MARS HILL AUDIO Journal

Volume 23

Guests on Volume 23: John Steadman Rice, on how the idea of codependency is based on tenets of “liberation psychotherapy”; E. D. Hirsch, Jr., on The Schools We Need and Why We Don't Have Them; Ted McAllister, on Revolt Against Modernity: Leo Strauss, Eric Voeglin, and the Search for a Postliberal Order; Judith Skelton Grant, on Robertson Davies: Man of Myth; Terry Teachout, on why music should not be propagandistic; John Boyle, on his Requiem for the Unborn; Leland Ryken, on what makes a classic and how we should read one; and Daniel Ritchie, on a Biblical view of language and literature.

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Part 1

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    John Steadman Rice on how the idea of codependency is based on tenets of "liberation psychotherapy"

    A Disease of One's Own: Psychotherapy, Addiction, and the Emergence of Co-Dependency (Transaction, 1995)

    John Steadman Rice, author of A Disease of One's Own, discusses the emergence of the "codependent" subculture in America. The ideas of influential psychologists Karl Rogers and Abraham Maslow formed the backdrop for codependency, introducing the notion that all problems are the result of cultural and societal repression of the self. The result of Rogers and Maslow's ideas was the development of "liberation psychotherapy," a type of therapeutic discourse involving a way of understanding the self in relationship to the physical world. According to Rice, the idea of codependency is based on tenets of liberation psychotherapy, and this understanding of the self leads to the formation of new and different communities.

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    E. D. Hirsch, Jr. on The Schools We Need and Why We Don't Have Them

    The Schools We Need and Why We Don't Have Them (Doubleday, 1996)

    English professor E. D. Hirsch thinks American public education is ignoring the task of transferring cultural literacy to students. He is particularly concerned about children from less prosperous backgrounds, who are vulnerable to progressive ideas about education, because they are disadvantaged in learning opportunities and are exposed to less cultural information growing up. Hirsch believes America's public education has been heavily influenced by the Romantic idea of developmentalism and by the ideas of educational formalism and naturalism. In his book The Schools We Need and Why We Don't Have Them, Hirsch develops his ideas about how to get education in America back on the right track by building schools with a shared, core curriculum of content.

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    Ted McAllister on Revolt Against Modernity: Leo Strauss, Eric Voeglin, and the Search for a Postliberal Order

    Revolt against Modernity: Leo Strauss, Eric Voegelin, and the Search for a Postliberal Order (University Press of Kansas, 1996)

    Ted McAllister critiques Eric Voegelin’s understanding of modernity, addressing the subject of gnosticism as a basic element in both the modern project and in Christian heresy. McAllister gives a Voeglinian interpretation of different modern projects which have attempted to heal the alienation people have felt in the modern era.

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    Judith Skelton Grant on Robertson Davies: Man of Myth

    Robertson Davies: Man of Myth (Viking, 1994)

    Robertson Davies arrived in Oxford in the 1930's to prepare for a career in the theater, but was discouraged as a playwrite and discovered that as a novelist, he could direct, set the scene, light the action, and costume the cast. Judith Skelton Grant, Davies's biographer, considers his earliest novels as comedic in style, and his later novels to be underpinned by myth. Davies was, according to Grant, far less directed in his writing by his intellect and more directed by things within him that needed to be expressed. Davies wanted the reader to "sit down with one of his stories and open himself to the experience being laid out in front of him, and to feel it and essentially have an intensified experienced of life, and then go away from it and chew it over," according to Grant.

Part 2

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    Terry Teachout on why music should not be propagandistic

    Symphony No. 1 for Orchestra by John Corigliano

    Terry Teachout, a New York-based music critic for Commentary magazine, has serious reservations about attaching propagandistic intent to any compositional performance. In Teachout's view, music does have intrinsic meaning but he believes it is nonspecific, cosmic, and nonpolitical. For Teachout, when the message overwhelms the music something intrinsic about the nature of music is lost. He speaks about the importance of public context for a piece of music and then gives a personal reflection about John Boyle's Requiem for the Unborn. The interview also contains excerpts from Symphony 1, the AIDS Symphony composed by John Corigliano, which attempts to make a political statement about the need for more AIDS research.

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    John Boyle on his Requiem for the Unborn

    Requiem for the Unborn is featured on Sacred Music of the Twentieth Century (Life Art, Ltd., LAL 2001).

    Music critic Terry Teachout is sympathetic to the work of John Boyle, composer of the Requiem for the Unborn, but has reservations about the place of politics in music. Boyle, on the other hand, is unapologetic. He relates the events which inspired the composition, and his understanding of how music serves as a carrier of emotions and messages.

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    Leland Ryken on what makes a classic and how we should read one

    The Discerning Reader: Christian Perspectives on Literature and Theory (Baker Books, 1996)

    An anthology called The Discerning Reader: Christian Perspectives on Literature and Theory asks questions about what human beings, created in the image of God, do with words and stories. The essays address some of the raging debates and criticism as well as formulates some original, theologically inspired ideas. One of the anthology's editors, Leland Ryken, believes the debate about what constitutes a classic work of literature has theological as well as aesthetic significance. He says "a classic is excellent, a recognized standard of greatness both in terms of content and form; the work has to have endured, to have been a sort of cultural artifact; it has to affect us deeply, to do something in our lives."

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    Daniel Ritchie on a Biblical view of language and literature

    Reconstructing Literature in an Ideological Age: A Biblical Poetics and Literary Studies from Milton to Burke (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996)

    Daniel Ritchie is a Christian literary scholar concerned about the ideological captivity of literature and literary studies. He provides a constructive alternative in his book Reconstructing Literature in an Ideological Age: A Biblical Poetics and Literary Studies from Milton to Burke, combining readings of works from the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries with a Biblical theology of language and books. In Ritchie's view, literature is a way of obtaining wisdom, not a tool of propaganda.