Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Stephen Adubato, writer and Core adjunct faculty member.
Inside the Core this week or near to this week, many students in Core II are likely to be reading from the works of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. One of our Core faculty members, adjunct professor Stephen Adubato, recently had an opinion piece published in Newsweek on the influence of Nietzsche in today's world.
Nietzsche, perhaps best known for coining the term "God is dead," is an interesting figure to position in dialogue with some of the deeply spiritual writers in Core II, such as Augustine (City of God), Thomas Aquinas, Oscar Romero, Pope Francis, Simone Weil, and early Christian writers like Tertullian, Justin Martyr, and Perpetua, among writers from other faith traditions, like Moses Maimonides, the medieval Jewish writer, and Ibn Rushd, medieval Muslim scholar. In my own classes, I usually set up mock debates, where some students represent Nietzsche and another writer who might be deemed sympathetic to some of his ideas and other students represent the positions of writers from quite different perspectives. I have found, contrasting Nietzsche with the thinking of the religious writers in Core II actually helps to highlight some of the deeper implications of their ideas, such as the Catholic theological position of the option for the poor (a position Nietzsche would decidedly not support), to give only one from several possible examples.
Prof. Adubato's article brings out some of the fascinating implications of Nietzsche's ideas as they inform positions in today's polarized world that might, on the surface at least, seem opposite. His article in Newsweek can be found here. Students in Core II should read it, as it deepens the understanding of how pervasive Nietzsche's thinking remains, even in current times.
Prof. Adubato has been teaching in the Core for a few years, and he is an enthusiastic and deeply committed instructor. He finished his M.A. in Christian Ethics at Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology in 2019 and has worked as a high school teacher and a freelance writer for a number of publications including America Magazine (Jesuit journal), First Things, NY Daily News, and Hedgehog Review. Last fall, he led a faculty development session for Core faculty on Dorothy Day, showing the wide range of his interests, as perhaps no one could be further from the thinking of Nietzsche than was Dorothy Day, the Catholic social justice advocate and co-founder (alongside Peter Maurin) of The Catholic Worker.
Regarding his work in the Core, Prof. Adubato says, "Since I started teaching in the CORE, I've appreciated exploring with students the ways that essential human questions about truth, morality, and happiness emerge in current events, popular culture, and our personal lives. Said discussions have inspired several of the articles I've written, including this one about the presence of Nietzschean ideas in public figures ranging from Judith Butler to Jordan B. Peterson." It is deeply gratifying to us, in the Core, to know that ideas stemming from discussions in our classes lead faculty like Prof. Adubato to explore the topics further in important articles such as this one.
Categories: Education , Faith and Service