October 7, 2012

7:00 p.m.

In this Issue:

Dean’s Lecture and

Concert Series,

Community Seminars,

Concerts, Art, Events

Words, words, words!”



Please join us for the fall 2012 Dean’s Lecture and Concert Series. All lectures

are free and open to the public. See details below for times and locations.

The Sacrifice of Patroclus: Honor and Atrocity in Homer’s Iliad

Claudia Honeywell, tutor, St. John’s College, Santa Fe

Friday, August 31, 7:30 p.m.

Worrell Lecture

Great Hall, Peterson Student Center

Plato, Aeschylus, and other ancient Greeks used the relationship between

Achilles and Patroclus to symbolize the highest ideal of comradeship, the

“boundless capacity for self-sacrifice” exhibited by comrades in battle. In

Homer’s Iliad, we find many warriors willing to risk their lives to defend one

another and recover the corpses of their fallen comrades. Yet Homeric comrades

routinely kill to avenge one another as well, a behavior that the law of

armed conflict today attempts to forbid. Achilles’ response to the death of

Patroclus includes berserk killing, reprisal killing, killing of non-combatants,

and the mutilation of the corpse. Ms. Honeywell will take a close look at the

events leading to the death of Patroclus, in order to understand how the

emotional demands of this martial relationship can spur a warrior to the

most noble as well as the most savage deeds.

Claudia Honeywell received her bachelor of arts degree from the University of

Chicago in 1986 and a master of arts and doctorate in classics and modern

Greek studies from the University of Minnesota in 1991 and 1993, respectively.

Before joining the faculty of St. John’s College in 1994, she was visiting

assistant professor of classics at Cornell College. Since 2010, she has been a

distinguished visiting professor at the United States Air Force Academy.

“Dying Twice”: An Examination of Odysseus’ Journey to Hades*

Evanthia Speliotis, professor of philosophy, Bellarmine University

Friday, September 7, 3:15 p.m.

Worrell Lecture

Great Hall, Peterson Student Center

In Odyssey Book X, Circe informs Odysseus that he must travel to Hades

before completing his journey home (X, 490-95). The reason for this, ostensibly,

is so that Teiresias can tell Odysseus “the way to go, the stages of the

journey, and … how to make [his] way home” (X, 538-40), making the visit to

Hades central to the plot of the Odyssey. And yet, it appears to be much more

than this. For one thing, it is virtually unheard of for a mortal to journey to

Hades and return alive. For another, Homer devotes over 640 lines to this

extraordinary event. Odysseus’ recounting of his visit to Hades begins with

Elpenor wishing to be remembered (XII, 71) and ends with Herakles reminiscing

about his own journey to Hades to complete one of his labors (XI, 623-25).

In between, Odysseus speaks with Teiresias, who tells him of a further labor he

will have to perform after returning home; his mother, who informs him of

some of the events unfolding at home in his absence; past queens, who speak of

their “origins”; Agamemnon, who warns him against perfidious women; and

Achilles, who laments that he is no longer among the living.

Professor Speliotis will examine these characters and their tales to try to

discover what Homer may be telling us about Odysseus’ particular journey (his

return home), but, more importantly, what lessons he may be conveying about

life and death to those of us who do not have the option of “dying twice” but

who may learn from Odysseus’ having done so.

*“Unhappy men, who went alive to the house of Hades, so dying twice, when all the rest of

mankind die only once” (Circe, to Odysseus and his men, when they return from Hades to Aiaia:

Odys XII, 21-22).

Evanthia D. Speliotis earned a bachelor of arts in philosophy in 1982 from

the University of Michigan, a master of arts in philosophy in 1989 from The

Catholic University of America, and a doctorate in philosophy in 1995 from

Tulane University. Prior to joining the faculty of Bellarmine University in 1994,

she held academic positions at Tulane and Catholic University as well

as at the University of New Orleans and Southern University of New Orleans.

Professor Speliotis is currently working on a book entitled Phantastics and

Philosophy: A Study of Plato’s Statesman.

Artistic Expression in Animals

Linda Wiener, tutor, St. John’s College, Santa Fe

Friday, September 14, 8:00 p.m.

Great Hall, Peterson Student Center

This lecture focuses especially on artistic expression that does not lend itself

easily to analysis in terms of survival and reproduction. Artistic expression

is surprisingly widespread, occurring in animals ranging from protists to

mammals. This includes music, collecting and decorating, fashion, disguise,

and sheer inventiveness. Ms. Wiener will look at examples from nature and

examine what biologists and philosophers, both ancient and modern, have to

say. How might investigation into artistic expression in animals alter our

understanding of nature and of ourselves?

Linda Wiener joined the faculty of St. John’s College in 1985, after holding a

number of academic positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and

Harvard University. Wiener earned a bachelor of science degree in biology

from the University of Miami in 1977, a master of science degree in entomology

from Colorado State University in 1979, and a doctorate in entomology from

the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1981. She also cofounded, in 1979, the

Foundation for the Rediscovery and Protection of Trilobites.

Walpurgis Night's Dream: What is a Little Shakespearian Comedy

Doing in the Middle of Goethe's Faust Tragedy?

Joseph Lawrence, professor of philosophy, College of the Holy Cross

Friday, September 21, 7:30 p.m.

Worrell Lecture

Great Hall, Peterson Student Center

In his interpretive notes to the Walter Arndt translation of Goethe’s Faust,

Cyrus Hamlin writes that “critics have been embarrassed by the apparent

lack of any direct relevance to the Faust story demonstrated by this ‘Intermezzo’.”

It seems, then, that we have the makings of a real mystery. What in

fact is it doing there? Since the entire Walpurgis Night scene can be read as

a descent into hell, the sudden staging there of a Shakespearian comedy

represents, at the very least, a sign of hope.

Professor Joseph Lawrence will argue that it is that--and much more. Structurally,

it constitutes a bridge to the much longer and not-often read Second

Part of the Tragedy. Lawrence will give an account of what happens in Part II

(e.g., the Redemption of Faust) and why it is so important. He then will show

how the Walpurgis Night’s Dream functions to reconcile Goethe’s paganism

with his Christianity--and how it serves to illuminate his deepest understanding

of the task of poetry as such.

Born and raised in the hills of Kentucky, Lawrence received his doctorate in

philosophy from Tübingen University in Germany in 1984. After that, he

taught at the University of Dallas and at the College of the Holy Cross, where

he currently is a professor of philosophy. In addition, he twice served as a

visiting professor at Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan. The author of

Schellings Philosophie des ewigen Anfangs (1989) and Socrates Among

Strangers (forthcoming with Northwestern University Press), he is working

on a book entitled The Harrowing of Hell, which illuminates the idea of

redemption by bringing together religion, philosophy, and tragic literature.

Lawrence also has written a wide range of articles on German literature as

well as Greek and German philosophy.

On the Role of Questions in Learning

Richard McCombs, tutor, St. John’s College, Santa Fe

Friday, October 5, 7:30 p.m.

Great Hall, Peterson Student Center

Human beings by nature desire to understand. In his lecture, Mr. McCombs

will analyze the use of questions in the search for understanding, argue that

for all profound learning questioning is not only useful, but necessary, and

explore the paradoxical possibility that questioning may play a more important

role in learning than answering does.

Richard A. McCombs II earned his bachelor of arts and of science degrees

from Fordham University in 1990 and a master’s degree and doctorate from

Fordham in 1992 and 2000, respectively. Before joining the faculty of St. John’s

College in 1999, he held academic positions at Fordham University, Marist

College, Rose Hill College, and the University of South Carolina..

Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallow

Darwin on the Evolution of Morality

Kenneth Wolfe, tutor, St. John’s College, Santa Fe

Friday, October 19, 3:15 p.m.

Great Hall, Peterson Student Center

In The Descent of Man, Darwin argues that human beings, like all other

living things, have undergone evolution by natural selection. He confronts

all the traditional claims of uniquely human characteristics—the use of tools,

language, reason, religion, and morality—and argues that these characteristics

are either not distinctively human or that they have more primitive

antecedents in other animal species. The largest challenge, he admits, is to

account for the development of ethics. In doing so, he presents a theory

accounting for morality as arising from a combination of social instincts,

reason, and habit. This lecture will both examine his theory and explore what

implications it has for existing moral systems.

A 1994 graduate of St. John’s College, Santa Fe, Kenneth Wolfe earned a

master of arts degree in Latin from the University of California at Berkeley in

1996 and a doctorate in classics from UC-Berkeley in 2000. Before joining the

faculty of St. John’s College in 2002, he was visiting assistant professor in

classics and humanities at Reed College.

Zeno the Gedankenexperimentalist

Bill Bloch, professor of mathematics, Wheaton College

Friday, October 26, 7:30 p.m.

Great Hall, Peterson Student Center

Zeno’s famous thought experiment The Dichotomy, also known as

The Arrow, supposes that because a magnitude may be bisected infinitely, a

person walking from one point to another must first move half the distance,

then half the distance again, and again, and so on. Depending on how the

original Greek is interpreted, due to the infinite number of points that must

be touched, in Zeno’s view, either the first step may not be taken, or conversely,

the journey may not be completed. Another of Zeno’s well-known

paradoxes is Achilles and the Tortoise, which is frequently seen as equivalent

to the Dichotomy. It proposes that the ‘fastest’ can never catch up to the

‘slowest,’ for by the time Achilles reaches the spot where the Tortoise was,

the Tortoise has moved forward.

What are the artifices that imbue these paradoxes with their enduring

irksome appeal? If the tricks are exposed, is there a way to update Zeno that

recaptures some of his puzzling magic? Is it possible to see Zeno’s work as

being more than a flawed philosophic wrecking ball designed to destroy the

arguments of those who would dismiss Parmenides’ claims? Do Zeno’s

thought experiments contribute to the early development of the real

number system?

Already in love with music, literature, and The Big Questions, William

Goldbloom Bloch was smitten equally by fractals, chaos, and the classics

while at Reed College. He studied mathematics at the University of California,

Berkeley. His mathematical research centers on Baire spaces and notions of

ed, and some few to be chewed and digested.


density and, more precisely, on different notions of the density of fractals in

spaces of continuous manifolds. His book The Unimaginable Mathematics of

Borges’ Library of Babel was a runner up for the 2008 PROSE award in mathematical

writing, and he is currently collaborating with a computer scientist,

a philosopher, and a proto-meme-ologist on The Persistence of Paradoxes and

the Limits of Language.


Community Seminars are special opportunities for community members to

read and discuss seminal works in the same unique manner as our students.

Seminars are discussion-based and small in size in order to ensure spirited

dialogue. There are topics to pique every interest, and for many participants

the discussion-based learning model is an entirely new experience.

Please call 505-984-6117 to register for any of the seminars described below.

Teachers with proof of full-time employment may enroll at a 50 percent

discount. Community Seminars are free to 11th and 12th grade high school

students (limited spaces available).

Rumi, Masnavi-ye Ma’navi

Tutor: Michael Wolfe

Dates/Times: Four consecutive Saturdays, September 8 through

September 29, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Cost: $140

Seminar participants will read all of Book I of Rumi’s Masnavi-ye Ma’navi,

or “spiritual couplets,” which was begun in 1262 AD and is thought to be the

longest single-authored “mystical” poem ever written. Jalaluddin Rumi was

a poet and mystic of the highest attainment, but he was first and foremost a

spiritual teacher. Rumi draws on a vast range of sources, from fables to

stories from daily life and religious tradition, to compose a remarkable text,

which is a ladder to the spiritual world.

Fortunate Fall? Exploring John Milton’s Paradise Lost

Tutor: Gregory Schneider

Dates/Times: Six consecutive Wednesdays, October 10 through

November 14, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Cost: $210

John Milton’s blank verse masterpiece, Paradise Lost, announces in its

opening that it will “justify the ways of God to men.” Springing from just a few

lines from the Book of Genesis, the poem puts forth a much expanded version

of the relationship between Adam and Eve and their cursed choice to eat from

the forbidden tree of the Garden. As it unfolds, Milton offers a portrayal that

attempts to justify the God who put humans in the place to make that choice.

Along the way, we meet a captivating Satan, hear of the story of the rebellious

angels, and see the unique ways that Adam and Eve each respond to their

predicament. Over six sessions, this seminar will explore this complicated

story, often considered the greatest epic poem in the English language.

“Citizenship should be placed above everything els

of citizenship where good citizenship and all that i

Rabbinic Stories

Tutor: Ken Wolfe

Dates/Times: Five consecutive Tuesdays, October 2 through 30, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Cost: $175

Seminar participants will study a collection of rabbinic stories selected from

the Talmud. The rabbis told stories about law, piety, sin and suffering, the

relation of Jews to Gentiles, and important events in Jewish history, such as

the destruction of the 2nd Temple and the revolt of Bar Kokhba.

Plutarch’s Essays

Tutor: Topi Heikkerö

Dates/Times: Four consecutive Saturdays, October 20 through

November 10, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon.

Cost: $140

Plutarch, best known for his biographies of important Greek and Roman

men, was a skillful essayist, too. Seminar participants will read a selection of

his essays, including “On Listening” and “How to Distinguish a Flatterer

from a Friend.”

If Rousseau were a Woman: Women Thinkers’ Points of View

Tutor: Michael Bybee

Dates/Times: Six Wednesdays, September 12 & 19 and October 3, 10, 17,

and 24, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Cost: $210

Arguably, the great minds of Occidental philosophy were predominantly male,

almost universally unmarried, and without child-rearing responsibilities.

One might wonder whether the major doctrines in Western philosophy,

history, and literature seem plausible only to this class of individuals. What if

we were to look at these themes from the point of view of their female counterparts?

What insights into the human condition would we find? This seminar

will examine society through the thoughts and writings of some of the

foremost female minds of past and present, including Mary Wollstonecraft,

Jane Austen, and Alice Walker.

e, even learning. Is there in any college of the land a chair

t implies is taught?” — MARK TWAIN, Speech, 14 May 1908


Chopin: Waltzes and Polonaises

Schoenberg, Berg, Webern: Piano Works

Peter Pesic, piano

Friday, September 14, 2012, 12:15 – 1:10 p.m.

Junior Common Room, Peterson Student Center

There is no charge for admission.

Chopin: Waltzes CT 220, opp. 18, 34/2; Schoenberg: Three Pieces, op. 11;

Chopin: Polonaises CT 161, CT164, opp. 26/1, 40/1

Peter Pesic is a tutor and musician-in-residence at St. John’s College, Santa

Fe. He attended Harvard and Stanford Universities, obtaining a doctorate in

physics. He has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the

Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society, and the John Simon

Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Mr. Pesic is also a Visiting Scholar at

Harvard University.

Brahms Sonatas

Robert Marcus, clarinet

Peter Pesic, piano

Friday, October 26, 2012, 12:15 – 1:10 p.m.

Junior Common Room, Peterson Student Center

There is no charge for admission.

The program includes Brahms: Two Sonatas, op. 120, and

Berg: Four Pieces, op. 5.


Violin Sonatas

Liang-Ping How, violin

Pamela Pyle, piano

Friday, September 28, 7:30 p.m.

Great Hall, Peterson Student Center

This concert is free and open to the public.

Violinist L.P. How and pianist Pamela Pyle will

be performing the Sonata in A major for Violin

and Piano by César Franck, the Beethoven

Violin Sonata No. 1 in D Major, Op. 12, and

works by Kreisler and Elgar.

Long-time member of the Santa Fe Opera Orchestra and the Santa Fe

Chamber Music Festival, violinist Liang-Ping (“L.P.”) How is a familiar and

welcome sight to Santa Fe audiences. Born in Taiwan, Mr. How came to the

United States to study at the Interlochen Arts Academy and the Curtis Institute

of Music under Jaime Laredo. He has been a member since 1980 of the New York

City-based, Grammy Award-winning Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, appearing

frequently with the orchestra as a soloist and concertmaster and on recordings

with the orchestra on the Deutsche Grammophon label. His many annual performance

engagements include the Caramoor, Spoleto, Lochenhaus, and Moab

Music Festivals and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Since 2005,

Mr. How has also served as the concertmaster of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra.

He plays an 1863 J.B.Vuillaume.

Pamela Pyle served for more than a decade as principle pianist in the studios

of Itzhak Perlman and renowned Juilliard teacher Dorothy DeLay. An

award-winning soloist and chamber recitalist, she has performed throughout

the United States, Europe, and Asia and continues to serve as an accompanist

for nationally recognized summer music institutes. A regular performer at the

Aspen Music Festival, Ms. Pyle is currently professor of piano and collaborative

piano at the University of New Mexico.

An Evening in E-flat Major

Christine Chen, violin

Gail Robertson, viola

Dana Winograd, cello

David Bolotin, piano

Sunday, October 7, 7:00 p.m.

Great Hall, Peterson Student Center

This concert is free and open to the public.

The musicians, performing as a piano trio and as a piano quartet, will

be performing Beethoven’s Piano Trio in E-flat major, op.1, no.1,

Schumann’s Piano Quartet in E-flat major, op. 47, and Dvorak’s Piano

Quartet in E-flat major, op. 87.

Christine Chen is a tutor at St. John’s College, and David Bolotin is tutor

emeritus. Both Ms. Chen and Ms. Robertson perform with Santa Fe Pro Musica.

Ms. Winograd plays in the New Mexico Philharmonic—as does Ms. Chen from

time to time—and is also the principal cellist of the Santa Fe Symphony.

All Alumni and College Art Show: Opening Reception

Saturday, September 15, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

Junior Common Room and Art Gallery, Peterson Student Center

Alumni from both the Santa Fe

and Annapolis campuses of

St. John’s College join faculty,

staff, and students from Santa

Fe in a celebration of creativity.

On display through October 6

are works on canvas, photography,

sculpture, ceramics, and


For Gallery hours, visit and

click on Events.


We are going GREEN with our first

Community Calendar of 2013.

Details to be announced in the

November/December 2012 issue.



Experience the Liberal Arts

Saturday, October 27, 3:30 to 7:00 p.m.

Levan Hall

This event is an opportunity for curious

or prospective students to participate in

a St. John’s College seminar and experience

firsthand the great rewards of

dialogue as learning. Tutors David Carl,

Krishnan Venkatesh, and Natalie Elliot*

will lead a discussion on Montaigne’s

Of Pedantry, in which Montaigne

considers the ends and goals of liberal

education and explores the obstacles

that stand in the way of our achieving

these ends.

Following the seminar, participants will

enjoy light refreshments while continuing

the conversation with St. John’s faculty,

staff, current students, and alumni.

During a subsequent panel session, they

will learn more about the graduate program,

which has often been described as

a life-changing experience, as well as

about the application process.

Space is limited. Please RSVP before

October 5 to Katie Widlund by email,, or

phone, 505-984-6050.

*Tutors are subject to change. Other tutors may be added depending on attendance. If

you are interested in the Liberal Arts Master’s Program at St. John’s College, Santa Fe,

but are not able to attend the event, please also contact Katie Widlund to discuss

planning a personalized visit.

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