Treasure in Earthen Vessels Bringing a New Generation into the Catholic Intellectual Life

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Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider

Abstract

Imparting the rich heritage of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition to students begins with first inviting them on a journey into the world of ideas – but how can educators effectively coax students to embark on such a voyage? Working from the understanding that students arrive on campus curious and questioning, the author suggests a number of tactics to offer a thorough and integrated approach for success. Instructors can begin by using topics the students consider relevant to their own experiences, but must then go far deeper: Leverage the provocative ideas of the past to offer great thinkers as intellectual companions for students’ own journeys; introduce students not only to ideas, but also to the idea of trying on ideas for size as personal convictions; confuse them and plant questions that will nag them for life and cause them to return over and over again to the treasury of Catholic thought; and introduce them to people who embody intellectual ideas like ethics as personal life commitments.

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