Virgil’s Aeneid in the Modern World: From Martin Luther to Mark Zuckerberg

E. Christian Kopff explores Virgil's Aeneid in the modern world.

Virgil’s Aeneid has been a central part of the classical Christian curriculum since the ancient world. It is not just a legacy of the past, but an important and shaping part of the traditional liberal arts curriculum in the modern world, as shown by a series of case studies. In the Bondage of the Will, Martin Luther used quotations from Virgil, the Bible, and Augustine, to show that both classical and Christian authors recognized God’s sovereignty. The Continental Congress chose mottoes for the new nation’s Great Seal taken from Latin literature and Virgil’s Aeneid. In the twentieth century figures as different as C.S. Lewis, football coach Joe Paterno, and Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that their careers were shaped by reading the Aeneid. This is no time to stop reading Virgil.

Christian Kopff

E. Christian Kopff was educated at St. Paul’s School (Garden City NY), Haverford College and UNC, Chapel Hill (Ph. D., Classics). He has taught at the University of Colorado, Boulder, since 1973, and most currently as Associate Director of the Honors Program. He has edited a critical edition of the Greek text of Euripides’ Bacchae (Teubner, 1982) and published over 100 articles and reviews on scholarly, pedagogical and popular topics. A Fellow of the American Academy in Rome, he has received research grants from the NEH and CU’s Committee on Research. The Devil Knows Latin: Why America Needs the Classical Tradition (ISIBooks, 1999) is widely cited by Classical Christian educators. He translated Josef Pieper, Tradition: Concept and Claim (ISIBooks, 2008; St. Augustine’s, 2010) and contributed the Introduction to Herbert Jordan’s translation of Homer’s Iliad (Oklahoma UP, 2008).

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