Lectio Commedia: Dante, Poet of Hope

Beginning October 6th, every other Wednesday Dr. Mark McCullough (PhD in Humanities from the City University of New York) will facilitate a 45-minute discussion on one canto of Dante Alighieri’s masterwork The Divine Comedy at 12pm ET: the Lectio Commedia: Dante, Poet of Hope. This will be preceded by a reading of the canto with a brief commentary and explication on a given theme the Friday prior.

Join us as we explore the Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, walking in the footsteps of Dante and his guides, and putting a concrete presentation of evocative imagery to insightful Thomistic moral doctrine.

“One test of the great masters” wrote T.S. Eliot, “is that the appreciation of their poetry is a lifetime’s task, because at every stage of maturing—and that should be one’s whole life–you are able to understand them better.”

Of these masters, Eliot chose Dante as the one he owed more to than any other poet. He said the debt he owed Dante “is the kind which goes on accumulating, the kind which is not the debt of one period” but of his whole life.

Indeed, Dante is a poet for all seasons. His Divine Comedy is the summit of his poetic powers. No one can claim to be well-versed in the great literature of the Western Canon without having encountered Dante’s vision of hell, purgatory, and heaven.

Translator Dorothy Sayer’s admitted that few modern readers are able to appreciate Dante’s vision without understanding something of the poet’s theological, political, and personal background. Yet who among us has the time to tackle all of this?

To address this difficulty, I have designed a twice-a-month course on Dante’s Divine Comedy. Starting October 6 at 12 noon, and every other week thereafter, for one hour, we will discuss a canto or two together. I have taught Dante for many years and am currently writing a book on Dante and psychology. In this course, I welcome anyone who desires to understand Dante better.

I will be reading from a number of translations, including Mark Musa, Robert and Jean Hollander, and Allen Mandelbaum. Look for audio uploads of my reading and discussing Dante’s poetry.

Dr. McCullough

This program is open to all members of the Lyceum Institute. Enroll here today.

[2021 Fall] Thomistic Psychology: The Meaning of Evil

This seminar aims to deepen our questioning concerning the meaning of evil, beginning with the nature of the goods to which various evils are opposed.   This introduction will lead us to the seminar’s main concern, which is with moral evil as a kind of primary rupture in the world of free beings, and the questions that evil poses for moral psychology: If moral goodness represents nothing other than the excellence of the human way of acting, what then does it mean willingly to oppose the norm of that excellence?  In the end, this will lead us to a consideration of how we might move beyond an account of moral evil merely as privation, and the possibility of addressing the shortcomings of the traditional account from a semiotic point of view.  The hope is that the seminar as a whole will be of some real assistance for the examination of our own consciences and the better fulfillment of our vocations as human persons.

In this seminar, lasting 8 weeks (see here for more information on all Lyceum Institute seminars), we will study the true meaning of evil, especially our role in the constitution of moral evil. This will incorporate considerations of the will, the Umwelt, the sign, and more. The instructor for this seminar is Kirk Kanzelberger, PhD, Faculty Fellow 2020. You can read more about Dr. Kanzelberger here and download the syllabus here.

WHEN
October 2–20 November
Saturdays, 10:00-11:00am ET/2:00-3:00pm UTC [3:00-4:00pm UTC after Nov.7]

WHERE
Lyceum Institute digital platform run on Microsoft Teams

Lyceum Institute seminar costs are structured on a principle of financial subsidiarity. There are three payment levels, with discounts for those who are professors and clergy (whose continuing education is not sufficiently prioritized by their institutions) and for students (who are already taxed excessively by the educational system). However, if you are part of the working world and wish to take a seminar but cannot afford the “standard” rate, it is acceptable to sign up at one of these discounted prices. The idea is: pay what you can. Those who can pay more, should, so that those who cannot pay as much, need not. Lyceum Institute members receive a further discount (see here for details).