between Masons and Catholics. Why is that?" Follow the link to see why, as Philip Jenkins continues his discussion. It also shows how much, perhaps, of the past had to be forgotten to reach our more ecumenical age. I’m sure the reporter who asked me about this was expecting to hear that there was no problem any more.

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Weekly Reading - Aquinas

When I was in elementary school, I vaguely remember something called the Weekly Reader that functioned like a newspaper for children. A lot of water and a great many books have gone under the bridge since then, but I thought a Weekly Reading post might be fun to keep up. The Guardian has a whole series going on major thinkers, and we’ll be reviewing what they have to say on Calvin, Plato, and Spinoza before we’re through.

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Odd Combo: Freemasonry, Monty Python, Catholicism

“You absolutely cannot understand the British Empire without masonry” Monty Python was right! But still interesting; I’m going to look forward to the next few posts along these lines. Always admired Philip Jenkins’s scholarship. Ironically, a few years ago, a reporter asked me about the prohibition against Catholics becoming Masons. I’d thought it had dropped out, but it turned out that it’s still in force. [youtube [www.youtube.com/watch](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddM7kJ9xQfA])

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How I feel at the end of the academic year (h/t Professor Wagstaff)

Some day, Faculty Assembly, some day… [youtube www.youtube.com/watch

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Moleskine over Macbook FTW

Why students using laptops learn less in class even when they really are taking notes "Writing by hand activates the brain in ways that typing doesn’t to improve learning." Always thought this was true; nice to have some evidence to back it up. Even better: it’s an argument for banning the laptops in class! But then that assumes that student longhand is good enough to keep up… UPDATE: If you like the idea, here’s a set of Moleskine notebooks at Amazon.

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And Jesus said to Simon...

And Jesus said to Simon, Son of Jonah B.A. (Philosophy, Oxford), ‘Who do you say that I am?’ And he replied, ‘Given a) the probability that God exists, that is, given fine-tuning, the kalam cosmological argument and the low probability of atheism being true given the modal form of the ontological argument, and given b) the compatibility of incarnation with the prescriptions of Perfect Being theology and given c) the apparently inexplicable things you’re reported to have done (though, given that this is early in your ministry, ideally I’d need to see a few more), and given d) defeaters to the counter-argument from the Biblically defined role of the Messiah, I’d guesstimate that, on a Bayesian account, there is a conditional probability of at least 0.

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Pre-movie tea!


Vocational advice for first-year students

How to Find Your Vocation in College | Intercollegiate Review: College is both a place where you learn things and a phase of your life. For many of those with the opportunity to go to college—and never despise those who don’t—it is a transition between childhood, living with your parents, and independent adulthood. So it is a time for seeking, preparing for, and finding vocations. (Not just in the sense of jobs.

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"There is occasions and causes why and wherefore in all things."
- Fluellen, Henry V, 5.1