NWC religion professor to participate in seminar on ancient Greece

Dr. John Vonder Bruegge, associate professor of religion and co-director of the Honors Program at Northwestern College, is one of 21 faculty members nationwide who have been invited to participate in a seminar on ancient Greece July 24–30 at Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies campus in Washington, D.C.

The seminar, titled “The Verbal Art of Plato,” is sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and the Center for Hellenic Studies. Gregory Nagy, professor of classical Greek literature and comparative literature at Harvard University, and Kenneth Scott Morrell, associate professor of Greek and Roman studies at Rhodes College, will lead the seminar. The program is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

“Strengthening the teaching of the classics at colleges and universities is of critical importance,” says CIC President Richard Ekman. “This seminar series addresses the challenge of keeping alive in undergraduate education classical texts that a generation ago were read and understood by every college graduate. We believe Dr. Vonder Bruegge will contribute to the seminar in meaningful ways and learn much that will energize his teaching when he returns home.”

Dr. Mark Husbands, Northwestern’s vice president for academic affairs, says, “Dr. Vonder Bruegge’s honors course, The Greek Legacy, is a critical feature of the college’s Honors Program. Given his focus upon the archaeology and culture of ancient Greece, students under John’s supervision acquire strong intellectual, textual, aesthetic, historical and contextual skills. This seminar will provide John with an opportunity to enrich his already excellent honors course in ways that will provide our students with an astounding academic experience.”

Designed primarily for non-specialists, the seminar will explore Plato’s dialogues in which he “stages” encounters between Socrates, his mentor, and some of the most celebrated intellectuals in the second half of the fifth century B.C. The language of these conversations reflects Plato’s keen ear for the complex traditions of verbal art.

For more than 10 years, CIC has collaborated with the Center for Hellenic Studies to provide seminars on teaching the classics for small and mid-sized independent colleges that have a limited number of faculty members or courses in the classics. The seminar is ideal for faculty members who have been trained in other disciplines and who seek opportunities to explore major classical texts and learn new ways to teach these texts to undergraduates.

For more information, visit the CIC website at www.cic.edu/AncientGreece.