Milton Konvitz was a professor in Cornell's Law School and a founding faculty member of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He retired in 1973. He was an authority on constitutional and labor law, and on civil and human rights. He was famous for teaching a class called American Ideals at Cornell for many years; it was based in the College of Industrial and Labor Relations and regularly drew enrollments in the many hundreds, with the eventual total exceeding over 8,000. Young Ruth Bader, later Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was one of those students.

This collection contains audio files of the American Ideals lectures from January, February, March, and April of 1973.

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  • American Ideals 01. Course Introduction 

    Konvitz, Milton R. (1973)
    Professor Konvitz explains the connection of ILR 308 to the present semester’s study. In 308, he explored the evolution of those American ideals inherent in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and subsequently utilized ...
  • American Ideals 02. The Hebrew Bible, Part 1 

    Konvitz, Milton R. (1973)
    Human dignity, justice, equality, love, and the rule of law are not alluded to specifically in the documents upon which our nation was founded, but they are implied, Dr. Konvitz explains, and it is the origins of these ...
  • American Ideals 03. The Hebrew Bible, Part 2 

    Konvitz, Milton R. (1973)
    Professor Konvitz distinguishes between Homeric and Hebrew literary styles. In the Illiad and Odyssey, everything that Homer wants to say is put in the foreground and externalized. The events and relationships between the ...
  • American Ideals 04. The Nature of Reality 

    Konvitz, Milton R. (1973)
    Our relation to God and God’s judgment is, for the man of faith, the realm of truth. Mere appearance is the realm of ignorance and falsehood. The Greek philosophers, Dr. Konvitz explains, also saw the distinction as being ...
  • American Ideals 05. Dignity and Job 

    Konvitz, Milton R. (1973)
    The biblical root of the concept of human dignity is explained. The Bible presumes a moral order in the universe and moral judgment. If, the Bible suggests, we obey God’s commandments, then we shall live; if we serve other ...
  • American Ideals 06. Good and Evil, Part 1 

    Konvitz, Milton R. (1973)
    The power of evil in the world is evident from the very beginning of the Bible, Professor Konvitz acknowledges. Biblical man responds to evil with the hope that it will be defeated and virtue vindicated. A righteous man ...
  • American Ideals 07. Good and Evil, Part 2 

    Konvitz, Milton R. (1973)
    Responding to a student question, Professor Konvitz explains the complexity of biblical analysis. The biblical presumption of human free will and its implications is then discussed as is the meaning of the story of Adam ...
  • American Ideals 09. Viewing Time, Part 2 

    Konvitz, Milton R. (1973)
    The Christian acceptance of linear time and history was challenged by contemporary Greek philosophers who held to the cyclical view. The problem that this view of history held for the Church was simply that if time and ...

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