Category Archives: Subject areas

Hamlet’s Split Soliloquy

Years ago, a student became notorious at our college for arguing that Hamlet’s famous “To Be or Not To Be” soliloquy is not about suicide. It became the subject of Soren’s senior thesis, which led him to draft a book … Continue reading

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Hamlet and the Problem of Conscience

Originally published in the St. Austin Review (March/April 2016) Introduction I have never really liked Hamlet, neither the character nor the play. The character I found too full of self-doubts, too wistfully desirous of death as a solution to his … Continue reading

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Tolkien Essays

I just added a page featuring three of my essays on Tolkien’s works, which have meant so much to me from the time I encountered them as a teenager.

Posted in Classical Education, Literature | Leave a comment

The Frenzy of Philosophy

For the second semester in a row, I handed out copies of “What I Learn From Exams”. Last year, it led to intense in-class discussions about what grades mean to students, and about aspects of our college’s culture that inadvertently … Continue reading

Posted in Living It, Philosophy, Reflections on the Books | 1 Comment

Unexpected Classroom Enchantment

A few weeks ago, I was not looking forward to my morning class. Family health care issues had gotten me down, and I had little energy or inspiration for Sophomore Language. The translation assignment I had given them I did … Continue reading

Posted in Classical Education, For Teachers, Languages, Living It, Theology, Trivium | Leave a comment

Five Definitions of Man

Five Definitions of Man Am I a monster more complicated and swollen with passion than the serpent Typho, or a creature of a gentler and simpler sort, to whom Nature has given a diviner and lowlier destiny? Socrates, Phaedo I … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Reflections on the Books, Theology | Leave a comment

Questions, Opinions, and the Philosophic Life I, with Quotations from Authorities

I gave a talk this week at our college (Thomas Aquinas College) which I entitled, “Questions, Opinions, and the Philosophic Life”. In it, after sharing something of my experience as a sometimes joyfully, sometimes painfully driven questioner, I tried to … Continue reading

Posted in Living It, Philosophy, Reflections on the Books | 3 Comments

Sacra Doctrina Project

John Brungardt informs us of a promising new initiative that ‘aims to contribute to the Church’s longstanding tradition of seeking a knowledge through causes that is certain and evident about the source of our salvation that is still, at its height, … Continue reading

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Discussing Elijah

I had a wonderful discussion of Elijah’s journey to Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 19) with St. Augustine Academy students. You never know where discussions will lead, and what students will come up with, if you can get students to talk, … Continue reading

Posted in Living It, Reflections on the Books, Theology | 1 Comment

Towards Reforming High School Math and Science

…If I had to design a mechanism for the express purpose of destroying a child’s natural curiosity and love of pattern-making, I couldn’t possibly do as good a job as is currently being done— I simply wouldn’t have the imagination … Continue reading

Posted in Math and Science, Quadrivium, Secondary Education | 1 Comment