17 June 2019
On 10 May Greg Sheridan spoke to a capacity audience on his new best seller God is Good for You. The tough-minded foreign editor of The Australian is a Christian and proud to say so. He defends Christianity from a position of strength: he is intellectually formidable, morally courageous and thoroughly well informed.
His book is not all cheerful reading. The introduction offers a thoroughly grim survey of the current state of Christianity: throughout the West Christianity is in steep decline. The proportion of Australians claiming to be Christian is now just over half – and in free fall.
The rest of the book falls into two sections. The first explains what Christians actually believe (as opposed to what is commonly imputed to them), why belief is intrinsically reasonable, the good that Christianity does, and the problem of evil. Sheridan’s fundamental optimism emerges: reason, he insists, is impossible without belief, and atheism is death to the human spirit.
The second section is the fruit of Sheridan’s probing interviews with politicians: Peter Costello, Bill Shorten, Penny Wong, Malcolm Turnbull, Kevin Rudd, Kristina Keneally, John Howard stand out. Surprisingly, perhaps, all claim to be believers.
Sheridan’s honest acceptance of reality gives his book a power it could not otherwise have. We are deeply grateful to him for a superb lecture, now available online in full.
The recent death (17 April) of Fr James Schall SJ, deserves a note. Schall was a spirited defender of Christian Culture who taught that education for the whole of life should be a higher priority than mere vocational training, and that to grow up without adequate moral and cultural grounding is to be tragically stunted: ‘we are living in a time where the logic of disorder is at work, rejecting systematically the logic of being a human being.’ His Another Sort of Learningis a wonderful collection of essays. Karl Schmude has a fine obituary in the Catholic Weekly.
Finally a thought on Israel Folau. Several faiths make exclusive demands on their adherents. Christianity is one, Islam another. Arguably Marxism is another, for its power to convert and persuade has the force of a religion. Should these ‘faiths’ be denied the right to express their views in public? ‘In no manner is it lawful to act against conscience, even though a Law…commands it,’ quotes Cardinal Newman. Today the obligations of conscience and the prohibitions of civil law are on a collision course.
ANNUAL CHRISTOPHER DAWSON CENTRE COLLOQUIUM, 29 JUNE, 2019
‘REBUILDING THE WALLS OF SION’
On Saturday 29 June 2019 the Christopher Dawson Centre for Cultural Studies will host its fifth annual colloquium in Hobart. The colloquium will conclude with a panel discussion and a closing dinner in the evening. The venue is the Frances Parsons Building, Jane Franklin Hall, 6 Elboden Street, South Hobart
Visit our website for more details and the Call for Papers.
The guest-of-honour and speaker at the Colloquium Dinner will be Senator the Honourable Jonathon Duniam.
COLLOQUIUM 2019 TIMETABLE
Registration and Coffee
Introduction – David Daintree
Session 1 – Karl Schmude
The Qualities of Christian Civilisation: the Transcendence of Goodness, Truth and Beauty.
Session 2 – Graham McDonald
Christianity and Jesus – an Inconvenient Truth.
Session 3 – Clara Geoghegan
Answering Gnosticism in the 21st Century:
‘…Gnosticism was and still is a spiritual parasite which uses other religions as “carriers”
Session 4 – Dr Peter Cunich
Praying for the Dead: the Role of intercessory Prayer in the Construction and Maintenance of Christian Communities
Session 5 – Philippa Martyr
‘Your Healing Shall Spring Up’: psychological and spiritual interventions for rebuilding a wounded Church
Session 6 – Annette Young
Sparking Joy in a Wowser Culture: Lessons from Babette’s Feast (1987)
Session 7 – Brendan Triffett
Only the Rest of God Can Save Us: On Resisting ‘The Nothing’ by Abiding in the Divine Order
Address: Senator the Hon Jonathon Duniam
ROME SUMMER SCHOOL IN LATIN 7-20 JULY
The goal is to examine two millennia of Roman and Italian culture – art as well as literature – through the medium of the Latin Language which is common to the whole tradition. We shall read pieces by the major writers of the Classical Canon and by their successors in Medieval and Renaissance times. Genres will include Epic Poetry, Oratory, Philosophy and History, Scripture and Liturgy. More details here.
MEDIEVAL LATIN SUMMER SCHOOL
13-17 JANUARY 2020
Latin is arguably the mother tongue of Europe. Its literature is immensely rich. This course will offer a general introduction to post-classical Latin, poetry and prose, sacred and secular. We shall also look at passages of older material that remained highly influential in the later period (e.g. Scripture, Virgil). There will be an introduction to palaeography, including an opportunity to handle original manuscripts.
NEW TESTAMENT GREEK SUMMER SCHOOL
20-24 JANUARY 2020
An intensive course in the koineGreek of the New Testament. It will be a continuation of last summer’s course, but is also suitable for virtual beginners who are willing to undertake some serious preliminary work on the Greek alphabet. We shall read passages from the Epistles and Gospels, as well as the Septuagint and Christian literature of the apostolic age.
The January Summer Schools will be held at Jane Franklin Hall (a college of the University of Tasmania), 6 Elboden Street, South Hobart. Write to me directly for further information.
With best wishes to all,
David Daintree, Director