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October 29, 2008

To Justify the Ways of Milton to Us

To Justify the Ways of Milton to Us

Halfway through the last week of October, the aspen leaves are all gone, leaving brilliant views of the mountains beyond Snow Wolf Lodge. Inside the classroom all has returned to normal with Dr. Bauman in front leading us along the confusing paths of politics, church history, and literature. In church history we have reached the Middle Ages, and after having studied the Scholastic theologians like Thomas Aquinas, we have moved on to the Mystics. The debate of the day in that class centered around questions like, "Should religion be primarily based on the intellect or the heart?" and "What do those distinctions mean anyway?"

To go along with the Medieval theme, we studied the political philosophy of the Middle Ages, which is inevitably connected with the theology of that time. However, the highlight of the week of classes so far, at least in my opinion, has been our study of John Milton. Today we began reading Paradise Lost in class. Impressively, Milton wrote around 11,000 lines in all to expound on only three chapters of Genesis. Dr. Bauman also informed us that Milton wrote at as high a level as possible without caring whether more than a few people in a century would understand it. As intimidating as Dr. Bauman made this sound, we were met in class with amusing paraphrases and explanations of various stanzas which got us to see exactly how contradictory and "buffoon-ish" Milton made his characterization of Satan.

At noon today we left Milton and the Mystics behind to turn our attention to greater things. That is, after lunch the volleyball tournament resumed. When the last of the preliminary games were over, four of the eight teams moved on to the semifinals. The intensity grew as the top two teams from each division played each other. Several games (and hours), later, two teams emerged the victors of their respective divisions. All of Summit Semester eagerly anticipates the final match between the Hot Llamas and Chupacabra's Revenge tomorrow.

In the meantime, the study continues. We're wrapping up our various readings of Romeo and Juliet and preparing for the next thing. At the same time we're apparently supposed to figure out exactly how unserious "human affairs" are. With only a month left to soak it all in, life goes on here in the mountains of Southwest Colorado.

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