The ILI Core Course: Great Books
Key to the experience of an ILI fellow is the opportunity to engage in Notre Dame's vibrant academic community. The fellows have enjoyed a wide range of courses this year, in disciplines ranging from Anthropology, Design, and Fiction Writing to Jazz, Philosophy, Venture Management, and World Politics. This semester, studio classes in drawing, watercolor, photography, and piano have added special personal enrichment for many of the fellows.
At the heart of their experience, is the program's core course, "Great Books and the Human Journey," team taught by two of Notre Dame's distinguished and popular professors, Rev. Daniel Groody, C.S.C. and Thomas Stapleford. The weekly seminar-style discussion has led the fellows since last August to study of some of the great texts associated with the intellectual traditions of ancient Athens, Rome and Jerusalem. The exploration of the themes and questions of these works served as catalysts for each to consider how the past can inform the journey of their own lives.
"The 'great books' are texts that transcend their time and place, that raise questions that continue to resonate with us today. To read a classic text -- whether from antiquity, the Renaissance, or the twentieth century -- is to step into another world. It stretches our minds and challenges us, but it also allows us to see ourselves and contemporary culture in a new light," shares Prof. Stapleford. "It has been exciting to watch the Fellows move through this process, learning from what they read and from one another."
Great Books and the Human Journey: The Heart's Desire and Discerning the Path of Authenticity, Meaning, Mission
In the second semester, the theme of this course has deepened to include more personal reflection and communal connection to guide the fellows to consider their talents, values and vocation and to dream about how each of them can make a difference in the world. As Fr. Groody puts it, “This course is not only a chance to read some of the great books of civilization but to see how they read us. That is, how they put us in touch with questions at the heart of our humanity as we navigate our journey through this world.”
The fellows have found the richness of both community and personal discernment in this course. As one fellow offers, "It is simply a luxury to re-discover old texts and to be exposed to new works through the lense of both a humanist and theologian. Beyond that, it is a pleasure to listen to the insights of the other fellows as they bring their own experiences to the conversation."