Episode 28: Agnes Callard on Antigone

In this episode, I have a wide ranging conversation with Agnes Callard. We discuss our experience teaching the Great Books Core at the University of Chicago, as well as why philosophers should read and teach great literature, how to teach Homer in a philosophy class, and how humans gain wisdom through mistakes and suffering. We also talk about arguments, piety, and wisdom in Antigone.

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Agnes Callard is an associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Chicago. She received her BA from the University of Chicago in 1997 and her PhD from Berkeley in 2008. Her primary areas of specialization are Ancient Philosophy and Ethics. She is the author of Aspiration as well as many articles on ancient philosophy. Her writing is regularly featured at The New York Times and The Point Magazine. You can follow her on Twitter @AgnesCallard

Jennifer A. Frey is an associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina and fellow of the Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America. Prior to joining the philosophy faculty at USC, she was a Collegiate Assistant Professor of Humanities at the University of Chicago, where she was a member of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and an affiliated faculty in the philosophy department.  She earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, and her B.A. in Philosophy and Medieval Studies (with Classics minor) at Indiana University-Bloomington. She has published widely on action, virtue, practical reason, and meta-ethics, and has recently co-edited an interdisciplinary volume, Self-Transcendence and Virtue: Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology, and PsychologyHer writing has also been featured in First Things, Fare Forward, Image, The Point, and USA Today. She lives in Columbia, SC, with her husband, six children, and six chickens. You can follow her on Twitter @jennfrey

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Sacred and Profane Love is a podcast in which philosophers, theologians, and literary critics discuss some of their favorite works of literature, and how these works have shaped their own ideas about love, happiness, and meaning in human life. Host Jennifer A. Frey is associate professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina. The podcast is generously supported by The Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America and produced by William Deatherage.

Music credits, “Help me Somebody,” by Brian Eno and David Byrne, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.5.

Episode 27 Sacred and Profane Love: Karen Swallow Prior on Reading Joseph Conrad Well

In this episode, I speak with Karen Swallow Prior, who is professor of English literature, Christianity, and Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. We discuss how reading great books can be an education in virtue, and we apply these ideas to a reading of Joseph Conrad’s influential and controversial novella, Heart of Darkness.

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Karen Swallow Prior is Research Professor of English Literature and Christianity and Culture at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is the author of Booked: Literature in the Soul of Me (T. S. Poetry Press, 2012), Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist (Thomas Nelson, 2014), and On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books (Brazos, 2018). She is co-editor of Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues (Zondervan 2019) and has contributed to numerous other books. Her writing has appeared at Christianity TodayThe AtlanticThe Washington PostFirst ThingsVoxRelevantThink Christian, The Gospel Coalition, Religion News Service, Books and Culture and other places. She and her husband live on a 100-year old homestead in central Virginia with sundry horses, dogs, and chickens. And lots of books.

Jennifer A. Frey is associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina and fellow of the Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America. Prior to joining the philosophy faculty at USC, she was a Collegiate Assistant Professor of Humanities at the University of Chicago, where she was a member of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and an affiliated faculty in the philosophy department.  She earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, and her B.A. in Philosophy and Medieval Studies (with Classics minor) at Indiana University-Bloomington. She has published widely on action, virtue, practical reason, and meta-ethics, and has recently co-edited an interdisciplinary volume, Self-Transcendence and Virtue: Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology, and PsychologyShe lives in Columbia, SC, with her husband, six children, and six chickens.

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Sacred and Profane Love is a podcast in which philosophers, theologians, and literary critics discuss some of their favorite works of literature, and how these works have shaped their own ideas about love, happiness, and meaning in human life. Host Jennifer A. Frey is associate professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina. The podcast is generously supported by The Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America and produced by William Deatherage.

Music credits, “Help me Somebody,” by Brian Eno and David Byrne, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.5.

Episode 26 Sacred and Profane Love: St. Augustine and the Index of Self-Destructive Acts

In this episode, I talk with philosopher Jamie Smith (Calvin College) about St. Augustine and Christopher Beha’s latest novel, The Index of Self-Destructive Acts. Our conversation covers the surprising connections between St. Augustine and the existentialists–most especially Albert Camus–and how St. Augustine can help us understand the gap between what we long for and the finite world that we are situated in.

As always, I hope you enjoy our conversation.

James K.A. Smith is professor of philosophy at Calvin College where he holds the Gary & Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology & Worldview. The award-winning author of Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism? and Desiring the Kingdom, his most recent books include Imagining the Kingdom (2013), Discipleship in the Present Tense (2013), Who’s Afraid of Relativism? (2014), and How (Not) To Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor (2014), You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit (2016). The author of a number of influential books, Smith also regularly writes for magazines and newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Slate, First Things, Christianity Today, Books & Culture, and The Hedgehog Review. He serves as editor-in-chief of Image journal.

Jennifer A. Frey is associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina and fellow of the Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America. Prior to joining the philosophy faculty at USC, she was a Collegiate Assistant Professor of Humanities at the University of Chicago, where she was a member of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and an affiliated faculty in the philosophy department.  She earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, and her B.A. in Philosophy and Medieval Studies (with Classics minor) at Indiana University-Bloomington. She has published widely on action, virtue, practical reason, and meta-ethics, and has recently co-edited an interdisciplinary volume, Self-Transcendence and Virtue: Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology, and PsychologyShe lives in Columbia, SC, with her husband, six children, and a bunch of chickens.

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Sacred and Profane Love is a podcast in which philosophers, theologians, and literary critics discuss some of their favorite works of literature, and how these works have shaped their own ideas about love, happiness, and meaning in human life. Host Jennifer A. Frey is assistant professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina. The podcast is generously supported by The Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America and edited by William Deatherage.

Music credits, “Help me Somebody,” by Brian Eno and David Byrne, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.5.

Episode 25 Sacred and Profane Love: On Solitude with Rilke and Merton

In episode 25, I speak with Ian Marcus Corbin (Harvard) about solitude. We discuss Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke alongside Thomas Merton’s essay, “Rain and the Rhinoceros.”

Some choice quotes from Merton on solitude:

On Solitude and Death

“One who is not alone, says Philoxenos, has not discovered his identity. He seems to be alone, perhaps, for he experiences himself as “individual.” But because he is willingly enclosed and limited by the laws and illusions of collective existence, he has no more identity than an unborn child in the womb. He is not yet conscious. He is alien to his own truth. He has senses, but he cannot use them. He has life, but no identity. To have an identity, he has to be awake. But to be awake, he has to accept vulnerability and death. Not for their own sake: not out of stoicism or despair – only for the sake of the invulnerable inner reality which we cannot recognize (which we can only be) but to which we awaken only when we see the unreality of our vulnerable shell. The discovery of this inner self is an act and affirmation of solitude.”

On Solitude and Uselessness

“In all the cities of the world, it is the same,” says Ionesco. “The universal and modern man is the man in a rush (i.e. rhinoceros), a man who has no time, who is a prisoner of necessity, who cannot understand that a thing might perhaps be without usefulness; nor does he understand that, at bottom, it is the useful that may be a useless and back-breaking burden. If one does not understand the usefulness of the useless and the uselessness of the useful, one cannot understand art. And a country where art is not understood is a country of slaves and robots…” Rhinoceritis, he adds, is the sickness that lies in wait “for those who have lost the sense and taste for solitude.”

The Vocation of Solitude

Hence it is the solitary person (whether in the city or in the desert) who does mankind the inestimable favor of reminding it of its true capacity for maturity, liberty and peace.

Ian Marcus Corbin is a writer, researcher, and teacher in Cambridge, Mass. He is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School where he co-directs the Human Network Initiative. He is writing a book on solitude and solidarity.

Jennifer A. Frey is associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina and fellow of the Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America. Prior to joining the philosophy faculty at USC, she was a Collegiate Assistant Professor of Humanities at the University of Chicago, where she was a member of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and an affiliated faculty in the philosophy department.  She earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, and her B.A. in Philosophy and Medieval Studies (with Classics minor) at Indiana University-Bloomington. She has published widely on action, virtue, practical reason, and meta-ethics, and has recently co-edited an interdisciplinary volume, Self-Transcendence and Virtue: Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology, and PsychologyShe lives in Columbia, SC, with her husband, six children, and a bunch of chickens.

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Sacred and Profane Love is a podcast in which philosophers, theologians, and literary critics discuss some of their favorite works of literature, and how these works have shaped their own ideas about love, happiness, and meaning in human life. Host Jennifer A. Frey is assistant professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina. The podcast is generously supported by The Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America and edited by William Deatherage.

Music credits, “Help me Somebody,” by Brian Eno and David Byrne, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.5.

Season Three of Sacred and Profane Love

After a long summer break (longer than I intended, because in late August I contracted COVID-19 and lost about a month of work), the podcast is finally back! Thanks to everyone who has been waiting so patiently.

I thought I’d share who we have lined up so far for season three.

James K. Smith, philosopher, Calvin College. We’ll be chatting about Christopher Beha’s latest novel, The Index of Self-Destructive Acts.

Ian Marcus Corbin, philosopher, Harvard Medical School. We’re chatting about solitude in the letters of Rilke and the essays of Merton.

Matthew Rothaus Moser, theologian, Azusa Pacific University. Finally, a series of episodes on Dante’s Divine Comedy! There will be arguments about it!

Karen Swallow Prior, English literature, SEBTS. We’ll discuss her book, On Reading Well and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.

Tara Isabella Burton, writer. We’ll discuss Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray alongside Kierkegaard’s The Seducer’s Diary.

Jessica Hooten Wilson, English literature, University of Dallas. Jessica and I will be talking about John Kennedy Toole’s, A Confederacy of Dunces.

Anastasia Berg, philosopher, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. We’ll be discussing George Eliot’s Middlemarch.

Agnes Callard, philosopher, University of Chicago. Agnes and I will be discussing Sophocles’s Antigone.

David O’Connor, philosopher, University of Notre Dame. We’ll be talking about Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.

Jon Baskin, philosopher, The New School; editor of The Point Magazine. We’ll be discussing David Foster Wallace, which Jon wrote a book about!

Agnes Mueller, Comparative Literature, University of South Carolina. We’ll be chatting about Thomas Mann’s Death in Venice.

Nick Ripratazone, writer, topic TBD

New episodes coming very soon!

Episode 24: On Reading The Plague in a Plague

This is our final episode of the podcast for the academic year.  I’ll be recording new episodes over the summer, which I will begin releasing next September.  We decided to end the season with the unexpected, runaway best seller of Spring 2020, Albert Camus’s, The Plague.  In this episode, I am once again joined by philosopher and poet Troy Jollimore, to talk about the absurd, evil, suffering, theodicy, God, death, metaphysical rebellion, and of course, virtue.  As always, I hope you enjoy our conversation.
Troy Jollimore holds a PhD in Philosophy from Princeton and currently teaches at California State University, Chico. He is the author of three books of philosophy, including Love’s Vision and On Loyalty.  He is also the author of three collections of poetry: At Lake Scugog, Tom Thomson in Purgatory, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry, and Syllabus of Errors.  He has received fellowships from the Stanford Humanities Center, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation.
Jennifer A. Frey is assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina. Prior to joining the philosophy faculty at USC, she was a Collegiate Assistant Professor of Humanities at the University of Chicago, where she was a member of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and an affiliated faculty in the philosophy department.  She earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, and her B.A. in Philosophy and Medieval Studies (with Classics minor) at Indiana University-Bloomington. She has published widely on action, virtue, practical reason, and meta-ethics, and has recently co-edited an interdisciplinary volume, Self-Transcendence and Virtue: Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology, and PsychologyShe lives in Columbia, SC, with her husband, six children, and a bunch of chickens.

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Music credits, “Help me Somebody,” by Brian Eno and David Byrne, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.5.

Episode 18: Carrying the Flame

In episode 18 of Sacred and Profane Love, I speak with my friend, Fr. Gregory Maria Pine, O.P., about the virtue of hope in Cormac McCarthy’s painfully beautiful novel, The Road (which earned him the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2007). In our conversation, we talk about why hope requires an open future and a sense of uncertainty, and how hope is a state of character that strikes a middle position between presumption and despair.  We also explore the essential connections between hope and love, and how this plays out in the relationship between the man and the boy who must journey down the road together.

I am also excited to announce that you can now follow the podcast on twitter; our twitter handle is: @eudaimoniapod.  Please consider following us on Twitter or Facebook, subscribing to our feed on Soundcloud or iTunes, or generally spreading the word about the podcast among your like-minded friends.  At present we get between 1500-2000 downloads per episode, but we are trying to build our audience.  The more support we get, the more we are able to do to produce quality episodes you want to listen to!

I hope you enjoy the conversation!

 

Fr. Gregory Pine, O.P. serves presently as the Assistant Director for Campus Outreach with the Thomistic Institute in Washington, DC. Born and raised near Philadelphia, PA, he attended the Franciscan University of Steubenville, studying mathematics and humanities. Upon graduating, he entered the Order of Preachers in 2010. He was ordained a priest in 2016 and holds an STL from the Dominican House of Studies.

Jennifer A. Frey is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina. Prior to joining the philosophy faculty at USC, she was a Collegiate Assistant Professor of Humanities at the University of Chicago, where she was a member of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and an affiliated faculty in the philosophy department.  She earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, and her B.A. in Philosophy and Medieval Studies (with Classics minor) at Indiana University-Bloomington. She has published widely on action, virtue, practical reason, and meta-ethics, and has recently co-edited an interdisciplinary volume, Self-Transcendence and Virtue: Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology, and Psychology

 Subscribe

Preview on iTunes

Music credits, “Help me Somebody,” by Brian Eno and David Byrne, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.5.