The Center For Western Studies

The Center For Western Studies

The Center for Western Studies is an experiment in education. Our goal is to offer our students two

Operating as usual


On the third day of Christmas, your Center gave to you...a short short story by Leo Tolstoy, called "Papa Panov's Special Christmas" -- we hope you enjoy it, and have a very special Christmas season of your own!

(It closes with a version of the beautiful Wexford Carol, sung by Michael MacDonald -- formerly of the Doobie Brothers.)


If you are looking for a ministry to support, have a look at our work at the Center for Western Studies. We are committed to investigating and passing on our cultural inheritance: the literature, music, art, and philosophy of the West evaluated through the lens of the Bible.

And for any donation of $100.00 or more, we will send you a gift! The audiobook reading of Dickens' A CHRISTMAS CAROL, dramatically read by our Director, John Hodges.

The CWS offers a gap year for students, an online course for adults, and a weekly podcast on many of the ideas that have influenced out civilization. Information on all these can be found on our website,

Donation is easy through our PayPal portal:


Can we identify ourselves? If so, is there still room for meaning? These are some of the questions addressed by our Dec 15th podcast -- available tomorrow at 8am! We hope you will listen and comment. We want to know what you think!


ONLINE TOMORROW MORNING, Dec 1! Check out our latest podcast on the importance of STORIES in the founding and health of a civilization:


Well, well, well! We have had 120 listens in the past 6 days! Pretty soon we will pass the latest Taylor Swift video!


Friday the 13th!!
Some have been inquiring about if we are going to begin posting podcasts FROM THE CENTER again, and the answer is YES! After a two year hiatus, we are back to discussing the culture from the perspective of the Transcendent. Our first episode will be available Friday, October 13th (our lucky day), and one a week each week following! We hope you will look for us on our website,, or find us on Apple, Stitcher, and all the podcast apps. Remember, Friday the 13th!

Podcast —

The Center for Western Studies 08/17/2023

The Center for Western Studies Our Board and Faculty of the CWS are proud to announce that our popular gap-year program is now going to be offered in two online versions starting this Fall!

The Center for Western Studies 07/18/2023

Want to dive into art and music examples of the last 2500 years that convey the ideas that most influence our present day? Sign up for our adult online course for this fall! Tuesday nights for ten weeks in the fall, and ten weeks in the spring, with an optional trip to Paris and London in May of 2024! For information and sign-up, head to!

The Center for Western Studies Our Board and Faculty of the CWS are proud to announce that our popular gap-year program is now going to be offered in two online versions starting this Fall!


Remember the movie ´Midnight In Paris?’



Due to increasing requests. the CWS is offering AN online PROGRAM!

Our Board and Faculty of the CWS are proud to announce that our popular gap-year program is now going to be offered in two online versions starting this Fall!

Version 1: For students who would like a gap-year experience
Starting September 7, 2023, ending April 25, 2024 (with 3-week break for Christmas)
2 online lectures per week (one on literature, one on art and music)
Monthly group online discussion meeting
1 one-on-one online tutorial each week per student, arranged.
Optional trip to Europe in May of 2024 (see details below)

TUITION: $6650.00 for the year (this is a reduction of 30% off the in-person tuition).
In this version, we offer as much of our normal gap-year experience as possible given the limitations of virtual meetings. Our faculty will offer a syllabus to include studies in the literature, music, art, and architecture from five periods of Western history: Classical Greece, Medieval, Renaissance/Reformation, Enlightenment, and 20th century. Students will have reading assignments to prepare them for the weekly lectures, and once a week they will meet one-on-one with a faculty member to discuss the lectures and prepare papers. An optional trip to Europe will be an additional cost (see below).

Versjon 2: ADULT ONLINE VERSION For students of all ages
1 lecture per week Tuesday evenings, 6:00-7:00pm CST, followed by an optional 30 minutes discussion
10 weeks in each of two semesters: Fall: Begin 9/12, end 11/14. Spring: Begin 2/13, end 4/23/24
Lectures from our CWS faculty on a series of readings from great books/art/music/architecture of the West in preparation for an optional trip to London and Paris in May of 2024.

TUITION: $1500 per semester, $3000 total.
In our adult version, we will investigate various artworks, books, music, and architecture, like paintings in the Louvre or the National Gallery, Greek sculpture from the Parthenon found in the British Museum, books by CS Lewis, Monet’s paintings from his gardens at Giverny, et c., and then those who choose to go on the trip abroad will experience them in person!

May 4-22, 2024
For those in either group who would like to travel to experience in person the works we discuss during the year, the CWS will offer a trip to England and France in May of 2024 that would include visits to great museums, churches, theaters, and colleges in London, Oxford, Paris, Giverny, and Chartres. Each student would make his/her own flight, lodging, and meal arrangements, and Director Hodges would set the group’s itinerary and lead the group at each site. If we have large numbers, we will break the group into gap students and adult students and offer two different tours. Cost per person, $2000.00.

Through the years, there have been loads of interested folks of all ages who have asked for a version of our gap-year that could be done remotely. Now we are going to offer it for the first time, and hope that you can join us! Just fill out the following information below and copy and paste it into an email sent to us at [email protected]. We ask for a deposit of $500.00 (which goes toward the tuition) which can be paid through Venmo (-hodges) or by check made out to Center for Western Studies, and mailed to 3896 St. Philip Drive, Bartlett, TN, 38133. Then we will send you a syllabus so you can know what you have to look forward to!

Yes, I would like to sign up for one of the CWS online offerings!

____ Gap-year online (version 1)

____ Adult online (version 2)





I will send the deposit of $500.00 to hold my place. Please send me the syllabus and an invoice for tuition.

SIGNED: (typed signature is fine)

email to CWS at [email protected]

We look forward to our year together!

Photos from The Center For Western Studies's post 03/21/2023

Here are the girls and other assorted animals on our trip to the Memphis Zoo!

Timeline photos 01/14/2023

We’re pleased to feature a 3-part review series on Joseph T. Stuart’s latest book, “Christopher Dawson: A Cultural Mind in the Age of the Great War.” As Dermot Quinn notes in his review, Stuart’s book is part of a “Dawson revival” that appears to be gaining steam. Quinn touches on what made Dawson a particularly noteworthy scholar, including a special “combination of daring and restraint,” and the “vastness of his erudition” that is “unlikely to be emulated in an age of academic specialization:”

‎The Andrew Klavan Show: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World: A Theological Conversation With Tom Holland on Apple Podcasts 05/11/2022

Just listened to a great interview of Tim Holland, and recommend it. If you haven’t read his book DOMINION, it’s well worth it.

‎The Andrew Klavan Show: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World: A Theological Conversation With Tom Holland on Apple Podcasts ‎Show The Andrew Klavan Show, Ep How the Christian Revolution Remade the World: A Theological Conversation With Tom Holland - May 10, 2022


The CWS is looking for dedicated students for our gap year next fall. We have a few, but theee are still openings for self-starter scholars who want to go deeper into the great works of the West, at a day when the West is trying to decide which dystopian future it wants: Brave New World, or 1984!

Have a look at our website:


It is the death of a civilization when it cuts itself off from its own history, art, music, architecture, and literature. It is through these elements that the wisdom of the past is made available to the present. But our young people were taught at first that the past is of no value because Progressivism assumes the future will always be better than the past. But then it went further — they were taught that the past is not just inferior but evil, so not only should we disregard our ancestors as foolish, we should despise them as the source of the ills of the world. If only they could have been enlightened like us! Now anyone teaching that there might be some wisdom to be found in the past is at first ridiculed, but now condemned. The devil gets his way: destroy us by cutting us off from the wisdom of our past. A wisdom that transcends national boundaries, ethnic divisions, and economic classes. Without it, we can redefine terms any way we like, and believe we are progressing. We are far more easily led to the slaughter and the abyss without the resistance that comes from a knowledge of the past.

Photos from The Center For Western Studies's post 07/13/2021

Here are a few pictures from last year's crew:


We miss this group already!


We mean all sort of things, I know, by Beauty. But the essential advantage for a poet is not to have a beautiful world with which to deal: it is to be able to see beneath both beauty and ugliness; to see the boredom, and the horror, and the glory.—T.S. Eliot

Donate — 04/14/2021

Dear folks,
For the last few months, we have been offering an online seminar for adults to dig into art, music, fiction, and non-fiction through our Center for Western Studies, and it has been so popular that we are offering a second series of seven sessions beginning April 27, and occurring every other Tuesday night into the month of July. The description is below, and if you would like to join us just let us know and we will sign you up! Here is the schedule for the next 7 sessions:

April 27 - Haydn’s oratorio THE CREATION

May 11 - Andy Crouch, CULTURE MAKING (part 1)

May 25 - Impressionism: Monet and Renoir

June 8 -Andy Crouch, CULTURE MAKING (part 2)

June 22 - TS Eliot, WASTELAND

July 6 - Andy Crouch, CULTURE MAKING (part 3)

July 22 - Bach Mass in b

The series is $140 for all seven sessions, payable by check to the Center for Western Studies and mailed to 3896 St. Philip Drive Bartlett, TN 38133. If you are too hip for snail mail (you probably don’t even OWN a quill pen, do you?!). You can send your tuition through Pay Pal, just go to and scroll down to the PayPal button. You will need to make the amount $155 to pay for PayPal’s convenience.

Each session is recorded, and a link to each will be provided post facto so if you have to miss one, you can catch up!

Just drop us a return email here telling us that you would like to sign up, and we will put you on the list to receive the Zoom links that give you access to the live sessions. You can send the payment at your convenience after that.

We hope you will be free to join us! Respond here, or email us at [email protected].

Donate — When you make a 100% tax-deductible donation to the Center of $100 or more, we will send you a copy of our latest audio recording:

Podcast — 03/31/2021

Our podcast glitch is resolved, and (thanks to my brilliant assistant Maria) you can find our podcast episodes on iTunes, Spotify, and many other podcast apps, AND you can find us on our website, Come listen, and subscribe so that you can know when each new episode arrives! They come out Friday mornings!

The latest one is a discussion on Christians in the Arts with the lovely and talented Philip Himebook -- "Tenors Are People Too"

Podcast —


We’re having our third lecture in our Online Humanities Seminar tomorrow evening! We’ll be talking about Flannery O’Conner and her short stories.
If you haven’t signed up you still can! When you do you’ll have access to any previous lectures.

Podcast — 02/20/2021

Our Podcast "From the Center" is recording with philosophy professor Doug Groothuis this morning. Below is an article he wrote comparing the American founding with the cultural Marxism of Critical Theory. Our podcast discussion will focus on how and why Critical Theory is so attractive to the Evangelical Church in the US. Look for it to be posted in 3 weeks or so, on Friday mornings when our podcast episodes "drop." (see? We are not too old to be "hop"!) . You can find our podcasts on our website,, or look for them on iTunes and other podcast sites under the name "From the Center".

Podcast —

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