"Material well-being is not the chief or highest end of man: moral and spiritual development is more important."— Michael Jordan
B.A., Major in English, Minor in Bible, Bryan College, Dayton, Tennessee, 1977
M.A., Literature and Moral Philosophy, International College, Los Angeles, California, 1982. Thesis: “Original Sin in the Short Stories and Essays of Nathaniel Hawthorne.”
Ph.D., English, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, 1989. Dissertation: “Donald Davidson’s Agrarian ‘Creed of Memory.'”
Richard M. Weaver Fellowship (1985)
Junior (1980) and Senior (1981) Fellowships from the Marguerite Eyer Wilbur Foundation
Marguerite Eyer Wilbur Foundation grant to fund two American Studies trips (Fall 2002, Spring 2003) to the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal, in Mecosta, Michigan.
Earhart Foundation grant for collecting and editing Marion Montgomery’s Southern essays—a work published by McFarland Press in 2005.
On Matters Southern: Essays About Literature and Culture, 1964-2000, Marion Montgomery, Ed. Michael M. Jordan, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland, 2005.
“Nathaniel Hawthorne Reconsidered,” The Southern Partisan 3, no. 3 (Summer 1983): 26-29.
“Why Flannery O’Connor Never Liked Yankees, No Matter Where They Came From,” The Southern Partisan 5, no. 2 (Spring 1985): 58-61.
“Yankee, Dannata Utopia,” Avvenire 2, no. 74 (Sabato 10, Ottobre 1992). Translated by Marco Respinti. Originally published in The Southern Partisan 5, no. 2 (Spring 1985): 58-61.
“Davidson’s Answer to Eliot,” The South Carolina Review 26, no. 1 (Fall 1993): 50-70.
“Donald Davidson: The Poet as Citizen,” Modern Age 36, no. 1 (Fall 1993): 63-73.
“The Bible: Incarnational Literature, Incarnational Theology,” The Citadel 1, no. 3 (September 1994): 5-6.
“Donald Davidson and the Defense of Tradition,” The South Carolina Review 31, no. 1 (Fall 1998): 162-177.
“Studying With Russell Kirk,” Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture 23, no. 4 (April 1999): 35-38.
“Generations of the Fall: Original Sin in the Writings of Robert Penn Warren,” Touchstone 13, no. 7 (September 2000): 28-32.
“Russell Kirk: Founding Father of Modern Conservatism,” The Hillsdale Conservative 1, no. 1 (February 2004): 5.
“Flannery O’Connor’s Writings: A Guide for the Perplexed,” Modern Age 47, no. 1 (Winter 2005): 48-57.
“The Christian Vision in T. S. Eliot’s Social Criticism,” Saint Austin Review 5, no. 3 (May/June 2005): 4-7.
“The Role of Great Books in Undergraduate Education,” Illumine 4, no. 3 (January/February 2009):1-4.
“Great Books and Undergraduate Education,” A longer version of the Illumine essay appearing in the on-line journal The Christendom Review.
“Carrying the Fire: Lessons for Life in Three Post-Apocalyptic Novels,” Saint Austin Review 4, no. 6 (November/December 2010): 4-6.
“Great Books, Higher Education, and the Logos,” An even longer version of the Illumine and Christendom Review essays appearing in Modern Age 53 no. 1-2 (Winter/Spring 2011): 41-52.
“Rhetoric and Ranting,” The Intercollegiate Review 47, no. 1 (Spring 2012): 33-41.
“On the Porch With Marion,” The Christendom Review.
“Marion Montgomery (1925-2011),” Modern Age 54, no. 1-4 (Winter/Fall 2012): 212-215.
“Shakespeare’s Othello and Man’s Fallen Nature,” Ignatius Critical Edition of Othello, The Moor of Venice. Ed. Joseph Pearce. San Francisco: Ignatius, 2015. 227-242.
“An Interview with Andrew Lytle,” with Warren Smith, The Chattahoochee Review 8, no. 4 (Summer 1988): 78-83.
“A Closer Look: An Interview with Marion Montgomery,” Cheers: The Flannery O’Connor Society Newsletter 17, no. 4 (Spring 2010): 1-2, 5.
“Marion Montgomery,” The New Georgia Encyclopedia, (August 2002).
“Bradford, M.E. (1934-93),” American Conservative: An Encyclopedia, Ed. Bruce Frohnen, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey Nelson. Wilmington, Delaware: ISI Books, 2006.
“Davidson, Donald G. (1893-1968),” American Conservative: An Encyclopedia, Ed. Bruce Frohnen, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey Nelson. Wilmington, Delaware: ISI Books, 2006.
“Montgomery, Marion H. (1925-),” American Conservative: An Encyclopedia, Ed. Bruce Frohnen, Jeremy Beer, and Jeffrey Nelson. Wilmington, Delaware: ISI Books, 2006.
“Marion Montgomery,” The New Georgia Encyclopedia Companion to Georgia Literature, Ed. Hugh Ruppersburg. The University of Georgia Press, 2007.
Insofar as modern colleges and universities have narrowed their focus to vocational, technical, and professional training, they have yielded to the devil’s temptation. He challenged Jesus to turn stones into bread. Jesus replied to the devil, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). His response indicates that man’s education should not concern merely his material well-being. Material well-being is not the chief or highest end of man: moral and spiritual development is more important.
In the opening of the first chapter of the Book of Proverbs, Solomon urges the young to acquire intellectual skills so that they can “understand a proverb and a figure, the words of the wise and their riddles.” With critical reading and thinking skills, they will be able to “know wisdom and instruction, understand words of insight, and receive instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity” (Proverbs 1:2, 6). Solomon correctly identifies the means and the aims of higher education: It is an intellectual means to an ethical and spiritual end.
By grappling with the grammar, logic, diction, and rhetoric of texts, students develop intellectual skills that enable them to reach the aims of higher learning. These foundational means (acquiring critical intellectual skills) and ends (discerning spiritual, ethical, and epistemological realities) are readily addressed in reading and studying Great Books, the very thing we do here.
When asked why I teach at Hillsdale College, I like to borrow a cheek response from Walker Percy’s self-interview, “Questions They Never Asked Me”: “Where else is there?”
I grew to love literature because Mr. Jerry Sawyer, one of my literature professors at Bryan College, built a fire under me with his classroom teaching. He took literature and his students’ responses to literature seriously. Impressed by his teaching and his personality, I became a serious reader and teacher of literature myself.
Since 1991 when I began teaching at the College, I have found it to be a great place to teach and work. Its Christian mission, its traditional liberal arts curriculum, its excellent faculty and intelligent and hardworking students—these things make Hillsdale College the challenging, exciting, and rewarding place it is.