On today’s episode, Ari spoke with the extraordinary classical educator and University of Virginia professor Angel Adams Parham about the Black intellectual tradition and how it has been shaped by—and in turn can shape our contemporary understanding of—the classics.

Along the way they talked about why Phillis Wheatley was fascinated by death; the importance of poetry in classical education; Frederick Douglass’s oratory; classical education for all; faith and providence in Martin Luther King Jr.’s thought; Biblical literacy in America; the Greek tradition vs. the Biblical tradition; the Book of Lamentations; and much more!

Guest Quote

“In so much of Western culture, we have focused on “truth”. Truth and goodness, but especially truth. We’ve taken these truth-first approaches to understanding what it means to be a good society. What about beauty? What if we were to flip that and take beauty at the beginning? Beauty as our root to truth and goodness, and not always have beauty last. There’s something about the tradition of philosophical critique that’s led us to where we are today, that seems to strip things down to their most kind of mechanically rational in a way that can become anti-human.” – Angel Adams Parham

Time Stamps

* (:01) Intro

* (5:42) How Angel fell in love with the Classics

* (14:09) Phyllis Wheatley, and the start of the African-American religious tradition

* (21:33) Elegies and everyday poetry

* (31:58) What’s a Classic anyways?

* (37:55) Faith within the Black intellectual tradition

* (45:24) The Bible as the basis for Western Literature

Good Faith Effort is a production of SoulShop, Bnai Zion, and Caspian Studios


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Find out more about Angel

The Black Intellectual Tradition: Reading Freedom in Classical Literature on Amazon Books