|The below reflection on the 2023 Summer Schools is an excerpt from a longer article first published in the Christopher Dawson Centre Newsletter on 31 January 2023. To subscribe, please fill out this form. We don’t send too many newsletters, rather fewer with content rich, thought pieces intended to spark conversation and community.|
We have just concluded a sequence of three intensive summer schools, one week each, in New Testament Greek, Late Latin, and ‘Western Civilisation’. The Greek course was aimed at beginners who managed to read some 30 pages from the Gospels and Epistles, the Ten Commandments and the Genesis creation narrative, and a good bit of St John Chrysostom as well. The Latin course (for people with some prior experience) covered a range of very important literature including the greatest hymns of the western liturgy, theological and philosophical works, a few of the Carmina Burana, and a good selection of historical writing.
‘Western Civilisation’ was the third of our summer schools, a survey of the literature, history, philosophy, theology and art of the West from the earliest times until the present. It was taught by Xavier Young, Alex Sidhu, Karina Hepner and myself. We ran it for the first time in January 2022 as a pilot and were thrilled to be able to attract an even larger number of participants this time, so that we can confidently predict that it will be an annual fixture from now on for as long as we have breath in our bodies!
I should perhaps add that our ‘Western Civilisation’ programme is neither racist nor colonialist. Nor is it sexist or chauvinistic. It merely aims to run over the territory with necessary brevity and to describe some of the landmarks – ‘the best that has been thought and said’ – that made the West what it is.
We have been asked to offer our summer schools online. Personally, I don’t think the ‘Zoom’ environment works well for this kind of teaching and I fear that we have to go against the flow (which is fast becoming a torrent) and insist on the unique value of face-to-face teaching. That means that Hobart (aka The Athens of the South) remains the only foreseeable option for enthusiasts. That said, I have taught summer schools elsewhere by invitation (in Australia and overseas) and would do so again if there were sufficient local interest.
With best wishes for 2023,
|Photos from our Summer School 2023 |
‘Overview of the Western Tradition’
Row 1 from L-R:
(Photo 1) Dr David Daintree, Ms Karina Hepner, Mr Xavier Young
(Photo 2) Mr Xavier Young presenting on Theology
Row 2 from L-R:
(Photo 1) Mr Alex Sidhu presenting on Philosophy
(Photo 2) Summer School participants perusing Dr David Daintree’s original manuscript collection after a session on Manuscript Production
Recommended reading list from Mr Alex Sidhu, who gave a lecture on Philosophy at our ‘Overview of the Western Tradition’ 2023 Summer School.
Aristotle, ‘The Nicomachean Ethics’
Alasdair MacIntyre, ‘A Short History of Ethics’
Julia Annas, ‘Ancient Philosophy’
Daniel J. Sullivan, ‘An Introduction to Philosophy’
Frederick Copleston, S.J. ‘A History of Philosophy: Greece & Rome, Volume I Part III’