Instructor: Joseph Pearce and Leta Sundet
Semester: Spring 2022
Time: Mondays, 7 - 9p.m. EDT
Dates: February 7 - March 7

Go deeper into the brilliance of the Bard with Joseph Pearce, author of three books on Shakespeare and editor of the Ignatius Critical Editions of each of the five Shakespeare’s plays which will be studied in this five-week course. Students will discover how Shakespeare’s greatest plays show us timeless and timely truths about the world in which we find ourselves. Going deeper into Shakespeare is going deeper into life! Each two-hour session will consist of a lecture by Joseph Pearce, followed by class discussion led by Leta Sundet. 

Instructor: Vigen Guroian
Semester: Spring 2022
Time: Wednesdays, 5 – 7 p.m. EDT
Dates: March 30 – April 27

You will forgive the teacher’s self-indulgence. I make no pretension of method in the selection of poets or poems other than my own desire to present some favorite poetry in a setting where a rich reflection on their content and meaning may take place. Robert Frost’s poem “Directive” may not be the first poem most think of when Frost’s name is mentioned.  But I assure you it is one of his best. It is a haunting reminder of the transience of life and yet an affirmation also, even a Christian affirmation, of the meaningfulness of human work, play, and community.   Wendell Berry’s “Meditation on the Spring Rain” may reveal a perhaps  unexpected  sacramentality but is also playful and humorous. The language of  Richard Wilbur’s “Lying” may initially perplex. But closer attention shows that Wilbur is teaching us about the figural nature of all meaningful speech.  And as for T. S. Eliot, well, his poem “The Wasteland” has achieved an emblematic status as a poem that takes us through wreckage of Western Civilization in search  of a renewal of the spirit. There will be other poems to discuss. But let this serve as an introduction.

Instructor: Dr. Tracy Lee Simmons
Semester: Spring 2022
Time: Thursdays, 7–9 p.m. EDT
Dates: February 10 - March 10

What happens when adventures upon the high seas, far-flung islands, and among outlying colonies are seasoned with a fine-tuned sensibility and a profound knowledge of the human heart? We find ourselves in the presence of Joseph Conrad, a born Pole and former merchant seaman, whose masterly hand with the English language strikes as all the more impressive when we realize that English was his third language. Together we shall read a stout smattering of short fiction (including one novella) that put Conrad on the map of high literature.

Instructor: Dr. Frank Russell
Semester: Spring 2022
Time: Thursdays, 7–9 p.m. EDT
Dates: January 6 – February 3

It has been said that Thucydides is often quoted but rarely read – which is indeed a pity. His masterwork, the Peloponnesian War, is the first (and in some ways the greatest) example of a critical analysis of historical events. At the same time, it is a tragedy in the tradition of the iconic Athenian playwrights, in which the heights and depths of human nature are explored. In this class, we will devote ourselves to a close reading of this work, to grapple with Thucydides’ insights into our enduring dilemmas as citizens – reconciling the demands of justice and expediency, freedom and security, and popular consensus and individual wisdom.

Instructor: Dr. Carol Reynolds
Semester: Spring 2022
Time: Mondays, 7–9 p.m. EDT
Dates: January 3–April 18

Using masterworks of Romantic/Early Modern literature, we will explore together two archetypal themes: the conflict between Good and Evil; and man’s struggle to find meaning.  Goethe’s rollicking (I mean that), earth-shattering play Faust, Part I (1808) will set the frame for us. Then, we will proceed through Gogol’s ironic (and prophetic) short story The Nose (1836), Dostoevsky’s probing novel The Brother’s Karamazov (1880), Tolstoy’s incomparable novel Anna Karenina (1878), and conclude with Chekhov’s searing play The Cherry Orchard (1903). 

Instructor: Dr. Jay Wile
Term: Spring 2022
Time: Tuesdays 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. EDT
Dates: January 4–April 19

The great natural philosopher Blaise Pascal wrote, “Nature has some perfections to show that she is the image of God, and some defects to show that she is only His image.” In many ways, this profound statement summarizes the findings of scientists throughout history. In this course, we will read selections from Archimedes’ On Floating BodiesPtolemy’s Algamest, Bacon’s Opus Majus, Copernicus’ On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Kepler’s Epitome of Copernican Astronomy, Galileo’s The Two New Sciences, Pascal’s Account of the Great Experiment Concerning the Equilibrium of Fluids, Newton’s Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Newton’s Optics, Huygens’ Treatise on Light, Ray’s The Wisdom of God as Manifested in the Works of Creation, Lavosier’s Elements of Chemistry, and Darwin’s The Origin of Species. These selections will help students learn how natural philosophy built the foundations of modern science and the pivotal role the church played in shaping it.

Instructor: Dr. D.T. Sheffler
Term: Spring 2022
Time: Wednesdays 7:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. EDT
Dates: January 5–April 20

In this course we will attempt to formulate as a science what is really an art: the art of right living. We will reflect on the question, “How ought we to live? What is the good life for man?” This question, however, will draw us into further perennial questions about the very nature of goodness and duty, right action and right feeling, freedom and fate. These questions have been central to the conversation of the Great Books since the time when man learned to write, and we will see the same themes arise repeatedly in our texts over thousands of years. Hence, students will be asked to reflect both on their own answers to these questions and on the unfolding history of the questions themselves.

We will read: Plato, LachesGorgias; Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics I–III, X; Epictetus, Discourses; Aquinas, Summa Theologica I-II QQ.1–5; Hobbes, Leviathan (selections); Montaigne, Essays (selections); Spinoza, Ethics Part V; Locke, Essay Concerning Human Understanding (selections); Kant, Fundamental Principles of the Metaphysic of MoralsCritique of Practical Reason, I.II; Hegel, Philosophy of Right III.I; Mill, Utilitarianism; Darwin, The Descent of Man I.IV–V.