Life finds a way.

As you may have noticed, I’ve been inactive on the blog and the podcast recently. In the last few months, I’ve accepted a new position at The Ambrose School, packed up my house and podcast equipment, and have celebrated the birth of my second son. Hopefully, once we are fully moved out to Idaho and settled into the new house I can start podcasting again and return to a normal routine.

My new position is teaching Latin through comprehensible input techniques and modern second language acquisition research. Coming from a grammar-translation approach, I’ve been reading and studying on modern SLA and CI philosophy and pedagogy and hope to write about the intersection between classical education and modern language research.

How should you read poetry?

Many people struggle to read poetry. It seems vague, confusing, and leading to fuzzy-headed mushiness. Its images can be taken in different ways, leading to competing interpretations. For this reason, some prefer prose and straightforward explanations of what something “really means.” Yet the multiplicity of meaning offered by poetry’s images is what gives poetry its power. Poetry is not locked into one, specific meaning, but it offers worlds of possibility through its symbols and signs.

In my latest article for Circe, I show how the premier poet of the ancient world, Homer, teaches us how to see.

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.

The latest episode of Handmade Humanity explores the connections between the Old Testament law and the roots of American order.

Which road will you take?

“The road to vice is smooth and can be travelled without sweating, because it is very short; but ‘as the price of virtue’, [Hesiod] says,

‘The gods have imposed the sweat of our brows

And long and steep is the ascent that you have to make

And rough at first, but when you get to the top

Then the rugged road is easy to endure.’

(Plato, Laws, 718e-719a)

The real cost of wickedness

“You see, practically no one takes into account the greatest ‘judgment,’ as it is called, on wrongdoing. This is to grow to resemble men who are evil, and as the resemblance increases, to shun good men and their wholesome conversation and to cut oneself off from them, while seeking to attack oneself to the other kind and keep their company.” (Plato, Laws, 728b-c)

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. 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.


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?

Give me books

“You may perhaps be brought to acknowledge that is is very worthwhile to be tormented for two or three years of one’s life, for the sake of being able to read all the rest of it.” Jane Austen

An obscurity of both sin and ignorance

“Above all it is thus that we can acquire the virtue of humility, and that is a far more precious treasure than all academic progress. From this point of view it is perhaps even more useful to contemplate our stupidity than our sin. Consciousness of sin gives us the feeling that we are evil, and a kind of pride sometimes finds a place in it.” Simone Weil, Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a view to the Love of God.

Ep 12: The Fault is in our Stars

There are four main schools of philosophy in the classical world: Platonism, Aristotelianism, Stoicism, and Epicureanism. The first two schools have had an outsized influence on the Christian tradition, and the last school is the culture of our modern age, but the Stoic school has also infiltrated our culture in a number of ways.

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.


Seneca, Stoic Philosophy of Seneca: Essays and Letters