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Syndication

Could Jesus get tenure? Almost every year, thoughtful books are published documenting the various crises of higher education. The titles alone express a mood of dismay: Excellence without a Soul; Clueless in Academe: How Schooling Obscures the Life of the Mind; Crisis in the Academy; Killing the Spirit: Higher Education in America; and (most pessimistically) The University in Ruins. Surveying such books, one soon realizes that the problems besetting higher education are often instances of larger problems in the society at large. The University has lost its way because modern Western culture has lost its way. In their more optimistic book The Passionate Intellect, Norman Klassen and Jens Zimmermann offer a longer and deeper perspective in identifying what's wrong. Their book—subtitled Incarnational Humanism and the Future of University Education—traces the history of higher education from its medieval roots to the present, focusing on how educational agendas have been assembled in light of shifting understandings of the nature of knowledge and the nature of human well-being. They demonstrate that some form of humanism has always been central to the purposes of higher education, and insist that the recovery of a rich, Christocentric Christian humanism is the only way for the University to recover a coherent purpose. MARS HILL AUDIO has just released an audio version of this important book, available on CD or as an MP3 download. Look here for more information.


Category:MHA MP3 -- posted at: 4:55pm EDT

Rightly remembering Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn With the death of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in early August, the modern world lost one of its most trenchant prophets. In many eulogies and obituaries, Solzheitsyn was identified mainly (or exclusively) as a fierce foe of the Soviet Communist system. Of course, he was that: the publication of the first volume of his massive work, The Gulag Archipelego—documenting the horrors of the Soviet labor camps—led to his expulsion from his homeland in 1974 and to the West's recognition of the suffering of many Soviet citizens. But there was something more important in his writing: a positive, hopeful vision that was often overlooked by readers too preoccupied with politics. It was a vision rooted in a Christian view of human nature and purpose.

MARS HILL AUDIO has assembled a special Anthology of interviews to explore The Christian Humanism of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Guests include Edward E. Ericson, Jr., coeditor of The Solzhenitsyn Reader (2006) and The Soul and Barbed Wire (2008); David Aikman, for years a senior correspondent for TIME magazine; and James Pontuso, author of Solzhenitsyn’s Political Thought (1990). Host Ken Myers discusses with them the themes in Solzhenitsyn’s books and speeches, including his Nobel Prize speech and his controversial commencement address at Harvard in 1978.

The Anthology is available on CD ($7) or as an MP3 download ($5). Also of interest is the MARS HILL AUDIO Reprint called One Word of Truth: A Portrait of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, written and read by David Aikman, who in 1989 was granted the first—and, for many years, only—major interview given by Solzhenitsyn to an American news organization. Aikman's engaging and lively account portrays an amazing man who  devoted his life to the battle for truth. One Word of Truth also includes introductory remarks by cultural critic Os Guinness and is available as an MP3 download ($2).

Direct download: SolReaderCover.gif
Category:MHA MP3 -- posted at: 7:28pm EDT

The challenge of lived theology The first of five books by Eugene Peterson detailing his vision of "spiritual theology" was published in 2005; its title (borrowed from Gerard Manley Hopkins) was Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places: A Conversation in Spiritual Theology. The fourth book of that series, Tell It Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in His Stories and Prayers, will be published this Fall by Eerdmans. In anticipation of that book,  MARS HILL AUDIO has released a Conversation with Eugene Peterson about his vision for spiritual theology. In Dancing Lessons: Eugene Peterson on Theology and the Rhythms of Life, the pastor/theologian talks with Ken Myers about the challenges of remaining faithful in a culture that disorders our lives in countless ways, stressing the theme of the "livability" of the Bible's message. "None of it is esoteric. None of it is a specialized, compartmentalized thing. It's all lived." Just as the redemptive work of God is lived out in the grand story of Scripture, so our lives are stories about God's work. "One of the wonderful things about being a pastor is that your whole work takes place in a 'storied' context. . . . Nothing is mere doctrine. . . . It's all embedded in this narrative way of living."

Hovering around the themes of God's work in creation, in history, and community (the organizing ideas of Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places), Peterson discusses the necessity of taking time in worship; the benefits and liabilities of small groups; the delightful gifts of language; and the centrality of "fear of the Lord" in describing our response to God's initiative in salvation.

This Conversation is available on CD (for $7 plus shipping) or as an MP3 download (for $5). Look here for further information.

Category:MHA MP3 -- posted at: 4:48pm EDT

Arrogant fascist or humble democrat? A Time magazine article from 1996 nominated political philosopher Leo Strauss (who died in 1973) as one of the most influential and powerful figures in Washington. Strauss was regarded as the inspiration for Newt Gingrich's steamrolling political movement. He has since been cited as the ultimate source of our war in Iraq, since former Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was a student of a student of Strauss's at the University of Chicago. An article by one libertarian writer labels Strauss the "fascist godfather of the neo-cons."

What, then, to make of these recent claims by Yale political philosopher Steven B. Smith (from his 2006 book Reading Leo Strauss): "Throughout his writings, Strauss remained deeply skeptical of whether political theory had any substantive advice or direction to offer statesmen. . . . The idea that political or military action can be used to eradicate evil from the human landscape is closer to the utopian and idealistic visions of Marxism and the radical Enlightenment than anything found in the writings of Strauss."

A helpful introduction to Strauss's ideas appeared last year in an article entitled "The Secret of Straussianism," by Richard Sherlock, published in the journal Modern Age. A reading of this article is the latest MARS HILL AUDIO Reprint, available as an MP3 download from the MARS HILL AUDIO website (marshillaudio.org/catalog/reprints.asp; sorry we can't insert a clickable link here, but the server is being goofy). In addition to a survey of Strauss's method of reading classical, literary, and political-theoretical texts, Sherlock also examines his posture toward religion. Read by Ken Myers, the 36-minute reading sells for $3.

This Reprint is the tenth in a series that covers such various topics as the novels of P. D. James, the life of William Wilberforce, the penetrating insights of Leszek Kolakowski, the importance of manual labor, and the necessity of reading the classics. Audition listeners may want to expand the range of their aural fixations by downloading some of these unique Audio Reprints.

Direct download: Strauss.gif
Category:MHA MP3 -- posted at: 12:26pm EDT

Alan Jacobs essays on MP3 In 2001, Alan Jacobs (last heard on our Journal discussing his book The Narnian: The Life and Imagination of C. S. Lewis) published a series of essays under the title A Visit to Vanity Fair: Moral Essays on the Present Age. The sixteen essays included in this collection covered a wide range of subjects, from the nature of essays (and essayists) to the place of poetry in preaching to the nature of friendship. There are essays on Harry Potter, C. S. Lewis, and Donald Davie. There's even an essay on the moral temptations of watching those violent nature videos, the ones very red in tooth and claw. When the book was published, we brought Alan to Virginia to record it, and then released it on cassette (just months before Apple introduced the first iPod). We've finally made an MP3 edition of this wonderful book available for sale (just $13 for the 5-1/2 hour unabridged reading). In order to encourage you to consider this purchase (which, for those of you without iPods, can easily be burned to CDs to maintain portability), we've placed the introductory essay from the book on-line here. Purchase information is here. (And if you're in a nostalgic mood, we still have a number of copies of the cassette edition, on 4 cassettes for $23.)


Category:MHA MP3 -- posted at: 2:33pm EDT


Two of our MARS HILL AUDIO Anthologies, previously available on cassette, have just been released in a downloadable format. The first of these is called Manners and the Civil Society, and features readings of articles by columnist and etiquette queen Judith Martin, historian Gertrude Himmelfarb, and others. The second audio Anthology is called Place, Community, and Memory, with essays by Wendell Berry, Gilbert Meilaender, and a selection from Nobel prize-winner Ivo Andric. Informing both of these collections is the question, "How might the way we order social life honor the kinds of creatures we are, body and spirit?" The questions of the place of manners in our lives and of the manner in which we regard place both revolve around taking the form of life seriously. For information about these provocative MARS HILL AUDIO Anthologies, look here.

Category:MHA MP3 -- posted at: 9:06pm EDT

New audiobook on the meaning of the human Is humanity -- the quality of being human -- a blessing or a curse? Do we simply put up with it, or do we embrace it? Many Christians consider their purpose in life to deny or escape their humanity. But the humanity of Christians is tied up in the humanity of Christ. If Jesus Christ is human, then his humanity is something to be learned and lived. Many Christians, however, do not really believe in the humanity of Jesus (or they don't feel comfortable with it) and consequently find it hard to affirm and live out their own humanity.

Almost 20 years ago, theologian and bioethicist Nigel Cameron wrote a book called Are Christians Human? An Exploration of True Spirituality. In the book, Cameron points out that being human as Jesus Christ is human has profound implications for daily living. It means living as embodied creatures, using the gifts of perception and intellect, feeling and responding emotionally to life, using one's discernment and will to chart a course in keeping with God's leading. "The purpose of redemption," Cameron reminds us, "is to enable man to be once more himself, restored to his right mind and his right place as a creature under God. . . . The Christian life is the life of man, male and female, made in the image of God and after his likeness. To deny this humanity and attempt to reach beyond to a 'spirituality' which somehow contradicts it, is to fall prey once more to the tempter in his shining, specious livery, who as an angel of light beckons us to reach beyond the confines of our human existence to a place where in fact we deny it and fall from its dignity."

Author Nigel Cameron is President of the Institute on Biotechnology and the Human Future, Director of the Center on Nanotechnology and Society, Research Professor of Bioethics and Associate Dean at Chicago-Kent College of Law in the Illinois Institute of Technology. Cameron founded the journal Ethics and Medicine in 1983 and is widely recognized as a commentator on bioethics and biotech policy issues. His books include The New Medicine: Life and Death After Hippocrates and Nanoscale: Issues and Perspectives for the Nano Century (edited, forthcoming).

MARS HILL AUDIO has just released an unabridged reading of Are Christians Human? Read by Ken Myers, the 4-hour-long book is available as an MP3 download ($11), or on 4 standard CDs ($20 + shipping). Look here for ordering information.

Category:MHA MP3 -- posted at: 6:51pm EDT

The Children of Men: P. D. James's Dystopian Vision On the last issue of Audition, we featured Ralph C. Wood talking about P. D. James, whose novel The Children of Men has now been adapted for film (see below for a link to that podcast). In 1994, Dr. Wood (now University Professor of Theology and Literature at Baylor University) wrote an essay for Theology Today in which he examined in great detail the spiritual and social concerns James explores in this fascinating book. MARS HILL AUDIO has just released an MP3 download of a reading of that essay as part of its Audio Reprint series.

This Reprint sells for $3.00 and is read by Ken Myers.


Category:MHA MP3 -- posted at: 10:11pm EDT

Not Ready for Marriage In 1997, Leon Kass published an essay called "The End of Courtship" in a quarterly journal devoted principally to matters of domestic public policy. Kass was not suggesting new federal guidelines on dating, but was describing a social condition which laws and policies addressing marriage and divorce had failed to reckon with. The article made the argument that, growing up in contemporary society, young people are by and large not given any guidance about how to prepare for married life. As Kass wrote, "Courtship provided rituals of growing up, for making clear the meaning of one's own human sexual nature, and for entering into the ceremonial and customary world of ritual and sanctification. Courtship disciplined sexual desire and romantic attraction, provided opportunities for mutual learning about one another's character, fostered salutary illusions that inspired admiration and devotion, and, by locating wooer and wooed in their familial settings, taught the inter-generational meaning of erotic activity. It pointed the way to the answers to life's biggest questions: Where are you going? Who is going with you? How--in what manner--are you both going to go?"

By contrast, Kass noted, "The practices of today's men and women do not accomplish these purposes, and they and their marriages, when they get around to them, are weaker as a result. There may be no going back to the earlier forms of courtship, but no one should be rejoicing over this fact. Anyone serious about "designing" new cultural forms to replace those now defunct must bear the burden of finding some alternative means of serving all these necessary goals."

A few years after this article was published, MARS HILL AUDIO produced a four-and-one-half hour documentary on the social and personal costs of the absence of expectations about marriage called "Wandering toward the Altar: The Decline of American Courtship." Featuring interviews with Leon Kass and his wife Amy (who has written on this subject with him; see "Proposing Courtship," First Things, October 1999), "Wandering toward the Altar" also includes conversations with a variety of social and cultural historians, theologians, and pastors, including Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, Wendy Shalit, Allan Carlson, Beth Bailey, Steven Nock, Kay Hymowitz, and Douglas Wilson.

This extensive Report is now being offered in an MP3 download format, which is burnable to 4 conventional CDs. The price is $11.

A future issue of Audition will feature excerpts from this Report.




Category:MHA MP3 -- posted at: 4:40pm EDT

Louise Cowan on the Classics (Audio Reprint) "Poetry appeals to the imagination, that faculty of the mind which enables the intellect to know the things of the senses from the inside--in other words, to experience by empathy things other than ourselves and to make of that experience a new form."

So writes Dr. Louise Cowan in her 1998 essay, "The Necessity of the Classics." Cowan goes on to note that this capacity of the imagination is central to the rationale of liberal education: "[I]t is not so much to further individual success or to produce 'new knowledge' or even to preserve the monuments of the past. Rather, it is to give form to this creative impulse in human culture." It is in the context of such a view of poetry, the imagination, and education that the idea of the classics has been sustained for centuries.

The same year that essay was published in The Intercollegiate Review. Louise Cowan, a professor of English at the University of Dallas (then and now), was a guest on the MARS HILL AUDIO Journal, discussing her book Invitation to the Classics. Now MARS HILL AUDIO is pleased to announce the availability of an MP3 download of Cowan's wise essay as part of our Audio Reprints series.

This Reprint sells for $3.


Category:MHA MP3 -- posted at: 9:16pm EDT

We continue to convert our archives to a dowloadable digital format, and the latest products (heretofore available only on audiocassette) are two readings from booklets published by The Trinity Forum. The first is by biographer John Pollock, called "William Wilberforce: A Man Who Changed His Times," which details Wilberforce's efforts to eliminate the slave trade in England.

The second is by veteran journalist David Aikman, called "One Word of Truth: A Portrait of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn." This essay is prefaced by introductory remarks read by Os Guinness; Aikman is the reader of his essay.

Each of these Reprints sells for $4.


Category:MHA MP3 -- posted at: 8:13pm EDT


Since MARS HILL AUDIO was launched 14 years ago, we have been committed (in the words of our mission statement) "to produce creative audio resources that encourage Christians to grow in obedient wisdom concerning the cultural consequences of our duty to love God and neighbor." Obedient wisdom is the goal, and audio is our chosen means. In between the starting point and the finish line are lots of things to read. Since our products have a limited amount of time in people's lives, and since audio is not always the best medium to explain complicated matters, we are very eager to get our listeners to read things that they might not have known about. We are bibliographic scouts, reporting back on some beneficial routes between where you are and where you hope to be.

Almost all of the guests on the MARS HILL AUDIO Journal are authors of recent books, and our interviews are intended as introductions to those books. These authors may or may not share our Christian convictions, but all of them have displayed in their writing a perceptive understanding of how contemporary cultural life has been (and is being) shaped by various ideas and institutions.

We occasionally feature writers who have written especially insightful articles in magazines or journals. Now, we are introducing a new series of audio products intended to offer a more direct access to some of the articles we think are helpful in achieving our mission. MARS HILL AUDIO Reprints are readings of entire texts of articles taken from some of the best journals and magazines in print, and we hope to start making a lot of these available. They will range in length from 30 to 60 minutes, and will be available as MP3 downloads (which may then, if you prefer, be burned to a CD for ann alternate form of portability).

The first three Reprints are now available for order. Roger Kimball's "Leszek Kolakowski and the Anatomy of Totalitarianism" is an appreciative introduction to the writing of one of the 20th century's most penetrating thinkers about politics, culture, and religion. This article (taken from The New Criterion, the journal Kimball serves as editor) focuses on Kolakowski's critique of Marxism and Communism. Kimball makes the point that such a critique is not just of interest to diehard cold warriors. As Kolakowski himself has written recently, "Communism was not the crazy fantasy of a few fanatics, nor the result of human stupidity and baseness; it was a real, very real part of the history of the twentieth century, and we cannot understand this history of ours without understanding communism. We cannot get rid of this specter by saying it was just 'human stupidity,' or 'human corruptibility.' The specter is stronger than the spells we cast on it. It might come back to life."

The second of our Reprints (and yes, we realize that they are only metaphorically re-prints, but the spirit of wisdom is not afraid of metaphors) is by Matthew B. Crawford, called "Shop Class as Soulcraft." Dr. Crawford's article (which comes to the aid of our long-suffering project of fighting the Gnostic denial of the importance of the body) celebrates manual work and craftsmanship. As Crawford beautifully notes: "The satisfactions of manifesting oneself concretely in the world through manual competence have been known to make a man quiet and easy. They seem to relieve him of the felt need to offer chattering interpretations of himself to vindicate his worth. He can simply point: the building stands, the car now runs, the lights are on. Boasting is what a boy does, who has no real effect in the world. But craftsmanship must reckon with the infallible judgment of reality, where one's failures or shortcomings cannot be interpreted away." Three cheers for reality! Crawford's article, by the way, was in The New Atlantis, one of our favorite journals, and a periodical from which you will see/hear more Reprints from us in the future.

Finally, we have an article written by Joshua P. Hochschild called "Globalization: Ancient and Modern," taken from a recent issue of The Intercollegiate Review. This article touches on a number of themes that show up regularly in our Journal, especially place, memory, and the importance of local community. Hochschild alerts us to the fact that, for a word that is tossed around so insistently, "globalization" is a remarkably badly defined concept. This essay uses the fuzziness of globalization and its attendant enthusiasms to introduce some important categories in thinking about politics and the order of Creation. If you enjoyed our recent Conversation with Russell Hittinger on "Church, State, and Society in Catholic Social Teaching," or if you'e interested in the Reformed ideas about "sphere sovereignty," you'll be interested in Hochschild's article.

One last note: like most of our work, these Reprints get better with repeated hearings, so for only $3.00 each, you're getting a lot of listening time, not to mention resources toward obedient wisdom.

Read more about MARS HILL AUDIO Reprints here.

Category:MHA MP3 -- posted at: 4:36pm EDT

Russell Hittinger on Church, State, and Society
In 1987, prime minister Margaret Thatcher famously denied the existence of society. "I think we've been through a period where too many people have been given to understand that if they have a problem, it's the government's job to cope with it. . . . They're casting their problem on society. And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. . . ."

When these comments were published, there was a huge outcry from liberals at Mrs. Thatcher's attack on social solidarity. Conservatives meanwhile defended her rejection of the assumption of the nanny state. But both liberals and conservatives seemed to have missed the opportunity to question one key assumption in Mrs. Thatcher's formulation of this problem. Why presuppose that "society" must be understood as something coordinated and given authority by the state?

Margaret Thatcher's rejection of the existence of society is ironic in light of the fact that in the 19th century, the idea of society was used to confront the growing claims of the power and authority of the state. It was precisely because something called society did exist that the state could not be regarded as omnicompetent.

The history of the development in 19th century Catholic social thought of the idea of society as a spiritual and cultural reality is one of the themes in a new MARS HILL AUDIO Conversation with Dr. Russell Hittinger. Hittinger is Research Professor of Law and Warren Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Tulsa, and the author of The First Grace: Rediscovering the Natural Law in a Post-Christian World. In this wide-ranging Conversation of interest to Christians from every tradition, Hittinger also discusses (with host Ken Myers) the contributions of Popes Leo XIII and John Paul II to Catholic social thought, the limits of the notion of social contract, the effect of an increasing proportion of Muslims on European social thought, and why modern democracies have abandoned the project of understanding public life in moral terms.

A preview of this Conversation was featured in the 30 August 2006 issue of Audition. The entire Conversation is available from MARS HILL AUDIO.


Category:MHA MP3 -- posted at: 11:07pm EDT

Sir John Polkinghorne on science and theology In his first book, The Way the World Is; The Christian Perspective of a Scientist, physicist John Polkinghorne makes the following observation: "If it is true, as I think it is, that intelligibility is the ground on which fundamental science ultimately makes its claim to be dealing with the way the world is, then it gives science a strong comradeship with theology, which is engaged in the similar, if more difficult, search for an understanding of God's ways with men." The Way the World Is was published in 1983, not long after John Polkinghorne was ordained as an Anglican priest.

Polkinghorne's first career was in science; he completed doctoral studies in theoretical physics at Cambridge in 1955. He went on to become a professor of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge and was involved in research that led to the discovery of subatomic particles, most notably the quark. He was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1974, resigned from his position at Cambridge in 1979 to pursue theological study and eventually ordination. He served as a curate in a working-class parish at Bristol in Kent for several years, during which time he also wrote the first of many books that bring together his twin engagements with theology and with science.

In his 2004 Science and the Trinity: The Christian Encounter with Reality (Yale University Press), Polkinghorne was still reflecting on the significance of the intelligibility of the Universe. In a chapter that sketches an outline for a theology of nature, Polkinghorne writes: "Our scientific ability to explore the rational beauty of the universe is seen to be part of the Fathers gift of the imago Dei to humankind, and the beautiful rational order of the universe is the imprint of the divine Logos, 'without whom was not anything made that was made.' Whether acknowledged or not, it is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth, who is at work in the truth-seeking community of scientists. That community's repeated experiences of wonder at the disclosed order of the universe are, in fact, tacit acts of the worship of its Creator."

I had the great good pleasure of talking with Sir John Polkinghorne about this book's principal arguments, a conversation which has just been released by MARS HILL AUDIO in a downloadable MP3 edition. "Science and Faith from the Bottom Up" is one of twenty or so MARS HILL AUDIO Conversations that will appear in download form in the next few months, along with our other series of Anthologies, Reports, and Audiobooks. Listeners to Audition will be informed as these are made available, or you may browse our online catalog for materials in a variety of audio formats.

Ken Myers

Category:MHA MP3 -- posted at: 10:36pm EDT

The Ultimate Victory Garden On a bright morning in the summer of 1999, I drove to Reistertown, Maryland, near Baltimore, to spend some time in Vigen Guroian's garden. I had read about this well-tended piece of ground in Guroian's book, Inheriting Paradise: Meditations on Gardening. The book is a delightful series of reflections which find in the disciplines of tending a garden rich analogies with the experience of grace. I received an intimate, personal tour of this place from Guroian, who, when he's not gardening, teaches theology and ethics at Loyola College in Baltimore. I took a digital tape recorder with me, and shared Guroian's comments with subscribers to the MARS HILL AUDIO Journal.

Here's an excerpt from the beginning of the book:

"We ought not to draw a line that neatly marks off nature from humankind. This is a modern heresy that we have inherited from the Enlightenment. Contrary to environmentalists' accusations of anthropocentrism, Christians believe that human beings are especially responsible for tending the creation. This is because God has endowed human beings alone among God's creatures with the rational and imaginative capacities to envision the good of everything and to see that that good is respected. This is no less a responsibility than the duty for care for our own bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. God has given human beings this responsibility as an emblem of his own great love for creation."

After my visit to Guroian's prolepsis of Paradise, I thought that Inheriting Paradise would work well as an audiobook. So I persuaded Vigen to go into a studio and record it. Until this week, that recording was available only on cassette tapes. But it's one of the first items we've made available for sale in downloadable MP3 format. It's a timely transition, since Vigen is a guest on Volume 80 of the Journal, talking about his second book on gardening, The Fragrance of God. (An extract from that interview will appear on next week's issue of Audition.)

If you'd like information about purchasing the MP3 edition of Vigen Guroian reading Inheriting Paradise ($8.00), look here. If you would rather order by phone, give us a call at 1.800.31.6407 during buinsess hours (M-F, 9-5 DST) to order this wonderful and thoughtful audiobook.

Ken Myers

Category:MHA MP3 -- posted at: 9:35pm EDT

Michael Polanyi on MP3 Twenty years ago, writing in The Wilson Quarterly, the literary critic Cleanth Brooks noted that: "A world reduced to hard facts would thereby become a dehumanized world, a world in which few of us would want to live. We are intensely interested in how our fellow human beings behave -- in their actions, to be sure, but also in the feelings, motives, purposes that lead them into these actions." Most of us don't believe in a world reduced to hard facts, but for some time, Western societies have found it virtually impossible to order public life around anything other than hard facts.

The Canadian philosopher George Parkin Grant, in an essay written in the 1960s, commented on the widely held assumption in modern societies that the only knowledge that is properly considered objective and public is scientific knowledge, that is, knowledge of hard facts. Grant posed three questions that flowed from this assumption: "(a) whether there is any knowledge other than that reached by quantifying and experimental methods, (b) whether, as such methods cannot provide knowledge of the proper purposes of human life, the very idea of there being better and worse purposes has any sense to it, (c) whether, indeed, purpose is not merely what we will in power from the midst of chaos. The effect of these questionings on the humanities could not but be enormous." The work of Michael Polanyi is a valuable resource in combatting the assumptions about the unique worth of scientific knowledge. Polanyi, who lived from 1891 to 1976, was first a scientist (an accomplished physical chemist) who turned to philosophy later in his life in order to address some of the social crises prompted by the misleading ideals of objectivity derived from science.

In 1999, MARS HILL AUDIO produced a two-and-one-half-hour long audio documentary about Polanyi's life and work, called Tacit Knowing, Truthful Knowing: The Life and Thought of Michael Polanyi. For years, it was available only on audiocassette, and more recently, on MP3 CD. This MARS HILL AUDIO Report is one of a number of products which have just been released for distribution as downloadable audio (information about that Report is on this page). The download (which costs $9.00) is formatted to facilitate easy transfer to conventional audio CDs.

We'll feature an excerpt from that Report on our August Audition, which will be posted next week.

Category:MHA MP3 -- posted at: 5:48pm EDT