By Austin Hoffman
"A classic is something everybody wants to have read, but no one wants to read." Good things are not hard to find, but they are hard to like. In a world in which almost everything else fades, some good things last, but they are an acquired taste. The Handmade Humanity podcast helps develop your appetite for good things that have stood the test of time. Join Austin and Max as they explore the riches of the classical tradition and bring ancient ideas to the modern era. It can be difficult to begin, but no one regrets learning to love what lasts.
Ep 15: Law and Order
What does Moses have to do with America? While many are concerned about theocracy or theonomy, our culture is rejecting many of the judicial principles inherited from the Christian tradition. While we need not rigidly apply the Mosaic law to our contemporary society, it expresses many principles of justice which we lose to our peril. We have to thank Moses for many of the freedoms and benefits of our legal tradition, and ought to recover the sound application of justice in our country today.
May 10, 2021
Ep 14: Education vs. Training
In this episode, Austin Hoffman explains the difference between education and training. Too often our modern educational establishment mistakes training for education depriving students of essential life knowledge and skills. Have you been educated or have you been trained?
May 3, 2021
Ep 13: It Killed the Ancient Romans
"Latin is a language, As dead as dead can be. It killed the ancient Romans, and now it's killing me." Why study Latin? Why study a dead language? When we study Latin, we study the nature of language itself. Are words just names and labels that are slapped arbitrarily onto objects although their is no real connection? Rather, language and signs are woven into the fabric of reality and understanding language helps us to understand the nature of the world. Latin, as a dead language, helps us to think about the world in a different way. Latin orders the mind; it is the linguistic counterpart to math. There are a number of practical benefits to learning Latin. And Latin is a beautiful language. Join Austin and Max as they discuss different reasons why one should study Latin in the 21st century. You can find the episode on Apple Podcasts here. Resources: The Unique Advantages of Latin and Greek Why Classical Schools must have a Latin Reading Program First Things First: Classical Languages and the Soul, Part 1 First Things First: Classical Languages and the Soul, Part 2 Are Classical Languages Necessary to the Classical School?
April 26, 2021
Ep. 12: The Fault is in our Stars
Why do bad things happen to good people? This is a perennial question that numerous authors of antiquity have sought to answer. We all experience pain and suffering in our life. Is there a point? The Stoics thought that disaster is merely an opportunity to exercise virtue. What we see as evil are actually goods for they train us in discipline and excellence. Nothing evil can actually befall a good man. God does not give trials to those he hates, but to his favorite soldiers. In this episode, Austin Hoffman explores the Stoic philosophy of Seneca in his De Providentia. What can we learn about how to bear under trials from this Stoic author. Sources: Seneca, Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters
April 19, 2021
Ep 11: Rhetoric for Dummies
In this episode, Austin and Max discuss The Art of Rhetoric, Aristotle's handbook on speaking. Rhetoric is something that everyone uses whether they know it or not. Some use it well and some use it poorly, but everybody uses rhetoric. Allow Aristotle's teaching to help you use rhetoric both offensively and defensively as you deliberate about what is expedient, judge what is just, and praise what is good. Resources: Raphael, The School of Athens Aristotle, The Art of Rhetoric
April 12, 2021
Ep. 10: Boy of Tears
The hero turned traitor. The unflinching warrior broken by a mother's tears. The lion turned lamb and sacrificed for the people. Although often overlooked, Coriolanus ought to be regarded as one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies. T.S. Eliot thought so. Listen to the story of a noble man who refuses to compromise his integrity or play a part. He will not flatter the people or act in any way according to his nature. For this, he is scapegoated and exiled from Rome, only to die and become its savior once more. Shakespeare causes us to reflect on the nature of the state and the destruction of a republic. Join Austin Hoffman as he discusses this great work of the Bard. Sources: Coriolanus, Pelican Shakespeare Coriolanus, Oxford School Shakespeare Coriolanus (2011) - Ralph Fiennes -- Amazon, YouTube Coriolanus (2013) - Donmar Warhouse, Tom Hiddleston Coriolanus (1984) - Alan Howard
April 5, 2021
Ep. 09: The Soul of Prayer
In this episode, Austin and Max discuss Simone Weil's essay, "Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God." Weil contends that the most valuable lesson school teaches is attention, the soul of prayer. "The quality of the attention counts for much in the quality of the prayer." Update: I made a mistake in editing the audio for this episode causing our voices to be mistimed. The issue should be fixed now if you re-download. Sorry! March 31, 2021 Resources: Simone Weil's "Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God."
March 31, 2021
Ep. 08 - Anacyclosis and the Decline of a Regime
“The particular aspect of history which both attracts and benefits its readers is the examination of causes and the capacity, which is the reward of this study, to decide in each case the best policy to follow. Now in all political situations we must understand that the principle factor which makes for success or failure is the form of a state’s constitution: it is form this source, as if from a fountainhead, that all designs and plans of action ot only originate but reach their fulfillment.” Roman historian Polybius contended that Rome survived her battles with the Carthaginian empire because Rome possessed a form of government that encouraged public and private virtue. Rome's constitution was mixed, combining the best elements of each regime--monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy. This creates stability and allows a nation to escape anacyclosis or the cycle of regimes. Without a mixed constitution, the government will endlessly revolve to the different forms of regime and cannot survive. In this episode of Handmade Humanity, Austin Hoffman takes Polybius's teaching on the Punic Wars and the Roman constitution and applies it to the current political climate in America. We should all heed this insight of the political philosophers because every human society has a form of government. By recognizing the seeds of destruction inherent in each form of governance, we can best prepare for the future and avoid evils. Sources: Polybius, The Rise of the Roman Empire Penguin Edition
March 22, 2021
Ep. 07 -- What is Justice?
In this episode, Austin Hoffman considers the question of justice in Plato's Republic. There is nothing more necessary in life than having a good soul, but our modern world is confused both about the value of virtue and what virtue is. Plato's Republic is one of the greatest works of philosophy ever written and, when properly understood, will help you live well. Sources: Plato's Republic (Bloom translation)
March 15, 2021
Ep. 6 -- Outboard Brain: The Commonplace Book
In this episode of Handmade Humanity, Austin Hoffman and Max Pointner discuss the commonplace book. The commonplace book is a longstanding tradition stretching to Greco-Roman times. The commonplace book is a repository of wisdom and a collection of beautiful quotations. It is a repository of the sweet nectar of flowers to be mixed into a sweet substance. Join Austin and Max as they discuss their own methods for commonplacing, the reasons behind commonplacing, and some suggestions for keeping your own commonplace book. Resources: Harvard collection of commonplace books Jenny Rollins method of commonplacing Ryan Holiday on the commonplace book John Locke's Method for Common-place A description of Locke's method
March 8, 2021
Ep. 5 -- The Medieval Cosmos and The Chronicles of Narnia
What does the medieval cosmos have to do with The Chronicles of Narnia? Why should we care about the medieval conception of the heavens when modern science has debunked their theory? Join Austin Hoffman for another episode of Handmade Humanity as he explains Lewis's view of the medieval world and why its moral and imaginative influence is important today. Discover the connection between the seven heavens and the Narnia series. Recommended resources: The Discarded Image Planet Narnia The Planet's Poem
March 1, 2021
Ep. 4 -- The Liberal Arts in the Classroom
In this episode of Handmade Humanity, Austin Hoffman and Max Pointner discuss different ways that they apply the liberal arts in their classroom. As humanities teachers, they focus on the three language arts of the trivium, but attempt to reach out to the mathematical arts of the quadrivium as well. Hear how they apply the liberal arts in teaching their students, as well as how the arts manifest themselves in everyday life. Additional resources on the trivium and quadrivium: The Liberal Arts Tradition, Ravi Jain and Kevin Clark Quadrivium Trivium Beauty in the Word Beauty for Truth's Sake
February 22, 2021
Ep. 3 -- The Consolation of Philosophy
In this episode of Handmade Humanity, Austin Hoffman walks through Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy giving its historical background, structure and organization, and highlights and main points from the book. References: The Consolation of Philosophy Meditations in a Tool Shed The Discarded Image
February 15, 2021
Ep. 2 -- What is Classical Education?
In this episode of Handmade Humanity, join Austin Hoffman as they discuss the seven liberal arts and their central role in classical education. Austin and Max share their experiences and introduction to classical education, explain the seven liberal arts and their modern applications, and ponder the implications of astronomy and music in a scientific education. References: - T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets, East Coker III and V - C.S. Lewis's, Pilgrim's Regress, Abolition of Man, and Voyage of the Dawn Treader. - J.M.W. Turner paintings: Rain, Steam, and Speed, The Fighting Temeraire
February 10, 2021
Ep. 1 - Henry V
A brief overview of Shakespeare's Henry V with emphasis on questions and lines of discussion to pursue with students.
February 2, 2021
Ep. 0.5 -- Handmade Humanity
The introductory episode to the show. Why is education inherently risky, requiring the skill, dexterity, and care of the teacher? Who is this show for? What is its purpose?
January 26, 2021