By Cheryl Toomey, University Relations Graduate Assistant
What do Greco-Roman traditions, Christianity, and the Constitution all have in common? If you want to find out, you’ll have to attend the Constitution Day Lecture.
On September 17, at 7:30 in the UC Auditorium, Bradley Birzer will present When St Paul Met Aeneas in Philadelphia: The Classical and Christian Origins of the American Founding. This event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Center for Reflective Citizenship, a unit of the UTC School of Education devoted to the revitalization of civic education.
This lecture seeks to contextualize the founding of our nation and the creation of the Constitution by exploring Christian and Greco-Roman influences on the political climate during the time.
“The founders drew heavily from both the Christian and Greco-Roman cultural traditions in thinking about everything from the nature of human beings and what has worked effectively in the past politically,” says Dr. Lucien Ellington, UC Foundation Professor and co-founder of the Center for Reflective Citizenship “The founders were incredibly well versed in the Old Testament and the New Testament and in the classics from ancient Greece and Rome. This is sort of like the cultural air that the founders breathed.”
Birzer is a Professor in History at Hillsdale College, Michigan. He is Russel Amos Kirk Chair in American Studies, Chairman of the Board of Academic Advisors for the Center for the American Republic, a Senior Scholar with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, and a Fellow with the Mitch McConnell Center. Birzer was also recently named one of the 25 best living scholars of American history by CSPAN. The lecture will be followed by a 15-minute question and answer session with Birzer.
“This is an incredibly important topic in really understanding the political and cultural context of the American founding. And Birzer is passionate, engaging, and a great speaker,” Ellington says. “People will really learn how these two political traditions relate.”
This event will include pocket sized versions of the U.S. Constitution. There will also be refreshments.
Constitution Day commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution on September 17, 1787. It became a national observance when Senator Robert Byrd passed a bill designating September 17 as an annual day of remembrance and education about the U.S. Constitution. Each year, UTC hosts educational lectures focusing on the Constitution.
In past years, UTC has commemorated Constitution Day by inviting other nationally recognized speakers to lecture on our campus. In 2012, Dr. James W. Ceaser, Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia and director of the Program for Constitutionalism and Democracy, presented, “The Ties That Bind: What We Feel For Our Constitution.” This lecture discussed how important the Constitution is, not only legally, but also as a powerful symbol of our national cohesion.