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Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming is president of the Fleming Foundation. He is the author of six books, including The Morality of Everyday Life and The Politics of Human Nature, as well as many articles and columns for newspapers, magazines,and learned journals. He holds a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and a B.A. in Greek from the College of Charleston. He served as editor of Chronicles: a Magazine of American Culture from 1984 to 2015 and president of The Rockford Institute from 1997-2014. In a previous life he taught classics at several colleges and served as a school headmaster in South Carolina

5 Responses

  1. Jacob Johnson says:

    I have, this morning, begun to pick the book again after a break due to time limitations. I’d say the chapters should be read more than once before continuing. I find it , so far, to be an excellent synthesis of what I have learned here in the last few years, which addresses many points I have always wondered about and have never heard or read anybody else take up.

    The first chapter’s treatment of “poor in spirit” in the Sermon on the Mount’s benedictions is one of the things which I should think should be of prime interest to the reader. I have wondered, too, about the word praos, translated as meek, in the benedictions. Popularly, among cynical anti-Christians, this is cited as evidence that Christians are supposed to be weaklings. The modern evolution of misuse of the word, I suppose, contributes to this distortion, as I have heard it should mean something like “reserving strength under control,” rather than timid. I suppose I may have to read further.

  2. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    I’ll be sure to take up this question when I record the podcast on Chapter 1 tomorrow. There is a story told of Francis de Sales, the Catholic model of the meek saint. He was of noble blood and had received the usual training, and, when some schoolmates, misunderstanding his gentle manner as cowardice, waylaid the boy, he thrashed them soundly, as they deserved. Not to get angry when confronted with evil, as Thomas Aquinas explains, is sinful.

  3. Ken Rosenberger says:

    Great podcast. I hope you’ll continue to do these on the chapters of Reign of Love.

    Wow! Not much of a Jefferson fan, eh? I have to say, having slogged my way through the 3rd volume of Dumas Malone’s detail-heavy Jefferson & His Times, my own perception of this paragon of the founding is itself considerably diminished. He held too long a grudge against John Bull, even as he embraced the French Revolution & the Jacobins for too long. The Declaration does not get better with age, &, pace modern Evangelicals, he doesn’t seem to have been much of a Christian.

    Still, he is an admirable role model in many ways, filling up his days with learning & productive pursuits. He even seems to have had something to do with innovating the common plow. He would have been content to spend all his days at Monticello. He had to be dragged kicking and screaming into every office he held. Would that our politicians today were so reluctant to take power. Plus, I think the Sally Hemings gossip is balderdash. If Jefferson possessed only one-tenth the taste and discretion as the man Malone describes, he would never have given the time of day (in Holden Caulfield’s words) to that little attention seeker.

  4. Avatar photo Thomas Fleming says:

    Actually, Ken, I am a great admirer of the third President, but the implied (and overt) argument of The Declaration is subversive of the political and moral order. A dozen years later, Burke will undertake the impossible task of proving that the Whig Party, in driving out James II, putting William and Mary on the throne, and choosing a German boor to be king, did not advocate what he called “the cashiering of kings.” As I argued in one of my Summer School lectures, Jefferson understood the English Revolution better than Burke.

    He did have ambitions, but they were inconsistent with his own view of himself as a country squire with serious intellectual interests. There is no figure in American political history I admire half as much, and, when he was not gabbling the standard Whig line about the rights of man, he was one of two or three wise political thinkers–along with Calhoun, John Adams, and very few others.

    In the next podcast, Rex asks why I was so hard on Augustine. My answer is that great saints and fathers of the Church (and it goes without saying Popes, good and bad) are merely human beings. Saint Paul was an arrogant self-righteous jerk before his conversion, and he has to work very hard to persuade his readers that he is really a different man. He was terribly proud of his humility! Do I respect, admire, revere Paul one whit the less? Not a bit.

  5. Robert Reavis says:

    Very nice. Thank you both, Yom and Rex, looking forward to this series. Very very good stuff.