A Lecture on Wendell Berry and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

This lecture was given at the University of Texas at Austin on 24 October 2019.

Joshua Hochschild is the Monsignor Robert R. Kline Professor of Philosophy at Mount St. Mary’s University, where he also served six years as the inaugural Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. His primary research is in medieval logic, metaphysics, and ethics, with broad interest in liberal education and the continuing relevance of the Catholic intellectual tradition. He is the author of The Semantics of Analogy: Rereading Cajetan’s De Nominum Analogia (2010), translator of Claude Panaccio’s Mental Language: From Plato to William of Ockham (2017), and co-author of A Mind at Peace: Reclaiming an Ordered Soul in the Age of Distraction (2017). His writing has appeared in First Things, Commonweal, Modern Age and the Wall Street Journal. For 2020-21 he’s been elected to serve as President of the American Catholic Philosophical Association.

Listen to "Wendell Berry, Political Philosophy, & the Catholic Intellectual Tradition" by Prof. Joshua Hochschild at Soundcloud


Tanya Berry photos, Wendell Berry essay in new publication

In 1979, Tanya Amyx Berry was given a camera by New Farm magazine to capture images of Kentucky farmers at work. Over two days at the farm of Owen and Loyce Flood in Henry County, she recorded the culmination of a year’s labor raising livestock. These photographs have recently been published for the first time in a new book by University Press of Kentucky.

In Tanya Amyx Berry’s “For the Hog Killing, 1979,” these compelling photographs, accompanied by an essay and poem from Wendell Berry, illustrate the American agrarian practice of neighbors gathering to perform one of the most ceremonious jobs of farm life and the communal effort toward a common wealth.

Read all of "Tanya Berry Captures Kentucky Tradition in New UPK Release" by Katie Cross Gibson and Danielle Donham at UK News.


Mr. Wendell Berry is not Fr. Thomas Berry, CP

Over brunch today with some Catholic friends, I happened to mention something about Wendell Berry—which occurs with some frequency, as you might guess. Today, however, one of my friends mentioned that Wendell Berry was "a Passionist." And I replied, of course, "Oh, you mean Thomas Berry." But was met with "No, Wendell Berry."

The confusion between Fr. Thomas Berry, CP (a Passionist eco-theologian and author of The Dream of the Earth) and Mr. Wendell Berry is understandable. When Fr. Berry died in 2009 there was a significant flurry of concern over the health of Mr. Berry. With clarifications from a number of directions, however, things settled down.

And yet, here it is again. So during this meal I felt compelled to pull out my phone and search. To my surprise, I easily found a link to an essay ("Strangers in Out Midst: Catholics in Rural America" by Jeffrey Marlett) in the collection Roman Catholicism in the United States: A Thematic History, which referred to "radical agrarians like Passionist priest Wendell Berry." The complete volume was just published this year by Fordham University Press.

It remains a bit irksome that even now, a full decade after Fr. Berry's death, Mr. Wendell Berry is misidentified as a Catholic priest—though this may be the source of some chuckling among Mr. Berry, his wife Tanya, and their children and grandchildren. Oh well ... I offer this simple graphic:

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Wendell Berry receives Kentucky Humanities Award

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky author Wendell Berry received the inaugural Kentucky Humanities Carl West Literary Award presented in a ceremony Thursday at the Paul Sawyier Public Library in Frankfort.

Presented by Kentucky Humanities, the literary award recognizes an individual who has made a significant impact on the literary culture of the commonwealth.

The award is named in honor of Kentucky journalist Carl West, who established the Kentucky Book Fair and was the driving force behind Kentucky’s premier literary event for more than 30 years.

Read the complete article HERE at The Lane Report.

Also see "Berry the perfect pick for Carl West Literary Award" in Frankfort's The State Journal.