The Wisdom of the World: The Human Experience of the Universe in Western Thought
When the ancient Greeks looked up into the heavens, they saw not just sun and moon, stars and planets, but a complete, coherent universe, a model of the Good that could serve as a guide to a better life. How this view of the world came to be, and how we lost it (or turned away from it) on the way to becoming modern, make for a fascinating story, told in a highly accessible manner by Rémi Brague in this wide-ranging cultural history.
Before the Greeks, people thought human action was required to maintain the order of the universe and so conducted rituals and sacrifices to renew and restore it. But beginning with the Hellenic Age, the universe came to be seen as existing quite apart from human action and possessing, therefore, a kind of wisdom that humanity did not. Wearing his remarkable erudition lightly, Brague traces the many ways this universal wisdom has been interpreted over the centuries, from the time of ancient Egypt to the modern era. Socratic and Muslim philosophers, Christian theologians and Jewish Kabbalists all believed that questions about the workings of the world and the meaning of life were closely intertwined and that an understanding of cosmology was crucial to making sense of human ethics. Exploring the fate of this concept in the modern day, Brague shows how modernity stripped the universe of its sacred and philosophical wisdom, transforming it into an ethically indifferent entity that no longer serves as a model for human morality.
Encyclopedic and yet intimate, The Wisdom of the World offers the best sort of history: broad, learned, and completely compelling. Brague opens a window onto systems of thought radically different from our own.More info →
Thoughts on Education
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The Ethics of Beauty
Chaste and ardent eros for the Beautiful is the first task of human life, and falling in love with Beauty is the beginning of every adventure that matters …. In The Ethics of Beauty, Orthodox Christian theologian Timothy Patitsas first considers Beauty’s opposite, the dark events that traumatize victims of war and other ugly circumstances, and then invites us to rediscover the older Beauty-first response to moral questions and the integrity of the soul. Covering topics ranging from creation to political theory to the Jesus Prayer, including war, psychology, trauma, chastity, healthy shame, gender, marriage, hospitality, art, architecture, theology, economics, urban planning, and complexity theory, The Ethics of Beauty lays out a worldview in which Beauty, Goodness, and Truth are each embraced as indispensable elements of the best possible human life.More info →
A Gentleman in Moscow
In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.
Brimming with humor, a glittering cast of characters, and one beautifully rendered scene after another, this singular novel casts a spell as it relates the count’s endeavor to gain a deeper understanding of what it means to be a man of purpose.More info →
Charlotte Mason’s Formation of Character (Book 5 of the Home Education Series)
This edition of Charlotte Mason’s Home Education Series is presented complete and unabridged, retaining the pagination of the original to make research and referencing easy. All the books have been fully transcribed and formatted using a clean and easy-to-read font so that there’s no excuse not to read these revolutionary works.Formation of Character is a book for all parents, no matter the age of their children. It includes both stories and classic illustrations from literature teaching on the development of children’s character. In it she details:– How to train character by using many examples.– The story of the Parents National Education Union (PNEU)– How to educate older students– How the childhood of boys affected the men they grew to become.More info →
Byzantium (I): The Early Centuries
Volume 1 of the series. Includes 32 pages of illustrations, and 11 maps and tables.More info →
Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
Plenty of experts argue that anyone who wants to develop a skill, play an instrument, or lead their field should start early, focus intensely, and rack up as many hours of deliberate practice as possible. If you dabble or delay, you’ll never catch up to the people who got a head start. But a closer look at research on the world’s top performers, from professional athletes to Nobel laureates, shows that early specialization is the exception, not the rule.
David Epstein examined the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters and scientists. He discovered that in most fields—especially those that are complex and unpredictable—generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel. Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one. They’re also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can’t see.
Provocative, rigorous, and engrossing, Range makes a compelling case for actively cultivating inefficiency. Failing a test is the best way to learn. Frequent quitters end up with the most fulfilling careers. The most impactful inventors cross domains rather than deepening their knowledge in a single area. As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive.More info →
The Lord of the Rings
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell by chance into the hands of the hobbit Bilbo Baggins.
From Sauron's fastness in the Dark Tower of Mordor, his power spread far and wide. Sauron gathered all the Great Rings to him, but always he searched for the One Ring that would complete his dominion.
When Bilbo reached his eleventy-first birthday he disappeared, bequeathing to his young cousin Frodo the Ruling Ring and a perilous quest: to journey across Middle-earth, deep into the shadow of the Dark Lord, and destroy the Ring by casting it into the Cracks of Doom.
The Lord of the Rings tells of the great quest undertaken by Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring: Gandalf the Wizard; the hobbits Merry, Pippin, and Sam; Gimli the Dwarf; Legolas the Elf; Boromir of Gondor; and a tall, mysterious stranger called Strider.More info →
Sounding the Seasons: Seventy sonnets for Christian year
Poetry has always been a central element of Christian spirituality and is increasingly used in worship, in pastoral services and guided meditation. In Sounding the Seasons, Cambridge poet, priest and singer-songwriter Malcolm Guite transforms seventy lectionary readings into lucid, inspiring poems, for use in regular worship, seasonal services, meditative reading or on retreat.More info →
Leisure: The Basis of Culture
One of the most important philosophy titles published in the twentieth century, Josef Pieper's Leisure, the Basis of Culture is more significant, even more crucial, today than it was when it first appeared more than fifty years ago. This edition also includes his work The Philosophical Act. Leisure is an attitude of the mind and a condition of the soul that fosters a capacity to perceive the reality of the world. Pieper shows that the Greeks and medieval Europeans, understood the great value and importance of leisure. He also points out that religion can be born only in leisure -- a leisure that allows time for the contemplation of the nature of God. Leisure has been, and always will be, the first foundation of any culture. Pieper maintains that our bourgeois world of total labor has vanquished leisure, and issues a startling warning: Unless we regain the art of silence and insight, the ability for non-activity, unless we substitute true leisure for our hectic amusements, we will destroy our culture -- and ourselves.More info →
The Cloud of Witness ~ A Daily Sequence of Great Thoughts from Many Minds following the Christian Seasons
Over one thousand quotes, scripture verses, and poetry selections are included in this sweet-sized devotional (4"x6") that will help inspire and guide you throughout the year. The Cloud of Witness is a high-quality reprint of the 1891 edition compiled by Edith Gell. It is a durable heirloom book printed in grayscale and housed in a rich coated-linen cover with a golden bookmark to hold your place. Each week a different theme is highlighted with selections from such luminaries as George MacDonald, William Wordsworth, Lord Tennyson, William Shakespeare, Ralph Waldo Emerson and others. A fresh forward has been added by Nancy Kelly of Sage Parnassus which elucidates Charlotte Mason’s use of this book as a gift to her House of Education graduates. In addition, a high-quality color image of Holman Hunt’s The Light of the World replaces the black and white image from the 1st edition. This thoughtful volume will comfort and guide anyone who wishes to meditate on the many truths found between the covers as well as make a perfect gift that will last a lifetime. We at Riverbend Press were very happy to work with Nancy Kelly on this project. Nancy had a vision for this wonderful little book and together we were able to make it a reality. We are pleased to add it to our growing list of Charlotte Mason books and look forward to future Charlotte Mason-related projects with Nancy involving books and other beautiful things.More info →
The Nine Tailors
The nine tellerstrokes from the belfry of an ancient country church toll out the death of an unknown man and call the famous Lord Peter Whimsey to investigate the good and evil that lurks in every person. Steeped in the atmosphere of a quiet parish in the strange, flat fen-country of East Anglia, this is a tale of suspense, character, and mood by an author critics and readers rate as one of the great masters of the mystery novel.More info →