Martin Cothran Archive

Love in the Ruins

La La Land and the Disenchantment of the World Modern movies tend toward one or another extreme: They are either severely realistic or dreamily fantastic—cynical hardboiled drama and ironic comedy on the one hand, or superhero or historical fantasy on the other. It is a symptom, I think, of modern culture that we have almost …

The Music of Orpheus

The early Greeks had little idea of the One God of the Hebrews, and lived too early in history to know of the Trinitarian God of the Christians. But they shared with Judaism and Christianity the idea that the things of the world and the actions of men had meaning. This belief was expressed in …

The Descendants of Scrooge

There is a common theme in most Christmas stories of a man who is too cynical, or depressed, or crotchety (sometimes even evil) to participate in the spirit of Christmas, and who, because of some event or insight, has his eyes opened to the wonder of the world. We all know this cast of characters: …

Thinking Logically About Logic

You’ve heard the word before, but what does it mean? Here’s the lowdown on the second leg of the trivium. Introduction The best way to answer the question “What is logic?” is with a definition. But that is easier said than done. Throughout history, many people have thought and written about the subject of logic, …

Light to the Darkness

Narrative accounts and musical commemorations follow in the wake of every disaster. From the Iliad and the Odyssey, written about events related to the Trojan War, to Gordon Lightfoot’s “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” literature and music have dealt with destruction and death. What great crime doesn’t have its own documentary? What great disaster …

How to Teach Logic

Every subject that is systematic has a certain inherent order to it that dictates how it should be approached. In some subjects this order is more explicit than in others. In mathematics, for example, there is a widely acknowledged sequence of what should be learned and when it should be taught. In other subjects, however, …