Monday, August 13, 2007

Magical Me

Hello everyone! I am actually updating my blog on a Monday. That is, I am updating my blog on the proper day. Man, that's just bloody brilliant.

Since my last post, I have read and finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1 of 7) and have plowed my way into Book 2, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, from which the title of this post is taken. Rowling's books are easy on the eye, a quality that is especially nice for the late evening before bed. This means, however, that I am going to need Book Three faster than you can say "Flue Travelling."

Watching the Harry Potter movies has certainly re-kindled my interest in the history of the university, particularly the medieval university. I had even forgotten, or took for granted, that before I left Christendom I took a 500 level course on Catholic higher education which outlined and described the development and philosophy of the Catholic university throughout the ages, with particular emphasis on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

So much occurred on a grand scale during these two centuries to alter our paradigm of formal education it is mind-boggling. Suffice it to say, education is no longer what it used to be.

Ah, Oxford. I wish all schools looked this awesome.

Anyway, I have been continuing my medieval studies, boring to some, but intriguing and exciting to me. One of the books on my list has been Christopher Dawson's Medieval Essays. This marks the first time I've really sat down and read Dawson on my own, and he is fantastic! One of the big inquiries I have is exactly how did the transition from Fall of the Empire to Medieval Catholic Europe take place? I mean, how did it transpire on an organic cultural level? I think Dawson's answers are not only insightful, but refreshing.

The other facet of my study has been Latin. I can only handle about 40-45 minutes a day, at the moment, and by that time I am pent up and need to throw somebody. Seriously. I love Latin but it makes me mad, as in crazy. (My wife says I don't need Latin to make me crazy, though.) Even still, I figure if I can make it through that much each day, after a long period of time, I will have a solid grasp of the language.

To study anything historical pre-1800 requires ease with Latin if I want to move on in the ranks of academia. I don't know that I ever will--though I am thinking about it, I got the itch, you know--but if I do decide to go in that direction, I will need to be a competent Latin scholar. I will need to kick it seriously. Better to be prepared than to be unprepared and found wanting.

I love Latin despite it's difficulty. Ever since I knew there was a Latin language, I've always wanted to learn it and be good at it. If I can get my lazy bum up each morning to try and master it, maybe "good" will be attainable after all.


Bridget said...

Wow. Good luck with your Latin endeavor! I had Latin for 2 years in High School, and it nearly killed me. I love language. I know Spanish very well and you'd think that would help me with my Latin. But DAMN! Latin is a complex language to learn. It made me cry.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, good luck indeed. I will need more than good intentions to bring me through Wheelock's Chapter 1--I will need time, and then actual discipline, you know.

Thanks for the shout out, BK.


Ben Hatke said...

Oooh. The discipline is the hard part!

I've found that Italian and Latin are really similar. It doesn't help with the grammar much, but it does help with vocabulary.


Anonymous said...

Discipline is no problem for Harry Potter, though.

More like, addiction.