What's the Point of Reading “Great Books”? A Lesson from the Middle Ages

“For over 1,000 years of the Western tradition, up to the dawn of printing, reading great books meant training for reading the Scriptures, not because the clergy did not want people thinking for themselves – remember, we are also told that the clergy didn’t want the laity even reading the Scriptures, which raises the interesting question of who was buying all those books – but rather because they wanted people to grow in virtue and wisdom through engagement with the living Word.”
Transcript of my lecture for the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation. Given August 14, 2019, in Sydney, Australia. Full text at ABC Religion & Ethics.
For my continuing adventures as a conservative in academia, see MedievalGate.

Is Academia Good for the Soul?

Short answer: no!

Long answer: my address to the Canadian Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship in May.

Wait for the Q&A—we had a lively discussion!

With thanks to JustRightMedia for their work recording the conference!

For a complete list of my video and podcast appearances, see Bear On Air

Make Culture Christian Again

Everyone agrees. The West has a problem. For good or for ill, what we used to call “Western civilization” is crumbling. The monuments of its past are being pulled down. Its heroes are being wiped from the public memory. Efforts at stemming the loss are vilified as “racist” and “white supremacist.” Nobody in polite society wants to be associated with its institutions and ideals anymore.

Particularly not with Christianity.

Even in so-called conservative circles, to call oneself “Christian”—as opposed to “Judeo-Christian”—is something of a faux pas. A bit gauche. Definitely lowbrow. Not particularly intellectual. Certainly not something a rational thinker would wholeheartedly embrace. Well, perhaps it is okay to be Christian in the circles I frequent online, but then I have never been invited to the right cocktail parties. Not that I would have any idea how to behave.

Then again, as they say, turnabout is fair play.

I’m a Christian, and Christianity has always been a bit embarrassing to …

The Milo Test

My colleagues in academia must be so jealous of me. I am friends with the most fabulous faggot on the planet.

You don’t believe me? Look, it says so, right here in The Chronicle of Higher Education!

Sorry, paywall. Let me quote the relevant passage for you (click on images to enlarge):

I like “cheeky paean” as an epithet for “Three Cheers for White Men.” And “journalist-turned-troll-turned-pariah” is amazingly mild as a description of Milo.

But my favorite line has got to be this one:
There’s enough of a mind-meld between the unlikely pair that some scholars suspect that Brown was essentially the co-author of Yiannopoulos’s thesis-length investigation/diatribe. In an email, Brown denied any ghostwriting: “Milo wrote it. He interviewed me. He is a talented journalist who knows his craft.” Have you ever read anything hotter? I have a “mind-meld” with Milo?! I think I may need to lie down for a little bit.

It’s true, Milo and I have been in correspondence for almost three years now. Just…

Getting Medieval on the Middle Ages

The first episode in my course on medieval history is up at! The series will be for subscribers to the channel, but this episode is free to watch. Supporting materials will be posted on Medieval History 101: The Unauthorized Version. Come join me!

For my continuing adventures as a conservative in academia, see MedievalGate.

For a full list of my video, podcast, and radio appearances, see Bear On Air.

Triple Treat

I have been busy giving talks and doing videos and podcasts these past several weeks! A sampling from Bear On Air.

Nostalgia Over the Ages. Missing the Mark with Christopher Lansdown. June 20, 2019.

On Milo and Western Civilization. Unsafe Space with Carter and Keri. June 20, 2019.

Professing Mary. The Patrick McCormack Show on Relevant Radio. June 22, 2019 (Segment 1Segment 2).

I will also be starting my lectures for Medieval History 101: The Unauthorized Versionon this week. Watch this space for details!

Unauthorized Study Guide

Classes starting soon! I am sure you all want to get started on some reading, right?! No worries, the Unauthorized Professor has put together a study guide with a few links...  About  Why study the Middle Ages? Great BooksRecommended ReadingOnline ResourcesThe Ivory Tower
For my continuing adventures as a conservative in academia, see MedievalGate. Just wait ‘til my colleagues get a load of this course!

Safe Spaces vs. Sacred Spaces and the Purpose of University Education

“Our students are going mad. We’ve brought them into a place where we systematically expose them to the terrors of existence,” so says Prof. Rachel Fulton Brown of the University of Chicago in this public presentation which took place in London, Ontario on May 3rd, 2019. Prof. Fulton Brown makes the claim that many students do not fully comprehend that the purpose of a University is not to provide a ‘safe space’ for them to hide away from any idea which might make them feel offended but to provide a ‘sacred’ place for them to ponder the more substantive questions in life – a place to answer not just the questions of What and How but the more important question of Why. —JustRightMedia Bonus: I tell the story of how I met Milo! And I answer some tough questions.
Talk based on “Safe Spaces vs. Sacred Spaces,” September 29, 2016; and “A few words of advice to Trigglypuff—and her teachers,” September 30, 2016.

For my continuing adventures as a conservative in academia, see MedievalGate.

For m…

Medieval History 101: The Unauthorized Version

Welcome to my Random Laypersons! Welcome to the VFM, welcome to the Dread Ilk, welcome to the Reprehensibles, welcome to the Unauthorized, and welcome to the Bears!

This is the History Course you have been waiting for! 
Or, rather, it will be, as soon as I get some feedback from you.

I was greatly encouraged when Vox asked you the other night about whether you would be interested in such a course and so many of you said, “Yes—as long as it is real history!”
As Fencing Bear would put it, “Three cheers!” 
We are thinking about having a video a week, starting this summer. 
The first question that I have is about format. What kind of format would make for a good course online? 
What I do not want is to have these videos simply be lectures, the canonical professor-talks-while-the-students-doze lectures you get in the movies before the professor starts encouraging the students to stand on their desks.  
I want, in fact, to make them real—in the sense of the kinds of discussion I would give my…

Bear Goes Solo!

My first solo podcast as a YouTuber! My guest is Joseph Dobrian, author of Willie Wilden, Ambitions, and Hard-Wired.

We talk about his new book Feldy’s Girl, a campus novel set in the late 1960s. Teresa Feldevert is the daughter of the football coach and a good Catholic girl who finds herself caught up in the campus politics of the late 1960s. How does she navigate being one of the boys in the midst of the sexual revolution, racial tensions, and campus protests against the Vietnam war?

My YouTube channel: Fencing Bear at Prayer.

Complete list of my podcast, radio, and video appearances: Bear On Air.

Rachel Fulton Brown 101

Welcome! Please visit my homepage and let me know what you think!

Does Study of the Middle Ages Have a “White Supremacy” Problem?

I say, no! It has a Christianity problem. Let me explain...

Listen here!

For a complete list of my podcast, radio, and YouTube appearances, go here.

Three Cheers...for me!

Talking with Robert Vaughan of Just Right Media about the blog post that started it all and what it has been like for me cheering for white men—and Western civilization. Watch here.

For a complete list of my podcast, video, and radio appearances, go here.

MedievalGate Makes the Headlines—and the Tweets!

The bears are so excited! We made the Sunday New York Times! Look, look, look! They are talking about us! Well, me—Fencing Bear! But Professor Rachel Fulton Brown gets a mention, too! And Milo! And Vox Day! (The relevant passage with better links.)
The idea of medieval studies as a haven for white nationalist ideas gained ground when Rachel Fulton Brown, an associate professor of medieval history at the University of Chicago, began feuding with Dorothy Kim, an assistant professor of medieval English literature at Brandeis, after Dr. Kim, writing on Facebook, highlighted an old blog post of Dr. Fulton Brown’s titled “Three Cheers for White Men,” calling it an example of “medievalists upholding white supremacy.”  Many scholars were outraged when Dr. Fulton Brown, in a riposteto Dr. Kim written a few weeks after Charlottesville, tagged the right-wing writer Milo Yiannopoulos, whose website then ran an article about the dispute. Last July Mr. Yiannopoulos followed up with a 16,000-word a…