Tradition in the 21st Century

     In February of 2020, the Temenos Young Scholars met in London for another day full of academic presentations from eclectic disciplines and fields of scholarship.

The keynote lectures were:

Dr. Joseph Milne; Citizenship and the Cosmic Sense

Eddie Barnett; Folk Memory and The Diggers

The Young Scholar Presentations of The Day (and recordings):


Aristel Škrbic; Tradition: Between Preservation and Change

Kamil Sawicki; Difficulty in Reading a Keats Sonnet in the 21st Century

       Hina Khalid; Intercultural Boundaries in the Classical Punjabi Love Story Hir-Ranjha       

Andrew Brookman; Know Thyself: Tradition and Self-Knowledge in Emmanuel Carrere’s The Kingdom

          Adele Guyton; Re-reading the Mabinogion in The Assembly of the Severed Head          

Tom Dupre; Rotting Fruit: T.S Eliot and the 1890s

(As with all posts on this page, talks are listed in order of the day’s timetable)

Known to many of the Young Scholars, Dr Joseph Milne is a Fellow of the Temenos Academy. He initiated The Temenos Young Scholars ten years ago. Since the founding of the Academy he has been giving seminars on Shakespeare throughout each term. He also teaches the Christian Mysticism module on the Temenos Foundation Course in the Perennial Philosophy.

Aside from his Temenos engagements, he is editor of Land&Liberty, the magazine of the Henry George Foundation.

Until his retirement in 2013 he was lecturer in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Kent, specialising in mysticism and the art of reading primary texts.

Over the last twelve years Dr. Milne has been studying Natural Law as conceived in Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics and Medieval Christianity. He has just been commissioned by a publisher to write a book on Natural Law.

Dr. Milne’s talk, entitled Citizenship and the Cosmic Sense, is available here as a recording:

Eddie Barnett worked for seven years as an A-Level Philosophy teacher before leaving teaching to spend more time on education. He now runs a tuition agency and is currently researching the nature of memory in connection with land use.

His talk is available here as a recording, Folk Memory and The Diggers. Images below go with the talk:


As well as his talk, Eddie’s blog page addresses these matters of land use, linked here. He can be contacted through his blog page (twitter account therein), or his email can be provided upon request from the administrator of this website.


Creation and Creativity

October 2019

Our seventh Young Scholar’s Day took place at the Robinson College chapel in Cambridge, under its famous stained glass window by John Piper, below.

(click for source)

The Keynote Talks:

Valentin Gerlier; Blake, Vision and the Digital Age

Dr Simone Kotva; Magic and Ecology

Dr Ankur Barua; Friendship with and in God: Hindu Visions of the Intimate Stranger

The Young Scholar Papers:

Tristan Leicester; Key Ideas and Techniques in Traditional Stained Glass, and exhibition of his own work

Andrew Brookman; ‘Milking it’ with Dante and Milton 

Esme Partridge; Creativity and Imagination in the Islamic Mystical Tradition

“Knowledge is not by deduction, but Immediate by Perception or Sense at once. Christ addresses himself to the Man, not to his Reason.”

– William Blake (Marginal Note to Berkely)

     In the ideal setting of this chapel, with its beautiful stained glass windows, Tristan presented his own work in this medium to the Temenos Young Scholars.  He gave an introductory talk highlighting the key ideas and techniques behind the works on display.  The need to recover our relationship with physical light as numinous – as being within itself the glimpse of a spiritual kernel – was an idea inspired by a talk given at the Temenos Academy in November 2017, by Dr Jeremy Naydler. It was entitled The Metaphysics of Light in the Age of Electricity.  Tristan suggested that the stained glass of Chartres cathedral and the sepia ink drawings of Samuel Palmer could be contemplated as aids to this recovery.  In so doing he brought to light an understanding of art which challenges contemporary relativist views, and reflected briefly on his efforts to integrate this understanding with his own practice.

     Known to many of the Young Scholars, Valentin Gerlier is tutor and lecturer at the Temenos Academy and a PhD Candidate at the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge (at the time of this Y.S. Day). His interests include Shakespeare, Blake, poetics and metaphysics. His talk consisted of reflections on acts of creation as articulated by William Blake, and commented on the ‘too much-ness of things’ as an imaginative characteristic of the digital age.

(click for source)

     Dr Simone Kotva is Research Fellow in theology at Emmanuel College and affiliated lecturer at the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge. Her research interests include philosophy of religion and environmental ethics.

     Dr Ankur Barua researches motifs in Hindu theology, Christian doctrine, and comparative philosophy of religion at the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge. An ‘integral part of his academic research is the comparative study of religions: in particular, the question of whether Christian terms such as ‘grace’, ‘creation’ and ‘God’ have any Hindu analogues, and Hindu terms such as dharmakarma  and samsara have any Christian equivalents’.


‘Deep roots are not reached by the frost’: The Inklings and the Western Tradition

February 2019

The Temenos Young Scholars met at The Kilns in Oxfordshire for another day of exploration, meeting students and academics of the Humanities, and attending seminar presentations.

Temenos’ own Grevel Lindop, who is a poet, writer and former Professor of Romantic and Early Victorian Studies at Manchester university gave a seminar entitled ‘Charles Williams, The Third Inkling’

In the early afternoon, the mid-twentieth-century charms of the C.S Lewis House were explored during the tour of a building which had cradled many literary endeavors and friendships. This was followed by a walk of the nearby common. Having been the home to a small Christian community of scholars and writers, the place and its current inhabitants seemed to glow with a kinship and warmth, intimating one of the principles of The Temenos Academy, of understanding tradition as continual renewal. 

Later in the day, a speech was given on Memories of Hugo Dyson and Owen Barfield, written by Julia Cleave and Owen A. Barfield. Ms. Cleave is a Fellow of the Temenos Academy who studied with Hugo Dyson at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford. Mr. Barfield is the grandson of the Inkling of the same name and his literary executor.

Jakub Betinsky (Durham University) gave a Young Scholars’ Talk inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien, presenting on:

Right Imagination in ‘On Fairy Stories’

To echo Francis Warner’s statement from A Blessing on C.S Lewis’s Home in Oxford, The Kilns:

‘So, may the warm hospitality and environment of The Kilns bring the blessing of such union and fellowship … It is a living inspiration’

The full article is attached below.

FRANCIS WARNER Blessing on the Kilns

The Gift of Language

October 2018

Our fifth YSD was held at the Essex Unitarian Church in London. Temenos’ own Hilary Davies spoke on poetry and translation, and Jenny Rallens presented on language and memory.

The afternoon seminar sessions involved the attentive reading of poetry: Shakespeare’s sonnets with Dr Joseph Milne; poems by Dylan Thomas, W.S Graham, and Thomas Traherne with Hilary Davies.

Additionally, Young Scholars from various disciplines presented creative and academic work related to the day’s theme:

Making the Res Publica One Word at a Time – Aristel Škrbić

“What is reading someone’s work, after all, but gradually acquiring the writer’s memory?” Writing and the Acquisition of Memory – Andrew Brookman

Horace’s Ode III.30 ‘exegi monumentum’ and Latin Metre – Maria Overy

How Music Was Made Vacuity: Exploring Rhyme in T.S. Eliot’s Prufrock and Other Observations – Adele Guyton

Nature’s Vocabulary of Symbols in Coleridge’s ‘Frost at Midnight’ – Kamil Sawicki

Religious Thought in Today’s World

     In May 2018, the Temenos Academy joined the Saint Damien Community in Leuven, Belgium, for a weekend on Religious Thought in Today’s World. The conference brought together interdisciplinary approaches from theology and philosophy to reflect on the place of religious thought in an increasingly secular world. From mysticism to ethics, sacred poetry to metaphysics, the overarching aim of the conference was to present a vision that affirms the unique contribution of sacred thought to the world.

     The Keynote lectures were:


 Prof. William Desmond; Superiority beyond Interiority: Augustinian Thoughts on Default Atheism and the Intimate Universal

Prof. John Alonso Dick; Made in America Christian Fundamentalism

Dr. Joseph Milne; Society and the Desire for the Good

Valentin Gerlier; Language, Wonder and Adoration

     Moderated panel sessions, given by students of the Saint Damien Community and the Temenos Academy took place during each afternoon:


Panel discussions

Metaphysics of Tradition – Jonathan Culbreath

Normalising Maori Spirituality in New Zealand – Jack Goldingham Newson

Re-Grounding the Modern Soul in Poetry – Adele Guyton

Fear and Wonder: Narrative and Religious Mediations – James Gayaldo

Film Seeking Undersanding: Can Film Elicit Religious Experience – Sebastian Temlett

‘What is it that I love when I love my God?’ (conf. 10.6): Love of God, Love of Self, and the Saeculum in Augustine and Bernard – Pablo Irizar

Mother of Love: Deification as Motherhood in the Writing of Hadewijch – Lydia Shahan

The Bérullian Jesuit: Henri de Lubac – Rick Perry

What is Prophecy? – Alex Ferrant

Can Husserl find Truth in Today’s World? – Eli Hage

Lonergan’s Fidelity to Aquinas’ Metaphysics: A Comparison of Lonergans’s Notion of ‘Body’ and Aquinas’ Notion of ‘Essence.’ – Kyle Norris


Friendship in Cultivating a Healthy Society: Maria Overy

Maria presents a series of reflections on Friendship and Charity as they are brought to us by the European Classical Christian Tradition. Platonic and Aristotelian views which show how Friendship is the seat of personal and public life are explored. This topic, which seems so apparent and natural to us, is shown to have many rich, even elusive, qualities!

Young Scholar’s Day 2017

Folly and Relations with Truth in Making a Good Society: Kamil Sawicki

Kamil shows how professional and emanating Folly act in generative ways throughout Shakespeare’s King Lear, and makes recourse to Renaissance scholarship. The talk is available as a recording and in essay form:




Folly in Making a Good Society

Young Scholar’s Day 2017

Sovereignty between Politics and Law: Aristel Škrbić

Aristel explores contemporary meanings of Sovereignty in Political and Academic spheres in light of the UK’s membership of the EU. The re-emerging of the word ‘sovereign’ into debates, especially in the UK but also around the world, is considered and related to the bigger picture of Community and the Political Whole.

Young Scholar’s Day 2017

Young Scholar’s Day 3: Making A Good Society

On the Summer of 2017 we came together as a group of young philosophers, artists, musicians and poets for a day of learning and discussion. The day was themed Making A Good Society and was explored from angles of Ancient Philosophy, poets and playwrights,  contemporary debates of Political Philosophy and Traditional Art.

Talks were given by Valentin Gerlier and Dr Joseph Milne who teach regularly at the Temenos Academy and are both members of its Academic Board. Recordings of their talks are posted here.

Valentin Gerlier: the Good Society and the Poets

Dr Joseph Milne: The Cosmos, Earth and City


The Day was organized by Young Scholars Sebastian Arnold, a student at Kings College London; Aristel Skrbic, a student at KU Leuven; and Kamil Sawicki. It was held at St James Senior Boy’s School in Ashford, Surrey, a school which offers a distinctive philosophical education and a venue generously made available.