Every Friday evening, Johnnies flock to the Great Hall to hear a lecture from visiting scholars, artists, poets or faculty. Topics may be closely connected with seminar, tutorial, or laboratory readings, or they may open up a new field of inquiry. For example, lecturers have tackled anthropology, space science, painting, architecture, politics, economics, religion, and more. Lectures are followed by an engaging discussion between the lecturer, students, and faculty.

The St. John’s College Formal Lecture Series in Annapolis and the Dean’s Lecture Series in Santa Fe are free and open to the public, unless specified otherwise.

Recordings and transcripts of lectures are available on the SJC Digital Archives site. Explore some lectures below.

Lecture Highlights

Math & Science

Politics & Economics

Who Should Elect the President?

Tocqueville’s American Odyssey

Living Well: Aristotle, on Democracy, Equality, and the Politics of Life

Political Order and Political Decay: the American Political System in a Time of Global Upheaval

Krishna versus the British Empire: the Bhagavad Gita During the Indian Independence Struggle

Can Taxes be Fair? Should They Be?

Religion, Enlightenment, and the American Character

A Short Talk by Judge Michael Mukasey

Stabilizing Currency: Locke on Money, Morality, and Natural Law


The Musical Universe and Mozart’s Magic Flute

Towards “A New Birth of Freedom” - Tragedy and Comedy, 1786 Schiller’s Don Carlos and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro

Children of Orpheus: the Dialogue Between Ancient and Modern Music

Music and the Idea of a World: on Plato and Schopenhauer


The Anger of Achilles, and its Source: a Reading of Book One of the Iliad

To Meet with Macbeth

Audio FileWhy Should I read James Joyce’s Ulysses if it’s Only Going to Make My Head Hurt?

On Homer’s Gods

Why Should I read James Joyce’s Ulysses if it’s Only Going to Make My Head Hurt?

Classics and History: Historical and Literary Contexts in the Reading of Sanskrit Texts

The Winnowing oar: Odysseus’ Final Journey

Nighttime Walks with Proust: “Le Pays Obscur” par le Clair de Lune

Poetry Reading from “Train Dance”

Philosophy & Religion

Is Man the Measure of All Things? Plato’s Analysis of Relativism

Teleology as Death Wish: a Nietzschean Critique of Aristotle

Against Time

The Soul’s Choice of Life

Why Read Books?

Everyone Sees How You Appear; Few Touch What You Are: Machiavelli on Human Nature

Does Beauty Have a Place in Liberal Education?

Going for Gold: Sergio Leone Reads Plato in The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Learning to Read Moses Maimonides’ Guide to the Perplexed

Dante’s Beatrice: Between Idolatry and Iconoclasm

Exploring the History of the Qur’ān: From Canonisation to Textual Criticism

Robert E. Howard: Boxing and the Cult of Masculinity

A Commentary on Motherhood as Presented in Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex