Enchanted by Story: Literature in Service of Christian Wisdom

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.

Davenant House Welcomes Michael Hughes as Director

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.

“Plainly Diabolical”: Bishop Davenant Weighs in on Clerical Celibacy

John Davenant, as Lady Margaret Professor of Theology at Cambridge, gave a lecture in the 1610’s defending the thesis that: “Thus, marrying in the Sacerdotal Order is lawful, and the decree for its prohibition in the Church of Rome is unlawful, anti-Christian, and plainly diabolical.” In this post, I want to highlight some of the more pertinent parts of Davenant’s lecture as they relate to the present problems facing the Roman Catholic Church.

Do Something Hard This Summer

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.

First Carolinas Regional Convivium


Our first ever Carolinas Regional Convivium Irenicum is scheduled for January 5th and 6th, 2018. D. Blair Smith, Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at RTS Charlotte, will provide the plenary lecture with a working topic of the Fatherhood of God in Pro-Nicene Theology. In addition to the plenary lecture, we are accepting paper submissions from individuals who wish to do so (email Brittain Brewer). Please note: this event is athematic, so we encourage you to write on a topic of your choice as it relates to the Davenant Institute’s mission.

Attendants should begin arriving around 5:30pm, Jan. 5th, at the Davenant House for a light dinner. The convivium will commence that evening and go through 5:30 the following evening. We will end as close to schedule as possible in order that people may get back home for worship on Sunday.

Some attendants have graciously offered to provide food for all meals and prepare it during the events. Others will be assigned for at least one set-up/clean-up shift.