Francis Fast

Afternoon Seminar

“The Universal and Particular: Finding ‘Calling’ in the Classics”

In this seminar, we’ll focus on the work of two authors: Cicero (On Duties) and Augustine (Confessions). The first half of the course will focus on the former, the second half on the latter. Attendees may register for one or both parts.

Oxford (July 25 and 27)

Cicero’s On Duties was at one point in time the most widely printed book other than the Bible, and Anselm based one of the first Christian “ethics textbooks” on the ideas that Cicero develops. On Duties is written to Cicero’s son to help him better discern his duties, to guide him in developing a plan for his life. Augustine credited a pivotal moment in his own conversion to the writings of Cicero.

Cambridge (July 31 and August 1)

Augustine’s Confessions is considered the first autobiography, but it is more than that: it is Augustine’s own reflection on how God began to work within his life, and a very personal attempt to see the meaning in his years of wandering away from Christ. Augustine’s biography reveals the way that he experienced the call of Christ, filtered through the lens of memory.

Attendees will be emailed links to each of the texts, with study questions included, to help with preparation for the seminar.

Francis Fast received his undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts from the Great Books program at Thomas Aquinas College.  He acquired his M.A. in Political Philosophy from the University of Dallas, where he is a doctoral candidate in their Institute of Philosophic Studies writing on Thomas Aquinas.

He has been an instructor in various Great Books programs on both the secondary and post-secondary level for the last seven years, most recently at Founders Classical Academy in Lewisville, TX – a charter school affiliate of Hillsdale College – where he teaches Moral Philosophy. He is currently Director of Graduate Programs for Great Hearts Academies.

Francis has been an avid reader of C.S. Lewis for over twenty years, and one of the great joys of his education in the classics has been to begin to understand both the sources that Lewis drew from for the structure of his thought, but also the degree to which Lewis was a truly original and insightful thinker in his own right.

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