The year of our Lord 2020 is underway, and it has already yielded fruit disproportionate to the days gone by at the Davenant House. On Friday, January 3rd and Saturday, January 4th, we hosted the annual Carolinas Regional Convivium. The topic was Literature in the Service of Christian Wisdom.
Three years ago, we at Davenant were blessed by the Lord with the opportunity to purchase a beautiful small retreat center property in the Blue Ridge Mountains of upstate SC, which we dubbed Davenant House. We enthusiastically sketched out a vision for a study center dedicated to the renewal of Protestant wisdom, offering residential courses, study retreats, and serving as a hub for building networks and ministry in the region. Unfortunately, the path forward for this work proved far rockier and more winding than we had anticipated, and we had all but abandoned this vision when the Lord brought Michael Hughes and his family across our path last summer. Over this winter, He opened many doors for bringing the Hugheses on, beginning in Summer 2019, as full-time directors of Davenant House, ready to realize the initial ambitious vision for the property, engage in active student ministry throughout the Western Carolinas, and raise funds for the further development of the property. It is with greatest excitement and joy that we introduce them to you today.
A few years Alan Jacobs posted an old syllabus for a class at the University of Michigan taught by the great English poet W. H. Auden.
It required 6,000 pages of reading… in one semester. Titled “Fate and the Individual in European Literature,” Auden’s course required students to read the entire Divine Comedy, Horace’s Odes, Augustine’s Confessions, four Shakespeare plays, the Pensees, Blake’s Narrative of Heaven and Hell, Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, Melville’s Moby Dick, and selections from Kierkegaard, Baudelaire, Ibsen, Rimbaud, Henry Adams, Rilke, and Kafka.
At the time, many laughed at the list and ruefully shook their head at the crazy standards that once prevailed in American higher ed. But then this year three scholars at the University of Oklahoma decided to do something different: They essentially taught Auden’s course.
From June 6th through 17th this year, seven students gathered from four countries to participate in Davenant’s first ever Intensive Protestant Wisdom Summer Program (a shortened version of last year’s Five-Week Program).
Taught by Dr. Alastair Roberts, a leading evangelical blogger and writer from the United Kingdom, this program sought to help train Christian undergraduates, grad students, and seminarians in Christian wisdom so that they can be equipped to lead as servant heroes within the church and their local communities. By all accounts, it was a great success. Read more…
The Davenant House Protestant Wisdom Summer Programs are designed to help train Christian undergraduates, grad students, and seminarians in Christian wisdom so that they can be equipped to live as servant leaders within the church and their local communities. Students come to live together, work together, eat, pray, and read together, and above all converse together. Each day consists of morning and evening prayer, time allocated for gardening, cooking, or manual labor on the property, communal meals, designated times for quiet reading and study, and seminars for Socratic discussion of key texts. The programs are held at Davenant House, a property located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in upstate South Carolina.
This summer’s programs, both a 10-day Intensive version and a Five-Week version, will be led by Dr. Alastair Roberts, a popular writer and host of the Mere Fidelity podcast whose work has been featured in many publications online and whose book Heirs Together: A Theology of the Sexes will be released this year from Crossway.
He will lead students in readings and conversation on the following five themes:
- Bible and Core Dogmatics
- Principles of Christian Philosophy
- A Christian Natural Philosophy
- Ethics and the Challenge of Modernity
- Politics and Faithful Citizenship
Full room and board at our beautiful property are provided as part of our summer programs, and we encourage students to be residential for the full experience, although a limited number of commuter students will be accepted. This summer we will offer a ten-day intensive program (June 6-17) and a more leisurely five-week study program (June 19-July 21).
Earlier this month the Davenant Trust held its fourth annual Convivium Irenicum at Davenant House in upstate South Carolina near Greenville. The theme of this year’s event was “Confessionalism and Diversity in the Reformed Tradition” and we were delighted to have Dr. Carl Trueman, who holds the Paul Woolley Chair of Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary, as our keynote speaker. Read more…
The Davenant Trust is seeking donations of books for its new study center in upstate SC, Davenant House. Our aim is to have a substantial library in theology and the liberal arts that will be of service to students participating in our residential summer study programs, to students in our Davenant Latin Institute residential courses, and to scholars and pastors using the facility for retreats and study sabbaticals. Read more…
We were recently able to film a series of brief discussions about Davenant House, our hope for the work there, inspirations for it, and the role of Christian study centers in the life of the church.
You can see the first of these videos below on the topic of “The Mission of Christian Study Centers.” Read more…
In this video Brad Littlejohn, Peter Escalante, and Jake Meador discuss one of the foundational principles of Davenant House, which is the valuing of Christian wisdom over “Christian worldview.”
The discussion begins with brief comments on why worldview language is, for all its benefits, often an unhelpful way to talk about the way a Christian person sees creation. We then move on to a discussion of how our project to emphasize Christian wisdom relates to the cultural liturgies series by Dr. James K.A. Smith. Read more…
In this video Brad Littlejohn is joined by Jake and Joie Meador to discuss the ways that L’Abri has influenced the thinking behind much of what we hope to do with Davenant House. Both Jake and Joie are former L’Abri students, at the Rochester and Swiss branches respectively, and were deeply shaped by their time there. That experience has helped to shape the way we are thinking about Davenant House: Read more…