Friday, October 8, 2010

Week 7: October 11-15


1.  Bondage of the Will.  Read through chapter 4, pages 137 to 189. 
2.  A Place to Stand: The Word of God in the Life of Martin Luther by Gene Edward Veith.  Continue reading through this biography.  Read to enjoy.  The book is approximately 225 pages long.  Try to get half-way through it this week.
3.  How Should We Then Live?  by Francis Schaeffer.  FINISH THE BOOK. The discussion questions will need to be completed this week.
4.  Hamlet by Shakespeare.  We will continue reading/acting out this play.
5.  The Story of Christianity, Volume 1, by Justo Gonzalez. Read Chapters 31-33. 
6.  Western Civilizations by Jackson J. Spielvogel.  Read Chapters 11-12.

7.  Extra Readings:  Punic Wars and Culture Wars, chapter 15 and A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman, selected chapters.

Monday:  Holiday: No School in Honor of the Achievements of Christopher Columbus
 "I am a most noteworthy sinner, but I have cried out to the Lord for grace and mercy, and they have covered me completely. I have found the sweetest consolation since I made it my whole purpose to enjoy His marvellous Presence. "  Christopher Columbus
Tuesday:  Birthday of Christopher Dawson (1889-1970)!

"As I have pointed out, it is the Christian tradition that is the most fundamental element in Western culture. It lies at the base not only of Western religion,
but also of Western morals and Western social idealism." 
Christopher Dawson

Background to the Reformation
Topics:  Wycliffe, Hus, the Brethren of the Common Life, Thomas a' Kempis, the Papal Schism, the Calamitious 14th Century, the Renaissance, Dante, Machiavelli, Columbus, and much more.

Examine Books, Chapters, and Themes of the High Middle Ages.

Wednesday:  Who were the Brethren of the Common Life?  And what do we owe to them?

Reading and research in the books on the High Middle Ages and the Renaissance

Thursday:  Reading, Writing, & Research Projects:
1.  Discussion Questions from How Should We Then Live?

2.  High Middle Ages and Renaissance Reports

Friday:   Continue Research Projects

Reading from and/or watching Hamlet

More Regarding Historian Christopher Dawson:

from on Tuesday, April 15, 2008

More on Christopher Dawson

Concerning books, a visitor to the home of Christopher Dawson once wrote:

"It is an old and hackneyed idea to have a library in one's house; it is a new and rewarding idea to have a house in one's library."

The same visitor wrote:

"The practice of having volumes--and such splendid ones--in every room is, I think, an altogether wonderful idea: one not only has the world of learning at one's fingertips, but at one's elbows, coat tails, and collar buttons."

(From Sanctifying the World: An Augustinian Life and Mind of Christopher Dawson by Bradly Birzer.)

For those who are wondering what to read by Christopher Dawson, I offer the following annotated recommendations:

1. One of the best books to begin reading Dawson with is the excellent collection of his essays found in Christianity and European Culture: Selections from the Work of Christopher Dawson, edited by Gerald Russello (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1998). This book includes the whole of another Dawson book titled The Historic Reality of Christian Culture: A Way to the Renewal of Human Life. The essays in this collection include the topics of Christian culture, Christianity and history, and the impact of secularism.

2. Another work focusing on a Christian philosophy of history is The Dynamics of World History, which outlines Dawson’s Christian distinctives in regard to history. This book begins with ten essays on the sociological foundations of history. This is followed by another ten essays on different broad aspects of history. The second half of the book deals with how Christianity provides meaning with history, and the last part examines key historians, ranging from St. Augustine to Karl Marx to Arnold Toynbee.

3. Religion and the Rise of Western Culture and The Making of Europe are both useful surveys of the impact of Christianity upon European cultural history. Both of these books survey movements and events in European history from the end of the Roman Empire up through the latter Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

4. More on the Medieval period is found in Medieval Essays, which has played a key role in the whole field of Medieval studies. This book is a topical study and also includes chapters on Medieval literature, including discussions of Dante’s Divine Comedy and Langdon’s Piers Plowman.

5. The Dividing of Christendom surveys events from the Renaissance and Reformation through the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. Certainly, my historical sympathies are much closer to Luther and Calvin than was Dawson’s. But even though he might not always have judged history “correctly,” Dawson always judged it judiciously and insightfully. His insights into the further theological, political, and philosophical developments after Europe’s spiritual unity was fractured are most worthy of consideration.

6. The French Revolution and other revolutionary upheavals are given more coverage in The Gods of Revolution and The Movement of World Revolution Dawson’s historical studies focused on the larger movements rather than biographies and source materials. His aim was to examine the impact of culture in its broader dimensions.

7. The Crisis of Western Education first appeared in 1961. It was an appeal to Catholics, making making a strongly defended case for the necessity for Christian education. But we Protestants find much to "Amen" in this call for Christian schooling. Notice just this one quote: “But for the Christian the past can never be dead, as it often seems to the secularist, since we believe the past and the present are united in the one Body of the Church and that the Christians of the past are still present as witnesses and helpers in the life of the Church today.”

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