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SCHEDULES AND LOCATIONS Annapolis: St. John’s College Campus Morning: Breakfast session meets usually the last Tuesday of each month. Evening: Session meets usually the third Wednesday of each month. Summer Session: Slated for 2013. Baltimore: Two Locations Morning: The Center Club, Downtown: Breakfast session meets usually the second Tuesday of each month. Morning: The Myerberg Center, Falls Road. Two sessions meet consecutively, usually the third Tuesday of each month. For registration, contact the Myerberg Center at 410-358-6856.

District of Columbia: The Cosmos Club Morning: Breakfast session meets usually the third Wednesday of each month.

Philadephia: Rosenbach Museum and Library, Delancey Place Noon Luncheon Session: Session meets usually the second Wednesday of each month.

Late Afternoon: Session meets usually the second Wednesday of each month. Easton: The Tidewater Inn Late Afternoon: Session meets usually the fourth Wednesday of each month. New York City: Midtown Location Late Afternoon: Session meets usually the second Wednesday of each month at the CBS Building in the Law Offices of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

Visit the college’s website for: Seminars west of the Mississippi hosted by St. John’s College, Santa Fe Week-long Summer Classics held in Santa Fe and Annapolis

For more information or to register for Executive Seminars, visit For questions, contact Alice Chambers at 410-295-5544 or

Civility healthy civil society.

Respect, reason, and a shared mission are seen as characterizing a strong and

Without this foundation, many believe that a nation cannot flourish. In

struggling with this very important issue, we look to classic texts for help. The personal responsibility of Confucius, the imagined states of Aeschylus and Shakespeare, the moral sense of Adam Smith and Chekhov, Rousseau’s search for political legitimacy, the measured patriotism of Madison and Lincoln, and the cautionary wisdom of Flannery O’Connor—all guide our discussions as we try to define a common vision of civility.

St. John’s College is an independent four-year liberal arts college. All classes are conducted in seminar or discussion format. Faculty members, called tutors, do not lecture or drive the discussion with certain ends in mind; rather they lead a discussion on the text under consideration. The integrated curriculum of philosophy, literature, history, theology, political science, mathematics, natural science, and music is based on the chronological study of works that are at the foundations of Western civilization, beginning with Homer, Plato, and Euclid and continuing to James Joyce, Einstein, and Martin Luther King. Tracing its origins to 1696, St. John’s is among the oldest colleges in the nation. Two campuses—one in Annapolis, Maryland, and one in Santa Fe, New Mexico—offer the same undergraduate program. The college offers graduate programs leading to a Master of Arts degree on both campuses.


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Each Executive Seminar will be limited to 20 participants. Tuition covers expenses for a nine-session seminar, refreshments, and the president’s dinner at one session. To reserve a place in the series, please use this registration form or register online at

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To register online, visit and click on “Outreach,” then “Executive Seminars.” Seminar information and notifications will be sent by e-mail only. FOR MORE INFORMATION on St. John’s College and its programs, please visit the web site at

The readings have been chosen for the thoughts and ideas presented by the authors; most of the material is studied as part of the undergraduate curriculum at St. John’s. Participants will be given a list of the translations/editions preferred by the tutors and they may obtain them in any format desired: Kindle, Nook, iPad, or text copy. Many works can be downloaded and printed directly from the Internet at no cost. Books may also be ordered directly from the St. John’s Bookstore.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract This fundamental work of political philosophy seeks to find legitimacy in public life. Claiming that we are “born free, but everywhere in chains”, Rousseau hopes to break our manacles by showing us the basis of authority in moral liberty, true property, and citizenship. These qualities, he reasons, have never existed before now.



Confucius, The Analects To become both an excellent individual and a good member of the community, one must first educate and regulate oneself. Following the path of nature, music, and poetry enables us to achieve a good society and to attain humility and virtue. Is this an effective philosophy for the modern world?


Shakespeare, The Tempest

Athena, with the assistance of her Athenian citizens and the Furies, hopes to establish legal process as an alternative to hatred, violence, and revenge. Will her courts work? Are human reason and the secular state a sufficient foundation for law and public peace? Or do we need to ground civil peace in religion and fear?

Prospero, having lost his kingdom, retreats to an island with his daughter. Her innocence is challenged when a shipwreck brings outsiders to shore. The play explores what happens when things fall apart. What relationships among society, family, and nature might become the foundation for a restructuring of civil order? Are Prospero’s books a “dukedom large enough”? Or does he need more?



This moral philosopher claims that the ethical foundation for a good and enduring civil society rests on the mutual judgment and free regulation of our behavior by the voluntary approval and disapproval of others. Can society be a free, self-regulating system of sentiments?

With marvelous attention to the detail and subtlety of human relations, Chekhov makes us wonder whether individuals flourish better in society, in families, or among friends. Can love be the foundation of civility, or is it too difficult and anarchic?

Aeschylus, The Eumenides

Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments (selections)

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Anton Chekhov, “The Man in a Case,” “Gooseberries,” and “About Love”


James Madison, The Federalist Papers: 10 and 51 Arguing in favor of adopting the proposed American Constitution, Madison claims that justice is the goal of government and civil society. And yet he understands that liberty is threatened by both government and the tyranny of the majority. Madison examines how both to successfully preserve liberty and establish justice, while saving the people from the abuses of government and majority tyranny.


Abraham Lincoln, “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions: Address Before the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, January 27, 1838” The young Abraham Lincoln argues for the rule of law as the ground upon which we shall build a successful civil order. What is the boundary between freedom and license that will ensure success in resolving legitimate conflicting interests? What is the relative power of law versus violence?


Flannery O’Connor, “Good Country People” In this comic yet troubling tale, O’Connor asks us to consider whether we should place our hopes in the goodness of the human heart, the power of the human intellect, or the shrewd skepticism of the clever. As the story unfolds we confront competing exegetic claims about what is truly in the Bible. Our powers of interpretation may shape the civility with which we act.

WHAT IS A ST. JOHN’S SEMINAR? St. John’s College Executive Seminars address fundamental questions of the human condition through a close reading and discussion of timeless great works of literature, philosophy, and political discourse. Faculty members meet with about 20 participants once a month for 90 minutes to discuss one of these enduring texts. The seminar discussion is exploratory; no previous knowledge of the author, text, or subject is required. The character and course of the conversation are determined by the demands of the text and by the willingness of all members of the seminar to state their opinions clearly and reasonably. Such a discussion is not a debate: challenging the ideas of others or offering alternative thinking is encouraged, with insight as the goal. For more than 20 years the college has offered seminars for professionals, executives, and life-long learners in a number of cities. These seminars are specially structured to suit the needs of busy people who, immersed in careers and families, value serious conversation with their peers about ideas that have challenged humankind through the ages.

TUTORS FOR THE 2012-2013 PROGRAM With a ratio of eight students to every one tutor, St. John’s students are privileged to have individual guidance in their educational pursuits. A few of these same faculty members bring their expertise to guide the Executive Seminar Program for life-long learning adults. To see their résumés, visit Deborah S. Axelrod Nicholas A. Capozzoli Michael Dink Barbara Goyette, vice president Michael W. Grenke Anita L. Kronsberg Christopher B. Nelson, president William A. Pastille George A. Russell Erik Sageng Eric Salem John Tomarchio David Townsend John Verdi

Executive Seminar Brochure 2012  
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