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InsiderOnline Blog: October 2012

J. Rufus Fears, R.I.P.

The country lost a great teacher on liberty and history last weekend. J. Rufus Fears, three-time professor of the year at the University of Oklahoma, died of a stroke on Saturday. Fears was also a fellow at the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, a free market think tank. The Oklahoma Daily, a student newspaper at the University of Oklahoma, reports some of the student response:

He would carry around a broomstick, and it would become a spear, pointer or javelin, whatever he needed. […] He would use the broomstick and act out different parts of the battles. He would roam the lecture hall of 200 plus students ... you were rife with attention. […] He had a special charisma and was a unique performer […] . He had a profound understanding of history ... the combination of these traits made him absolutely unique. [The Oklahoma Daily, October 7]

John Hood, president of the John Locke Foundation, recommends Fears as a source of continuing learning for everybody:  

Dr. Fears was a distinguished scholar of the classics and edited the three-volume collection of the writings of Lord Acton, whom Fears greatly admired as a tireless defender of liberty and prescient critic of statism in Europe.

Rufus Fears is perhaps best known outside of Oklahoma, however, for his fantastic series of lectures published by the Teaching Company. These works represent nearly 150 hours of entertaining and insightful presentations on subjects ranging from mythology, classical literature, and the Great Books to the political, religious, and intellectual history of Europe, the Americas, and beyond. As it happens, I was just listening to his fascinating 36-lecture series on the history of freedom when I learned of Professor Fears’s untimely death. [National Review Online, October 8]

For a shorter sample of Fears’s teaching, give his December 2005 Heritage Foundation lecture a read: “The Lessons of the Roman Empire for America Today.”

Posted on 10/12/12 01:11 PM by Alex Adrianson

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