How deep does a graduate school language learner need to go?
One of the best pieces of advice that I ever received was to figure out who I am as a scholar. This directly affected my approach to learning languages because what I wanted to do directly affected the level to which I would study ancient and modern research languages.
It is a slippery statement to say that one “knows” a language. I remember filling out PhD applications and wondering whether or not I should say that I had a language and, if so, what level I was with the language. From the other side of that process, I think that I can see a paradigm-shift that may help aspiring scholars who find themselves in a similar dilemma: Know where you are headed. Continue reading »
Comment » | Academia
The evidence released today reveals that Joe Paterno actively concealed the molestation of children by Jerry Sandusky for over a decade.
The release today of the Freeh Report (it can be read in its entirety by clicking here) gave all of us in the general public access to an incredible amount of details surrounding the conviction of former Penn State linebacker’s coach Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky has already been convicted, and deservedly so. His acts were so monstrous that they are difficult to even consider. However, I do not want to focus on the figure of Sandusky in this post. Rather, I would like to focus on Joe Paterno, the iconic head football coach of Penn State who died of lung cancer shortly after news of Sandusky’s vile actions became public.
You see, the enigma of this man is deeply disturbing to me. And when I am disturbed I write. And I write, if for nothing else, because to do so is cathartic.
Continue reading »
19 comments » | Current Events
NB: As promised, this is the first part in a short series that will be summarizing and, at times, interacting with Mark Lilla’s The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West (Vintage, 2007).
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679)
Lilla’s work is a walk through the history of political theology and philosophy in the West. It begins by exploring the centrality of political theology, especially Christian political theology, for approximately 1300 years following Christianity’s rise to political power during the reign of Constantine. Political theology, as defined by Lilla, is “discourse about political authority based on a revealed divine nexus.” Lilla argues that, for the 1300 years following Constantine, political questions were approached by looking at the deity’s revelation at the divine nexus and interpreting that revelation in terms of political thought.
However, Thomas Hobbes’s work Leviathan (1651) changed everything. According to Lilla, Hobbes’s work brought on “The Great Separation” – his term describing the forced removal of political theology from political thought, as well as the title for his second chapter. Hobbes removed the divine nexus from conversation by claiming that humankind’s concept of God arises from people, particularly from their fear of a violent death. Furthermore, he posited that both religious and political conflict arise from this same source within human nature. Therefore, in order to end the theological-political violence that Christian Europe had been so deeply involved in, especially after the Reformation, Hobbes offered a two-part plan to achieve peace.
Hobbes’s plan deeply reflects his philosophical anthropology – that religious and political violence both come from the fear within each human being. The first part of the plan is to restore peace by placing an absolute sovereign over a nation – an earthly God – whose subjects would fear him above all others. The second part of Hobbes’s plan was to reform philosophy and the sciences, particularly at the university level, leaving only the experimental natural sciences and Leviathan, which he saw as the first genuine work of political science, to remain. Continue reading »
1 comment » | Intellectual History, Philosophy, Political Thought, Theology