Enduring Interest

Pavlos Papadopoulos on Eva Brann’s Paradoxes of Education in a Republic

January 10, 2022

This month we’re pleased to present a conversation on Eva Brann’s book Paradoxes of Education in a Republic. Brann serves as a tutor at St. John’s College—she’s the author of many books and Paradoxes was published in 1979. Our guest is Pavlos Papadopoulos—himself a graduate of St. John’s and now an assistant professor of humanities at Wyoming Catholic College. Brann’s vision of education is a bibliocentric one, rooted in reading the great books. Such an education’s purpose, as Pavlos articulates Brann’s vision, is to take up and read the worlds of knowledge, nature and art.


Brann’s book is a philosophical and historical inquiry into education. In thinking through the prospects for liberal education in a republic, she appeals to and quotes from a vast range of texts stretching back to ancient Greece, although her chief interlocutor is Thomas Jefferson. She examines three paradoxes (defined as a “dilemma inherent in the thing itself”): utility, tradition and rationality. It’s a short, penetrating and charming book that deserves a very wide audience.


Pavlos Papadopoulos teaches Great Books seminars on politics, literature, and history. He received his MA and PhD in Politics from the University of Dallas. Pavlos has a long-standing interest in the history of liberal arts education, especially the revival of liberal education in America that began in the early 20th century. It was while pursuing this interest that he first read, and later taught, Eva Brann's Paradoxes of Education in a Republic. Pavlos's writing has appeared in Interpretation, First Things, Law & LibertyThe American Mind, and The American Conservative.

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