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Dreher, Dante, & Charleston


You are, aren’t you? It’s the CiRCE Institute’s annual conference, this year to be held in Charleston, SC, from July 15-18. The topic: A Contemplation of Harmony. We’re going to talk about the concept of harmony, and how to apply it to Christian classical education. The conference itself is now full, but there’s still room for the July 15 event: a a one-day session in which I’ll talk about, among other things:

Harmony and the Medieval Mind

What are the conceptual differences between ourselves and the medieval vision that makes it hard even for sympathetic modern readers to understand Dante’s message? Is there a way to talk about what we have lost in the 700 years since the High Middle Ages, and how the metaphysical realism of the medievals is so alien to the modern mind — even the modern conservative Christian mind. The discussion will touch on the work of Charles Taylor and his ideas about secularism as a way of illuminating concepts all of us moderns have to work through to see the world as Dante saw it.

Dante and 21st Century Ecumenism

Rod is an Orthodox Christian. As Dante Can Save Your Life details, God used a Catholic poet, an Orthodox priest, and an Evangelical therapist to heal him. In what ways might the study of Dante serve as a point of unity among contemporary tradition-minded Christians, even as we maintain our unavoidable differences?

Holiness as Harmony

Paradiso offers us an image of the Kingdom as hierarchical but harmonious, not egalitarian. Inferno is full of atomized egotists, but Purgatorio is filled with people who are learning how to live more altruistically. How can we learn to see truth as symphonic, without becoming relativists? Does Dante offer us insights?

If you are a classical Christian educator — a teacher, a parent, a homeschooler — or just someone who loves Dante, or is simply curious about him, please come out for the day. We’re going to have a lot of fun. Is there anything more exciting for nerds like us than spending a day with our tribe, talking about Great Books, and God, and enjoying Southern hospitality?

Register here for the July 15 Dante & Harmony event. Alas, as I said, the entire conference is closed, but the one-day event still has some places. If you live within driving distance of Charleston, what are you waiting for? I would love to see you there.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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