The Elshtain Fellowship is an eight-month long educational program for serious professionals in governmental, academic, military, intelligence, ecclesiastical, and related vocations who want both a deeper understanding of Christian Realism and greater insight as to how this great tradition of Hebraic intelligence informs public life in its widest aperture.
Elshtain Fellows will meet for evening salons the third Wednesday of every month from October through May at the Providence offices in Washington, D.C., housed at the Institute on Religion and Democracy. Conversations will be frank though convivial, supported by dinner and postprandial drinks, and will center around monthly readings in political and moral theology. Topics will include the ethics of war, the nature of the good society, the family and public life, love, the politics of responsibility—and its limits, and much else. While many of our readings will be drawn from the work of the late political theorist Jean Bethke Elshtain (1941-2013), we will also pay attention to those to whom she paid attention: Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Albert Camus, Reinhold Niebuhr, Vaclav Havel, and others. Our “texts” will include books and selected essays, case studies, film, experiential activities, and whatever other combustibles might fuel the mind and conversation.
After an initial orientation providing a broad introduction to Jean Elshtain and her commitment to Christian realism, our monthly salons will focus on exploring the fundamental principles of Christian realism—while staying mindful of differences in its expression, contrasting these principles with Christian realism’s more idealistic and cynical alternatives, and applying Christian realist principles to contemporary challenges to see how they stand up.
For each session, fellows will receive the necessary readings (roughly 25-50 pages) well in advance, along with suggested questions for discussion. Discussions will be led by Providence’s McDonald Scholar of War, Ethics, and Public Life Marc LiVecche and invited guests. Salons will begin with hospitality and food at 6PM, with formal discussion from 6:30-8:30PM. They occur October 18th, November 15th, December 20th, January 17th, February 21st, March 20th, April 17th, and May 15th. We are planning one weekend retreat in the middle of the fellowship, likely the evening of January the 19th through the morning of Sunday the 21st (and therefore in lieu of the Jan. 17th evening meeting). Attendance, preparation, and active participation in each of the sessions is expected. Other ad hoc gatherings, bull sessions, cocktail hours, andober field trips might be proposed, for which your participation will be welcomed.
To apply for the fellowship, candidates can submit the following materials to [email protected]:
Resume (as an attached Word Document or PDF).
Writing Sample (as an attached Word Document or PDF). In their writing sample, candidates should answer the following prompt in less than 500 words: “Why is Christian Realism missing in today’s parlance and why is it needed?”
Applications will be open on a rolling basis until the first meeting of the fellowship on October 18th.