"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why the Internet Is So Great

The Dominican House of Studies at the Priory of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., has the entire works of Aquinas online, with Latin-English translations side-by-side.   If I were a much, much smarter person -- or if I were a budding Latinist -- this would be like falling in the honey pot.

Hugh Hewitt has also been having a weekly dialogue for the past few weeks on his radio show on Aquinas, with the President of Hillsdale, Larry Arnn.    Always very interesting stuff, like this on the Summa Theologica as a text for "beginners":

LA: Explain about the beginners, Lee. 
LC: Well, the text itself, it’s important, the prologue, you’d think for such a huge work, it would have a really long prologue. It has a very short prologue. And Aquinas just kind of contextualizes the work for us. And he says this is a work, and he’s citing Paul, right? He says we want, he’s citing I Corinthians, we want to give the little ones milk to drink and not meat.  
HH: Wow. 
LC: He says given that principle, I’m writing this text. And it’s a teaching text, principally. It’s a teaching text. I’m writing it in a way that befits the instruction of beginners. Now that’s a very controversial statement, because we read this and say wait, beginners are supposed to be reading the Summa Theologica, because you know, I’m 22 years old and liberally educated, and I can’t make headway into it, or I’m 60 and I can’t make headway into it. So clearly, we have to scare quote beginners here. It’s, the beginners at least have a pretty strong base in the liberal arts and philosophy. But it puts us in our place. So if a 19 year old Dominican was expected to be able to handle this, we have to ask ourselves are we educating children in the way that we ought if our 22 year olds can’t handle reading this?

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