By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wheat Among the Tares

DuBourg Hall serves as the administration buil...St. Louis University via Wikipedia
Let me be clear that, in terms of Catholic theology, it is my personal opinion that Garry Wills has written much that is highly questionable, amateurish, and inaccurate. But human reality is, thankfully, more complex than that and offers "much wheat among the tares."  Wills is also a classicist (for example, he has given high praise to Sarah Ruden's Vergil translation recently featured in this blog--see the related articles section below). Wills can, at times, make some needed, salient points:
Mr. Wills writes gratefully, and with relish, about the intellectual and spiritual armor he acquired early. “I was blessed by my schooling — Catholic grade school, high school, college (St. Louis University) and graduate school (Xavier of Cincinnati),” he says.
Mr. Wills also has a Ph.D. in classics from Yale, and he is eloquent about why this sort of education matters to anyone who wishes to write and think seriously. “Learning classical Greek is the most economical intellectual investment one can make,” he writes. “On many things that might interest one — law and politics, philosophy, oratory, history, lyric poetry, epic poetry, drama — there will be constant reference back to the founders of those forms in our civilization.”
Source link (emphasis added).
I also appreciate his gracious tribute to the Catholic academic institutions with which he has been associated. In some "elite" quarters of American higher education, a Catholic educational background is viewed as an inferior "ghetto" experience, a condescending view that, ironically and deliciously, serves to confirm the myopic ignorance and intellectual and cultural isolation of those holding such a view.

Related articles
Related quote:

“Robert Fagles, shortly before his death, set the bar very high for translating [Virgil’s] Aeneid. Yet already the scholar-poet Sarah Ruden has soared over the bar. . . The translation is alive in every part. . . . This is the first translation since Dryden’s that can be read as a great English poem in itself.”

—Garry Wills (New York Review of Books 5/1/2008; found at Amazon.com page for Ruden's translation).