I’d like to share with you some exciting news:
I have just published a new book titled Heaven and Hell: Visions of the Afterlife in the Western Poetic Tradition. Here is a quick synopsis of what it covers:
For thousands of years, philosophers, theologians, and poets have tried to pierce through the veil of death to gaze with wonder, fear, and awe on the final and eternal state of the soul. Indeed, the four great epic poets of the Western tradition (Homer, Virgil, Dante, and Milton) structured their epics in part around a descent into the underworld that is both spiritual and physical, both allegorical and geographical. This book not only considers closely these epic journeys to the “other side,” but explores the chain of influences that connects the poets to such writers as Plato, Cicero, St. John, St. Paul, Bunyan, Blake, and C. S. Lewis. Written in a narrative, “man of letters” style and complete with an annotated bibliography, a timeline, a who’s who, and an extensive glossary of Jewish, Christian, and mythological terms, this user-friendly book will help readers understand how heaven and hell have been depicted for the last 3,000 years.
This book is my follow up to From Achilles to Christ: Why Christians Should Read the Pagan Classics (IVP, 2007). It can be purchased through my amazon author page.
FOR THOSE IN TEXAS
The Honors College at Houston Baptist University (for which I’ve taught the Greco-Roman freshman curriculum for the last four years) is about to make an exciting change. We will be moving to an Oxford/Cambridge model in which I will give nine 100 minute lectures per semester on literature-history-philosophy to supplement 4 hours per week of intense Socratic dialogue in classes of 15 or fewer students. I will be giving my lectures on Tuesdays from 4:20-6:00pm. We have chosen that late time to accommodate high schools (especially classical Christian academies) and homeschoolers who would like to sit in on one of my lectures. In the Fall, I will lecture on ancient Greek myth, epic, tragedy, and history with specific lectures on the Iliad and Odyssey; in the Spring, I will lecture on Roman myth, epic and history with specific lectures on the Aeneid and the Metamorphoses.
FOR THOSE IN HOUSTON
SPEAKING AT THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS IN HOUSTON
On Thursday, July 18, at 6:30pm, I will give a talk titled “The Foundation of Rome: The Frescoes of the Capitoline Museum” for the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. The speech is part of the MFA’s artful Thursday program and is free and open to the public. In the speech I will tell the history of ancient Rome from Aeneas to the Punic Wars, illustrating the stories with slides of Renaissance frescoes housed in the Capitoline museum in Rome.
A CLASS ON THE LORD OF THE RINGS
In the Fall of 2013, I will teach a special class on The Lord of the Rings at HBU. Here is a description:
Although The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia are both undergirded by a Christian worldview, the links to Christianity are less clear and direct in Tolkien’s great epic fantasy. In this class we will explore how Tolkien, while reviving the reputation of the fairy tale and sub-creating a medieval-like world that runs by its own codes and values, found a way to integrate his rich creativity and love of language with his deep Catholic faith. We will further discuss how The Lord of the Rings, together with The Silmarillion and The Hobbit, were influenced by Norse mythology, Beowulf, and Tolkien’s friendship with C. S. Lewis.
Because the class will be raising issues of broad and perennial interest, HBU has granted me special permission to open up the class to the wider Houston community. The class will meet every Monday from 4:00-6:30pm from August 26 to December 2; however, there will be no class on September 2 (Labor Day) or October 21 (when I will be giving my midterm).
Sign up for the class at a cost of only $150 (which is 1/3 the normal auditing price).
A CLASS ON THE ILIAD
On Wednesdays, October 2, 9, 16, and 23, 2013, from 7-9pm, I will offer a four-week class on The Iliad for the Rice School of Continuing Education. Register for my class online. (note: the catalog for the Fall is not yet up on the website but should be by August).
Thanks and blessings for the summer,