All Magnus courses are as free as the Fellows taking them. To learn more, and apply today for the Magnus Fellowship, click here.
For several millenia, Euclid’s Elements was considered the indispensable gateway to higher studies. Like St. Thomas’s Summa theologiae, the Elements is that rare work that is both an excellent textbook attentive to the needs of new students and one of the great masterpieces of geometry.
This course will lead participants on a broad tour of the first ten books of the Elements, which encompasses all of Euclid’s plane geometry. Participants will get a taste of demonstrating prepositions, while seeing proofs for fundamental equalities concerning triangles, parallelograms, and circles. Then attention will be turned to Euclid’s treatment of measurement, similarity, and incommensurability. Discussions will center on understanding Euclid’s arguments & order, with comparisons to modern developments in mathematics.
Dr. Andrew Seeley has decades of experience in leading discussions of great texts of all kinds, including original texts in ancient and modern mathematics and science.
This course introduces logic as a liberal art, i.e., an art of things which are made in being known and known in being made. Logic directs the fundamental acts of the human intellect—simple apprehension, composition and division, inference—in realizing what they make and know, the forms of discursive understanding: definition, judgment, and argument.
This course will focus on a distinctively Thomistic approach to bioethics and the resources that Aquinas’s natural law theory and metaphysics may provide in addressing some of the most important contemporary bioethics issues. The first part of the course will focus on the foundations and principles of Thomistic ethical theory through a selection of Thomistic primary texts as well as secondary sources such as Ralph McInerny's Ethica Thomistica and Jason Eberl's Thomistic Principles and Bioethics. In the second part of the course we will turn to a careful examination of several of the most important and difficult controversies in contemporary Catholic Bioethics: the moral status of zygotes, embryos, fetuses, and anencephalic infants, embryonic stem cell research, ANT-OAR, vital conflicts, embryo adoption and transfer, artificial wombs, life-saving interventions, genethics, designer children, human enhancement, neuroethics, issues at the end of human life, the ordinary/extraordinary means distinction, artificial hydration and nutrition, euthanasia, organ donation, complicity in evil, conscientious objection, and health care law and policy.
This course will study the short stories of Flannery O'Connor. One or two stories will be assigned for each of the eight classes. We will also discuss the life and influence of Flannery O'Connor as one of the great and most-respected Catholic writers of the twentieth century. The short stories to be read include 'The River,' 'Good Country People,' 'Revelation,' 'Parker's Back' and 'Everything That Rises Must Converge.' The only text students need to acquire is The Complete Short Stories of Flannery O'Connor (Farrar Straus and Girioux).
Join famed author, professor, and AMI Senior Fellow, Anthony Esolen for a deep dive into the great epic poem of the English Language, Paradise Lost. More details coming soon. This course will fulfill an elective requirement within the Magnus Fellowship.
René Girard argues that the 10th Commandment against coveting, or envy, explains every other sin in the Bible, starting with Adam and Eve coveting God’s knowledge of good and evil. Overcoming that envy is at the heart of Christ’s Passion. Shakespeare, he argues, would agree. To see what he means, this course will attempt to understand Girard’s theory of “mimetic rivalry,” “triangulation” and scapegoating violence, by reading how he interprets Shakespeare’s major plays. From “A Midsummer Nights Dream,” through “Julius Caesar” and “A Winter’s Tale”, we will use these plays to see the otherwise hidden connection between envy, sin, Christ’s crucifixion, and his Resurrection.
We’re just getting started. Archived Course recordings are available to all Fellows.
Dante makes Thomas Aquinas the first voice of the Heaven of the Sun (Paradiso, Canto 10), and hence offers him as an emblem—perhaps the emblem—of redeemed creaturely wisdom. Dante recognized in Thomas the "teacher for everyone" (doctor communis) long before that usage became general; and so Dante reflects (and reflects deeply upon) Thomas' comprehensive sacra doctrina as he constructs his comprehensive allegory of love and responsibility. This course will read The Divine Comedy with an eye for important junctures at which Thomas' teaching proves especially relevant, and the course will address Dante's text in light of that teaching.
This year is the 700th anniversary of the death of perhaps the greatest poet in the history of the world, Dante Alighieri. His Divine Comedy is about everything you can name: God and His universe, the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation, the history of mankind, what it means to be a creature made in the image of God, what love is, and art, and sin, and repentance, and redemption— and what you do when your city banishes you and confiscates your property—everything! We will follow our guide into the sinkhole of Hell, then up the mount of Purgatory and on into Paradise.
Joseph Pearce, author of three books on Shakespeare and editor of six of the Ignatius Critical Editions of Shakespeare’s plays, teaches the inaugural course on Shakespeare for the Magnus Fellowship. Join Professor Pearce for this eight-week course as he leads us on a journey into Shakespeare and his times, exploring the deepest dimension of four of his greatest plays: Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, and King Lear.
Despite being a part of philosophy profoundly neglected by the modern academy, the philosophy of nature is both an essential component of the traditional order of learning and a science which every well educated man must possess within his soul. In this course, we shall study the principles and properties of mobile being as such at the feet of two master teachers, Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas.
The modern understanding of happiness is an apple that has fallen far from the tree that the Greek's named "eudaimonia". Please join us for an engaging course in this the inaugural semester of the Magnus Fellowship with author and scholar, Deal Hudson. This eight-week course will be composed of equal parts lecture and text-based discussion and survey the tradition on the question of human happiness through the eyes of the Ancients, Medievals, and Moderns. How has the idea of happiness lost its moral meaning and became the justification of immoral behavior and unbelief? Most importantly, can we recover the traditional understanding of human beatitude?