Senior Mary Clare Young has been selected to present a paper at the annual meeting of the Society for Classical Studies — her second consecutive selection for the prestigious conference.
Young will present a paper entitled “Μύθος, Μουσική, and Philosophy in Phaedo and Phaedrus” at the conference in early January. Originally written as part of her Advanced Studies work at Christendom, Young’s paper investigates the significance of the myths of birdsongs and cicadas in Plato’s Phaedo and Phaedrus dialogues, ultimately proposing that Plato uses these myths to provide mental breaks from difficult abstraction and to stimulate philosophical inquiry through Socrates’ paradoxical interpretations of these myths. In the end, Young argues that Plato and Socrates see story and song as essential complements of philosophical discourse to help all men to find the truth.
“When I arrived at Christendom as a freshman, I had no idea that studying with the Christendom Classics department would so fundamentally transform me as a student, a Catholic, and an heir of Western Civilization,” says Young. “Studying Classics here opens one’s eyes to the rich and beautiful connection between classical languages and literature and Christianity, and it gives one a means of engaging with primary texts in any discipline on a profound level. Classics students at Christendom learn to see more than just words on paper; they see a whole world behind it.”
This is the third consecutive year that a Christendom student has been selected to present at the conference, following Phoebe Wing (’20) being chosen for the conference in January of 2020.
This year, Young was also elected president of the college’s local chapter of Eta Sigma Phi — the national classics honorary society. Christendom’s chapter exists to bolster the robust classics curriculum at the college, providing students with further opportunities to study the ancient classics, enhance the appreciation of Greek and Roman culture, and form friendships with other classical students.
Young joined Eta Sigma Phi in her freshman year and is now working hard to raise awareness on campus, giving other students the opportunity to bolster their academic achievements. As she looks ahead to the end of her senior year, Young is already beginning to prepare to continue her classics studies in graduate school — something she feels her time at Christendom exceptionally prepared her for.
“As I prepare to apply for graduate studies in classics next year, I am grateful for my formation in classics at Christendom — nowhere else would I have received such a solid, thorough training in foundation in philology, textual criticism, and honest engagement with the classical culture,” says Young.