First Things Intellectual Retreat in New York City | Event Calendar

First Things is pleased to announce its thirteenth Intellectual Retreat, to be hosted on August 19-20 at the Penn Club of New York. Led by instructors from Magdalen College of the Liberal Arts, participants will discuss various topics related to “Death and Mourning.” The full schedule and syllabus for this retreat can be found below.

About: First Things Intellectual Retreats offer a weekend of study, reflection, and fellowship. We begin in fellowship with a Friday night cocktail reception, followed by dinner and an opening lecture given by a First Things editor or contributor. Having made initial introductions, First Things Divides participants into small discussion groups for four Saturday seminars facilitated by expert tutors from a rotating cohort of Great Books colleges. The retreat concludes with dinner and a panel discussion, sending participants back out into the world eager to devote more time to these three prerogatives: study, fellowship, and reflection.

Tuition: $600 per participant

Tuition covers reading materials, the retreat venue, instructor travel and stipends, and two receptions and dinners. Please note that tuition does not cover travel, lodging, or breakfast and lunch on Saturday. Companion tickets are available for $100 for participant companions who would like to attend the receptions and dinners but not the Saturday seminars.

A limited number of scholarships are available for clergy, graduate students, and classical educators. For more information, email Carter Skeel at

Dress Code: Business casual attire is required by the Penn Club. A jacket and tie for men and a comparable level of formality for women are preferred for Friday and Saturday evenings.

Retreat Cancellation Policy: For a full tuition refund, please cancel at least three weeks before the event date. We reserve the right to substitute speakers, change venues, cancel seminars, or cancel part of or the entire event, due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, our liability is limited to a prompt refund of the registration fee, on a pro-rata basis, for the affected days.


Session I: Grief, Morning, and Memory

  • Homer, The Eliad Book XXIV

Session II: Making Sense of Death

  • Josef Pieper, Death and ImmortalityChapter 3
  • Seneca, Selected LettersLetter 82
  • The Martyrdom of Polycarppages 90-101

Session III: Fear and Courage in the Face of Death

  • Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Session IV: Fear and Courage in the Face of Death

  • CS LewisThe Weight of Glory
  • Joseph Soloveitchik, A Tribute to the Rebbitzen of Talne

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