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MARS HILL AUDIO Reprint 15

Roger Kimball, "Josef Pieper: Leisure and Its Discontents"

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(from The New Criterion, January 1999)

Long before Alasdair MacIntyre or Stanley Hauerwas were reminding us of the significance of historic teaching about virtue, Josef Pieper (1904-1997) was writing confidently about virtue and the virtues. Pieper is best known today for his 1952 book, Leisure, the Basis of Culture. When the book was published, The New York Times enthused "Pieper's message for us is plain. . . . The idolatry of the machine, the worship of mindless know-how, the infantile cult of youth and the common mind — all this points to our peculiar leadership in the drift toward the slave society. . . . Pieper's profound insights are impressive and even formidable." While the Times may not be quite as excited about Pieper today, we're pleased to present a primer on Pieper's ideas in this Audio Reprint: "Josef Pieper: Leisure and Its Discontents." This 1999 essay by Roger Kimball introduces listeners to Pieper's arguments about the nature of leisure, which are claims about the nature of philosophy and of human well-being. The article was originally published in The New Criterion, where Roger Kimball is editor and publisher. Read by Ken Myers. 34 minutes. $2.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 113

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Guests on Volume 113: Steven Shapin, on whether or not there is a single thing called "science," and whether scientists are united by a single "scientific method"; Arthur Boers, on why the ways in which technologies shape our lives should be recognized as spiritual and pastoral challenges; Christine Pohl, on why a deliberate commitment to certain shared practices is necessary for the sustaining of community; Norman Wirzba, on how attentiveness to our eating and our care of the land are central aspects of culture and of godly faith; Craig Bartholomew, on carelessness concerning embodied experience and our "crisis of place"; and David I. Smith, on how the forms of pedagogical practices ought to be crafted to correspond to the content of teaching.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 110

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Guests on Volume 110: Kevin Belmonte, on how G. K. Chesterton embraced a "defiant joy" in spite of the cynical pessimism of many of his contemporaries; David Lyle Jeffrey and Gregory Maillet, on why Christians cannot afford to regard literature as a mere entertaining diversion; Mark Noll, on what motivates anti-intellectualism among Christians and why it is a theologically indefensible prejudice; Alan Jacobs, on W. H. Auden's understanding of the vocation of "poet" and on the spiritual and historical background to Auden's 1947 book-length poem, The Age of Anxiety; and Jonathan Chaplin, on the outlines and sources of the social and political thought of Herman Dooyeweerd and on his understanding of the relationship between theology and Christian philosophy.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 108

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Guests on Volume 108: Thomas Albert Howard, on why many nineteenth-century Europeans were nervous about the shape of American religious life; Jean Porter, on how natural law provides a rationale for the rule of law and for legislative and judicial authority; Peter Augustine Lawler, on how neither ancient philosophy nor modern science explains human nature (but the Logos does); Hans Boersma, on why Christians should reject the modern separation of Heaven and Earth and recover a "sacramental ontology"; Felicia Wu Song, on how online communication systems shape relationships and community; and Elias Aboujaoude, on how life online makes us think we’re bigger, badder, and smarter than we really are.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 107

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Guests on Volume 107: Victor Lee Austin, on why authority is not a barrier to true freedom and is necessary for human flourishing (and will be forever); Ellen T. Charry, on why happiness has been underplayed in Christian theology (and why it shouldn't be); Anthony Esolen, on the explicit and implicit teaching that has caused many young people to be cynical and unhappy; Ferdinand Schlingensiepen, on the ambivalence of postwar Germans to the anti-Nazi resistance movement (and to Dietrich Bonhoeffer); Allen Verhey, on why it's dangerous to draw too stark a line between nature and supernature; and Calvin Stapert, on the historical, theological, and musical elements that combined to produce Handel's Messiah.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 105

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Guests on Volume 105: Julian Young, on the historical context of Friedrich Nietzsche's ideas and on why he still believed in the necessity of religion; Perry L. Glanzer, on the failure of American universities to adequately address the challenge of moral formation; Kenda Creasy Dean, on why churches are to blame for the "moralistic therapeutic Deism" so common among teens; Brian Brock, on how the centrality of technology in Western culture encourages us to see the gift of Creation as merely "nature" awaiting our manipulation; Nicholas Carr, on how the distracted character of multi-tasking ruins reading and how social networking systems sustain a "transactional" view of relationships; and Alan Jacobs, on how the literary form of the essay reproduces the unpredictable way that our thoughts develop.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 103

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Guests on Volume 103: Steven D. Smith, on how the law only makes sense in the context of certain metaphysical beliefs, and on why we aren't allowed to talk about such things in public; David Thomson, on the American Dream, acting, loneliness, the moral complicity of movie audiences, and the genius of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho; Adam McHugh, on how American culture distrusts introverts and on why their place in the Church needs to be valued; Glenn C. Arbery, on the Vanderbilt Agrarians, poetry, and the moral imagination and the shaping of virtue; Eric Miller, on Christopher Lasch's intense commitment to understand the logic of American cultural confusion; and Eric Metaxas, on how Dietrich Bonhoeffer's early experiences prepared him for his heroic defiance of the Third Reich.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 101

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Guests on Volume 101: James Davison Hunter, on how the most prominent strategies of Christian cultural engagement are based on a misunderstanding about how cultures work; Paul Spears, on why Christian scholars need to understand their disciplines in ways that depart from conventional understanding; Steven Loomis, on why education needs to attend more carefully to nonquantifiable aspects of human experience; James K. A. Smith, on how education always involves the formation of affections and how the form of Christian education should imitate patterns of formation evident in historic Christian liturgy; Thomas Long, on how funeral practices have the capacity to convey an understanding of the meaning of discipleship and death; and William T. Cavanaugh, on the distinctly modern definition of "religion" and how the conventional account of the "Wars of Religion" misrepresents the facts in the interest of consolidating state power.

MARS HILL AUDIO Anthology 8

The Vocation of Knowledge: Higher Education and the Difference Christ Makes

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In this Anthology, Mark Noll (The Future of Christian Learning) describes why serious Christian learning requires a confidence that the Gospel has broad social and intellectual consequences. Norman Klassen and Jens Zimmermann (The Passionate Intellect: Incarnational Humanism and the Future of University Education) explain why the term "Christian humanism" is especially apt in describing the aims of Christian higher education. James K. A. Smith (Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation) develops the idea that education is more about formation than information, and that we are formed by our participation in liturgies, whether at church or at the mall. 78 minutes. $6.

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 97

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Guests on Volume 97: Mark Noll, on how Christian higher education is aided by a commitment to something like "Christendom," a commitment to the assumption that the Gospel has consequences for all of life and all of social experience; Stanley Fish, on how university professors should refrain from bringing their own political, philosophical, and religious commitments into the classroom; James Peters, on how Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Pascal, and many others had an understanding of the nature and purpose of reason quite different from the common modern understanding; Scott Moore, on cultivating an understanding of politics that goes beyond mere statecraft, and on the limits of the notion of "rights"; and Makoto Fujimura, on how his work as a painter is enriched by writing, why artists need to cultivate an attentiveness to many things, and how visual language expresses experience.

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