Friday, December 23, 2005

Dr. Fred Hallberg

From Wartburg College New and Events, December 22, 2005:

WAVERLY, Iowa — A retired University of Northern Iowa philosophy professor will present “From Dawn to Decadence” as part of the next installment of Wartburg College’s Keep on Learning series.

Dr. Fred Hallberg, UNI professor emeritus of philosophy, will teach the class Jan. 5, 12, 19 and 26 in the Heritage Room of Saemann Student Center on the Wartburg campus.

The program will begin with coffee at 9 a.m., followed by the presentation from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. Pre-registration is not required. The first class in the session is free, with a $30 fee for the remaining classes payable at the second class.

For the session, Hallberg will focus on more than 2,000 years of philosophic thought, reflecting on historian Jacques Barzun and other writers. Ideas from the current era, Enlightenment and Romantic movements and the dearth of philosophical thought during the Middle Ages will be covered. Writings of Plato, John Stuart Mill and Thomas Nagel will also be featured.

Hallberg taught philosophy and humanities at UNI from 1967 until his retirement in 1998. He currently resides in Janseville. Since retiring, he has presented “From Dawn to Decadence” to two other adult learning courses.

Friday, December 09, 2005

National Repentance?


I suspect that Jacques Barzun spoke for many when he recommended God in the Dock with the remark:

One need not be a believer in Lewis’s church to profit from his candor and powers of reasoning on common predicaments. One of his most telling pieces is on [Dangers of] National Repentance.

Apply its teaching to any of the fashionable emotions and see how many survive. Then, the mind cleared of easy sophistication, start afresh to find out what you think with your whole being about the subjects he proposes to uncluttered mother wit.

Eugene McGovern on C. S. Lewis

But hear John Jay Chapman:

We are met to commemorate the anniversary of one of the most dreadful crimes in history—not for the purpose of condemning it, but to repent of our share in it.

At the end of his essay, Lewis affirms the need for national repentance, but provides a warning:

Is it not, then, the duty of the Church to preach national repentance? I think it is. But the office—like many others—can be profitably discharged only by those who discharge it with reluctance. We know that a man may have to ‘hate’ his mother for the Lord’s sake. (Luke 14:26) The sight of a Christian rebuking his mother, though tragic, may be edifying; but only if we are quite sure that he has been a good son and that, in his rebuke, spiritual zeal is triumphing, not without agony, over strong natural affection. The moment there is reason to suspect that he enjoys rebuking her—that he believes himself to be rising above the natural level while he is still, in reality, grovelling below it in the unnatural—the spectacle becomes merely disgusting. The hard sayings of our Lord are wholesome to those only who find them hard. There is a terrible chapter in M. Mauriac’s Vie de Jésus. When the Lord spoke of brother and child against parent, the other disciples were horrified. Not so Judas. He took it as a duck takes to water: `Pourquoi cetter stupeur?, se demande Judas. . . . Il aime dans le Christ cette vue simple, ce regard de Dieu sur l’horreur humaine.’ (‘“Why this stupefaction?” asked Judas ... He loved in Christ his simple view of things, his divine glance at human depravity.’) For there are two states of mind which face the Dominical paradoxes without flinching. God guard us from one of them.

Truth depends on who, what, when, where, and why. And to what, and to whom.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Herbert London

“He spoke eloquently and sensibily, and I was intoxicated by his brand of ideas.”
—Herbert London, President of the Hudson Insitute, Hudson Chief Promotes Open Societies, New York Sun, December 5, 2005.