The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #39: Town and Country

General Introduction
– New segment: Michial Farmer’s world of women’s fashion
– Thanks for not writing in
– Why Nathan is the left-leaner amongst us
– What’s on the blog?

Aesop Ipsa Loquitur
– Is the country mouse a rube?
– Other Greek notions about the polis
– Plato’s suburban pharmacy
– The importance of human contact

Contrasting the Hebrew Perspective
– Cities and corruption
– Solomon’s urban fervor
– That curséd wilderness
– Garden as Hebraic ideal
– Gilgamesh civilizes the wild man
– Moses goes out beyond the boundary of imagination

The New Testament and the Early Church
– Christ the vagrant
– Equal-opportunity parables
– Augustine and Rome
– The heretical countryside

The Middle Ages and The Renaissance
– Churches and urban centers
– The origins of pagan
– Snookering-slash-correcting the rubes
– Langland gets sympathetic
– A new kind of pastoral
– London as hell

The Romantics
– Hegel and the city
– The Romantics fight back
– The country laborer and the university Marxist
– The rise of industrialization

America!
– The errand to the wilderness
– Puritan commerce
– The early decay of Boston
– Continual westward expansion
Sister Carrie’s ambiguous ending
– The urban pushback and the abandonment of small towns
– Make the noise stop, please

The Cynical Midcentury
– The suburbs take over the shire
– The American dream gets transplanted
– American re-creation
– The stultifying suburbs
– Farmer on On the Road
– The vanishing rural
– All God’s children are terrible

The Takeaway
– Automobile culture
– But let’s not romanticize
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Aesop. Fables. Trans. Laura Gibbs. New York: Oxford UP, 2008.

Anderson, Sherwood. Winesburg, Ohio. Ed. Charles E. Modlin and Ray Lewis White. New York: Norton, 1995.

Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. Trans. W.D. Ross. The Complete Works of Aristotle. Ed. Jonathan Barnes. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 1984. 1729-1867.

Augustine. City of God. Trans. Henry Bettenson. New York: Penguin, 2003.

Blake, William. Poetry and Designs. Ed. John E. Grant and Mary Lynn Johnson. New York: Norton, 2007.

Bunker, Nick. Making Haste from Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World: A New History. New York: Knopf, 2010.

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. Ed. V.A. Kolve and Glending Olson. New York: Norton, 2005.

Dreiser, Theodore. Sister Carrie. New York: Oxford UP, 2009.

The Epic of Gilgamesh. Trans. Andrew George. New York: Penguin, 2003.

Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury. New York: Vintage, 1991.

Felix. Life of Saint Guthlac. Trans. Bertram Colgrave. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1985.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Scribner, 1999.

Kerouac, Jack. On the Road. New York: Penguin, 1999.

Langland, William. Piers Plowman. Ed. Elizabeth Ann Robertson and Stephen H.A. Shepherd. New York: Norton, 2006.

Milton, John. Paradise Lost. New York: Norton, 2004.

O’Connor, Flannery. The Complete Stories. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1971.

—. Wise Blood. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.

Plato. Phaedrus. Trans. Christopher Rowe. New York: Penguin, 2005.

Roth, Henry. Call It Sleep. New York: Picador, 2005.

Sidney, Philip. The Major Works. New York: Oxford UP, 2009.

Tolkien, J.R.R. The Lord of the Rings. New York: Mariner, 2005.

Twain, Mark. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Norton, 1998.

Updike, John. Rabbit, Run. New York: Knopf, 1996.

Wordsworth, William. Selected Poems. Ed. Stephen Gill. New York: Penguin, 2005.

3 thoughts on “The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #39: Town and Country

  1. Having recently moved from Hamilton, Ontario (population: half a million) to Caronport, Saskatchewan (population: about nine hundred), my experience is inclining me toward the rustic/romantic side of this one. I moved from a place that has frequent smog alert days to a place where the worst smell is the occasional odor wafting from the dairy across the highway; from a place where I took my morning jog on a treadmill to a place where I can take my morning jog with the endless Saskatchewan horizon stretching out in front of me; from a place where you don’t want to put your children on public transportation due to the dealers operating in the back to a place that only needs one police officer (who is also one of our Old Testament professors). I’m pretty sure I traded up.

    (But I will agree with you that my “country” experience would be a LOT different without my car and internet connection)

    I’ll just leave you with this relevant line from Star Wars, in which the wilderness-dwelling hermit and the farm boy approach the Big City:
    “Mos Eisley spaceport. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be cautious.”

  2. I have read that the ideal human habitation in the Hebrew Bible is the garden (hence the Garden of Eden) and in the New Testament it is the city (hence the New Jerusalem). The city represents human community, etc. etc.

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