Roman Roads Press Blog

Category: Blog

The Glories of the Resurrection

by Joe Carlson on Posted on

Dante’s pilgrim begins his journey through the bowels of Hell on Good Friday. He comes up on the other side of the globe, on the shores of Mount Purgatory, just before dawn on Easter Sunday. The timing is neither incidental nor a coincidence. It is necessary. For this is the story of Dante’s salvation; this is his personal testimony, if you will. Though he is not yet consciously aware of it, the pilgrim has died with Christ on Friday, and has been raised to newness of life on Sunday. That gift of regeneration is what fuels his growing consciousness of … Continue Reading “The Glories of the Resurrection”

The Mighty Power of Good Friday

by Joe Carlson on Posted on

According to Dante’s vibrant imagination, Hell is a ramshackle kingdom, broken and falling apart. As the pilgrim journeys through the terrible realm, he sees on every side ruin and decay, and not only in the faces of the damned. The very landscape is full of craggy landslides, crumbled towers, broken bridges, and wreckage. As the downward journey continues, it becomes more and more obvious that the city of Dis, named for the archfiend, was once a staggering achievement, something akin to Milton’s Pandemonium. But now it is a Pandemonium gone wrong. Everything is in shabby disrepair. As the travelers descend … Continue Reading “The Mighty Power of Good Friday”

The Education of the American Founders

by Daniel Foucachon on Posted on

“Dad had enough gall to be divided into three parts,” opens one of America’s beloved tales, Cheaper by the Dozen, published in 1948. To the audience of the day, this colorful description would evoke a commonplace pun from the ubiquitously read Julius Caesar’s Gallic Wars, which opens “All Gaul is divided into three parts” (or Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres as the Latin student would have had to translate). The chances are, neither you nor your children have read Julius Caesar and his famous Gallic Wars. However, your grandparents very likely did, and nearly every educated (certainly college … Continue Reading “The Education of the American Founders”

Just the Inferno?

by Joe Carlson on Posted on

Of the many, many people I have talked to over the years about Dante, the vast majority of those who have actually read something of the Comedy have only read the Inferno. Usually it’s because that’s all they read in high school. And when talking with teachers who only assign the Inferno, more often than not the reasoning is something like, we simply do not have time to get through the whole poem. And I get it. It’s a long poem, and the further you get the more obscure and difficult it becomes. What is more, unlike the other two … Continue Reading “Just the Inferno?”

Men, Carry Your Father

by Daniel Foucachon on Posted on

As a boy I lived for a period in Florida, the capital of retirement homes. As a result, for various reasons, we visited a few of these homes. They were nice. Like little vacation villages. Yet they were also tragic. This is where the most essential members of our society spent their most important years.  We were living in Florida because my grandfather was dying of cancer, and we lived with him during his last days. He never lived in a retirement home, and died Christmas morning in his own bed, surrounded by family. What a gift to him, but … Continue Reading “Men, Carry Your Father”

Three Reasons Every High School Student Should Study Dante 

by Joe Carlson on Posted on

Listen to the article. I want to make the case that every high school student should read and study Dante’s Comedy. More specifically, I want to argue that every protestant, reformed, and evangelical high school student should read and study Dante. Everyone should read Dante, so why do I get so specific? Because Dante was upstream of the Protestant Reformation. He was born before Luther and Calvin, and predates the Protestant Reformation. Because of this, he is often unjustly condemned to the wrinkled brows of skepticism and wariness. Dante published the Comedy almost 200 years before Luther posted his 95 … Continue Reading “Three Reasons Every High School Student Should Study Dante “

The Centrality of Christ

by Joe Carlson on Posted on

Audio version of this blog post It is easy to read the Comedy, and Paradiso especially, and lose sight of the pilgrim’s primary trajectory, a trajectory that governs the whole poem. There are over five hundred characters that find their way into the narrative, hundreds of ancient Greek and Roman myths explicitly and implicitly alluded to, dozens of political events particular to thirteenth and fourteenth-century Italy referenced, and many points of theology discussed as foreign to us as the Medieval world itself. It is no great surprise we feel lost reading the Comedy for the first time. Even an English … Continue Reading “The Centrality of Christ”

 Nostra Vita – Joe Carlson

by Joe Carlson on Posted on

The following was my portion of a Dante panel, focusing on the Inferno, presented at the University of Dallas, March 27, 2023. Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita. The 13th century Florentine poet, Dante Alighieri begins the greatest poem in the history of mankind with these words: Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita — In the middle of the course of our life. This opening line is rich with meaning and implications that govern the rest of the 14,232 lines that follow. It situates the poem in the striking particularity of an individual, and identifies that individual’s journey … Continue Reading ” Nostra Vita – Joe Carlson”

A Short History of Valentine

by Uri Brito on Posted on

It is common to celebrate days with little knowledge of their origin. The traditional Valentine’s Day or The Feast of Saint Valentine is such a day. “Valentine” derives from “valens,” which means strong, worthy, or powerful. These are apt descriptions for this little-appreciated martyr. Tradition and legends abound. The truth is we have yet to learn much about the life of St. Valentine. We know that around 278 AD, Valentine, a holy priest in the days of Emperor Claudius II, was executed. The precise day is well acknowledged as February 14th. Claudius was known for his cruelty. His unpopular and bloody … Continue Reading “A Short History of Valentine”

Redeeming the Six Arts: A Review by Jeremy Tate

by Jeremy Tate on Posted on

Classical education is a great gift of the Western world; but what about the world beyond the West? Traditional Chinese education is currently seeing a revival in China, not entirely unlike the classical renewal movement here in the United States. However, where ours is a grassroots movement and tends to have strong ties to Christianity, the revival of classical Chinese education is favored by the officially atheistic state, leaving many Chinese Christians ambivalent at best. Moreover, the materials brought to China by Western educators (both Christian and secular) tend, naturally enough, to be European classics rather than Chinese ones, and … Continue Reading “Redeeming the Six Arts: A Review by Jeremy Tate”