About Dan

Daniel Christian earned his B. A. degree from St. Ambrose College in Davenport (IA) 1976, majoring in Theology/History and his M. A. in Theology from St. Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore (MD) 1983.

He has been a high school teacher for forty-three years, currently in his thirty-ninth year at Gilman School in Baltimore (MD). Besides courses in Judeo-Christian scriptures, he has taught courses on Dante, Charles Dickens and C. S. Lewis.

Contact:

danteiseverywhere@gmail.com or danteharry825@gmail.com


Publications:

Educating the Eye (I): Essays from High School Students Inspired by Dante. Edited by Daniel Christian. [Self-Published, Baltimore (MD)], 2019. Forthcoming.

“Dante’s Inferno: Big Ego, Small Self.” Lingua Romana. Volume 13, Issue 1. Brigham Young University, Fall 2017, pp. 123-137.

“Dante’s Purgatorio: Awakening to Self-Becoming.” Lingua Romana. Volume 13, Issue 1. Brigham Young University, Fall 2017, pp. 138-149.

“Dante’s Paradiso: The Vitality of Healing Love.” Lingua Romana. Volume 13,
Issue 1. Brigham Young University, Fall 2017, pp. 150-164.

“Celestial Cross-Pollination” at Work: High School Students Respond to Dante. SMART (Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching). Volume 6. Issue 1. University of Montana-Missoula, Spring 1998, pp. 17-31.

All My Life’s A Circle: A Harry Chapin & Dante Alighieri Anthology. Edited by Daniel Christian. [Self-Published, Baltimore (MD)], 2006.


Awards

Awarded by Gilman School in Baltimore, MD:

  • The Riepe Family Sabbatical (2004-2005)
  • The May Holmes Service Award (2018), presented by the Gilman Alumni Association

Awarded by the Dante Society of America:

  • The Robert M. Durling Prize (2017) which recognizes excellence in the teaching of Dante’s life, time and works by educators working in North American secondary schools.

Addendum: On the journey towards appreciating school at its core… 

The above information certainly constitutes the FACTS about my time in school.  What needs to be added as well, for clarity’s sake, are some brief comments about my experience of TRUTH (Gandhi would say “experiments”) about what I’ve learned from years in the high school classroom with Dante. 

I understood early on (and came to appreciate more and more as time moved forward) that in class, Dante’s story is the REAL teacher for all of us (“nostra vita” Inferno I, 1) on this journey to wholeness, i.e Paradise.  The only extra duty I have taken on is the grading of papers on Dante’s behalf, sort of the pilgrim/poet’s TA!!).  Certainly reading the essays was time consuming, and I didn’t always “feel” like attending to them, yet on a consistent basis, the students put their lives on the line through grappling with finding “serious[ly] joyful” (John Ciardi) ways to open up and “let Dante READ them.” 

Thus, while it has been particularly gratifying being published in some very cool publications, those pieces are a direct result of my time WITH my Dante students who were devoted to “being with” (Lynne Sharon Schwartz) Dante’s story.  Formal class discussions plus regular “incidental contact” moments were consistently thought-provoking, and when I walked away, I realized (“real-eyes” from Brad Levin, Eng 9) that I had very little control over what had just occurred. 

Those special “school moments” had zero to do with being an expression of my “unique and personally crafted teaching strategy” but rather about the unexpected grace of getting to travel on a mission of meaning via the Comedy WITH young, first-time fellow pilgrims on the road.  

It might be close to blasphemous, yet I’ll risk a lightning strike: Dante class has been a regular, near Eucharistic experience for me –“Take, [READ]; this is My body” (NAS).

Indeed, school with Dante/Gilman/BMS/RPCS pilgrims has been grounded in thanksgiving.  Period.  Awards can be nice, but the lasting value for me has been in the quality of a LIFE-TIME SHARED on the journey, and as Harry Chapin reminds us in “There Only Was One Choice,”

the jOURney is worthwhile / so strum your guitar, sing it kid… / …inexperience, it once had cursed me / your youth is no handicap, it’s what makes you thirsty… 

Reportedly, Matisse once responded to the question: 

“Do you believe in God?”
“Yes, when I’m painting.”

For me, my now, “still taking shape” thought:

“Yes, when I’m reading.”