Continuing the Conversation

Enter a conversation where questions are more important than answers. Where curiosity and connection trump certainty and combat. Where history’s great thinkers provide a springboard for us to jump into big questions together. Enter Continuing the Conversation: our college’s antidote to the blustery world just beyond our library doors.

Featured Release

The power and beauty of Homer’s imagery in the Iliad is undeniable, and his scenes of battle often prompt vexing questions about ancient and modern virtues. Can killing and dying in war be beautiful? Is a just cause required for glory to be gained? Is war a courageous way of fulfilling human nature and, ultimately, of embracing the reality that death awaits us all? This episode, in which Annapolis host Louis Petrich and tutor Erica Beall delve into the dramatic contrasts that make Homer’s work powerful and war potentially beautiful, invites us to question our own modern perspectives on this ancient text.

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About the Series

Conversations between great thinkers have shaped society for millennia. At St. John’s College, we engage in these conversations continually: through books, authors, and ideas that have shaped human history, which we read and discuss together. In this web and podcast series, St. John’s College faculty invite us in on these conversations, offering a personal seat at a table open to all—a table around which we seek wisdom through our shared intellectual history; around which joy is experienced as thinkers truly connect; around which the mystery of who we are as humans, and why we see each other and the world as we do, is explored with openness and curiosity. From the Ancients to the Moderns, from the West to the East, from the profound to the personal: this is Continuing the Conversation.

About the Hosts

  • Sarah Davis

    Sarah Davis is a tutor at St. John’s College. This semester, she is discussing Aristotle in freshman seminar and Dedekind’s theory of numbers in junior mathematics.

  • Zena Hitz

    Zena Hitz (A95) is a tutor at St. John’s College. This semester, she is performing Lavoisier's experiments in freshman laboratory, reading English poetry in sophomore language, and pondering Machiavelli in sophomore seminar.

  • Louis Petrich

    Louis Petrich is a tutor at St. John’s College. This semester, he is exploring Euripides in freshman seminar, teaching Pascal in freshman laboratory, and leading a philosophy and theology tutorial in the Graduate Institute.

  • Krishnan Venkatesh

    Krishnan Venkatesh is a tutor at St. John’s College. This semester, he is reading Austen in junior seminar, translating Molière in junior language, and leading a Chinese tutorial in the Graduate Institute.

About St. John’s College

At St. John’s College, we read and discuss 3000 years of great books—and conduct the great experiments that many of them contain. After class, conversations spill into the hallways, the residence halls, and into every part of our lives—and now into this web and podcast series. Our shorthand for this phenomenon is called “continuing the conversation,” and our faculty, whom we call tutors, don’t profess to have answers to the questions we explore.

The college offers three degrees: a BA in Liberal Arts; an MA in Liberal Arts; and an MA in Eastern Classics; a teacher’s certificate in Liberal Arts is also available. After graduating, our alumni are known for an increasingly rare skill set: disciplined listening, sharp analysis, precise communication, deep knowledge of (Western and/or Eastern) history, a clear-eyed understanding of human nature, and a stubborn refusal to fall prey to groupthink. Together, these qualities lead to successful careers as lawyers, judges, reporters, researchers, writers, scholars, educators, scientists, analysts, and more.

Executive Producers Welcome

Continuing the Conversation was funded through the philanthropy of donors to St. John’s College. If you’d like to give to the college’s Annual Fund, your gift will go to support the kinds of inquiry and conversation that comes to life at St. John’s College. It also frees up money for creative projects like this one, which brings great conversation and great books into homes across the world.


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St. John’s College invites the community to awaken their intellect by engaging in mindful exploration. The college offers an array of online and in-person events, ranging from world-class concerts and art exhibitions to lectures and theater performances, as well as tutor-led seminars that provide lifelong learners opportunities to study the Great Books.

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