Bona non Utilia sed Honesta:
A reflection on Josef Pieper’s “Leisure: The Basis of Culture”
“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Genesis 2:2-3 [KJV]).
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“But the Gods, taking pity on mankind, born to work, laid down the succession of recurring Feasts to restore them from their fatigue, and gave them the Muses, and Apollo their leader, and Dionysus, as companions in their Feasts, so that nourishing themselves in festive companionship with the Gods, they should again stand upright and erect.” (Plato, Laws, 353 C-D)
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As modernity gradually extended an economic logic into more and more areas of life, in the mid-20th century several philosophers responded by articulating defenses of leisure, understood in the tradition of its classical roots as the foundation of what today we call the liberal arts — those arts and studies suitable to freedom, and pursued as ends in themselves rather than to serve any utilitarian purpose.
This talk examines one of these arguments as framed by the philosopher Joseph Pieper and presented in the slim volume entitled “Leisure: The Basis of Culture.” In this essay, Pieper discusses the dangers of acceding to the modern view that the concept of labor can be extended to encompass the highest reaches of culture, and, drawing on his own Christianity, he traces his defense of this high culture that he sees as the fruit of all noble civilizations to its etymological roots in the cultus, that is, in the realm of religious faith.
Come, then, for an evening of leisure in this classical sense, as we consider the wisdom of a time set aside for the higher things of life, most particularly the divine.
Join us at 7 pm on July 31 at:
The Lower Bar
45 Province Street, Boston, MA 02108
Attendees wishing to eat dinner first,
please inform the restaurant that you are part of the
Church of the Advent party for the evening.
Evening Prayer will be said at the Church of the Advent,
30 Brimmer Street, at 5:30 pm.
All are welcome to say the daily office together and then process from the parish church to MAST’.
Please direct any questions to Father Jeff Hanson and follow us @adventboston