WHAT: St. John’s College Graduate Institute Summer Lecture Series
The Graduate Institute Summer Lectures are given by St. John’s tutors, last about an hour, are followed by discussion, and are free and open to the public.
WHEN: Wednesday, July 30, at 3 p.m.
WHO: Frank Pagano: “Greek Pettiness in Montesquieu’s Considerations of the Grandeur of the Romans”
WHERE: Junior Common Room, Peterson Student Center, St. John’s College, 1160 Camino Cruz Blanca, Santa Fe
CONTACT: 984-6000 (St. John’s College Switchboard)
After first proclaiming the end of history and the final victory of the West, today popular social science widely proclaims the decline (and perhaps fall) of the West and the failure of its project of enlightenment: making the whole world civil by means of the Western science. In the Considerations Montesquieu studied the ancient version of enlightenment, the Roman Empire (which tried to make the world civilized Rome), and the ancient counter-example, Greece. The Greeks thought that the world was divided between Greeks and barbarians; that barbarians could never be brought to be Greeks; and that the attempt to make them Greek would only obscure what made the Greeks superior to barbarians. Rome thought all humanity could be Roman and civilized. Has history shown which of the two ancient peoples had the better argument? Is there a third way?