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St. John's College

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Jacob Klein was, first and last, every inch a teacher, a teacher who stymied discipleship in the very effort to induce learning. He did, indeed, have some teachings to convey—a few, though those were powerful and of large consequence... Editor's Note: This essay was read as...
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Please join Peter Kalkavage as he discusses the metaphysics of music: music's role in the liberal arts, the paradox in the union of rational and irrational, order and feeling in its composition, and music's connection and reflection of the deeper order of the natural...
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In Modernity, the capacity for effortless knowing is denied, ignored, or misunderstood. As a result, the origin of all knowledge is taken as unaided human effort and activity... The Two Modes of the Mind
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Liberal arts, taught correctly, are essential in a liberal democratic republic. A liberal arts education can prepare citizens for life in a republic that cherishes its liberty... Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords readers the opportunity to join Miguel Monjardino as he explores the necessity of...
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In the St. Matthew Passion, Bach indulges his gypsy soul. It is as though Bach, in his broad and deep humanity, his capacity for feeling all kinds and degrees of sorrow and joy, was reaching out to all his fellow human beings, believers and non-believers alike, and...
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We find joy when we lose the self in activity, in those good things that are outside ourselves: making art, doing science, playing sports, educating the young, or caring for the old and disabled. Joy is nature's way of telling us that we are fulfilling our nature...
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Your world needs you; it needs your desire to understand it, your openness to what it has to teach you, your acceptance of its imperfections, and your sincere wish and best efforts to be useful to it because you care for it as it has cared for you, however...
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At St. John’s I learned how to struggle with fate—before I was even capable of truly grasping what fate might possibly be—as I viewed what it meant to be human through the eyes of war-like Achilleus and as I wandered with crafty Odysseus, searching for my own...
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Entertaining questions requires wisdom, a considering, reflecting frame of a mind still resonating with past experience but now focused by desirous expectation. Otherwise put: Questions are a mode of blessed ignorance, a thorough apprehension of our own cognitive limitations which clears our minds of mere opinions and,...
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Founded in 1696, St. John's College has a unique history as one of America's first, and leading, liberal arts institutions. St. John's (campuses in Annapolis and Santa Fe) explores the great books of Western Civilization through seminar discussions. As Christopher Nelson (President, St. John's College, Annapolis)...

In the post-truth society, your facts are not my facts, and lies by political figures are greeted with indifference. Judged by past standards, citizens of a post-truth society have no real experience and no capacity for critical thinking...
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The vivid love-speeches of the Symposium come to us, reach us, through several layers of incomplete remembrance, and as though from a mythic past... Symposium (or Drinking Party) by Plato, translated and edited by Eva Brann, Peter Kalkavage, and Eric Salem (Hackett, 2017)
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The one incident in Cervantes’s huge novel that has become American folklore is Don Quixote’s adventure with the windmills. As it happens, it contains, almost incidentally, the Don’s own statement of the crux of his life, the...
St. Johns College
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We want to give our students a classroom in which inciting books are talked about not as mere literature nor as historical documents, but boldly as they meant themselves to be taken: as the Word of God, or the insight of the intellect, or the wisdom of...