Memory or Understanding? – Cassiodorus on Learning

Next up in the early church readings on education in The Great Tradition: Cassiodorus. Cassiodorus was a consul in Rome, living through the drawn-out fall of Rome, and ending up as an advisor to Theodoric along with Boethius. He was of noble birth and a devout Christian. Late in his life he founded a monastery with the express purpose of preserving ancient culture as he watched Rome’s disintegration. His monastery didn’t last beyond his own lifetime, but his works excerpted … Read More

Truth is from God – Augustine on learning

Augustine, doctor of the church, protected the church against heresy and also gave the church a rich heritage of philosophy and theology. _ 
Not only did he receive and use a classical education of the first caliber, he also had thoughts about education and for students as well. Today we’ll look at some of his advice to scholars, excerpted from The Great Tradition: Classical Readings on What It Means to Be an Educated Human Being. Matters of study, matters to … Read More

What profit it a man? – Augustine on education

As I slowly make my way through The Great Tradition, I am fascinated to read what the best minds of the past have prioritized in education. Particularly because I am now in the Church Fathers section, it is so good to see how they handled the transition from the classical world into Christendom – they knew philosophy, science, and the arts were not automatically corrupting simply because they came from the Gentiles. Augustine will have a bit more to say … Read More

5 Myths about Teaching from Rest

Rest. You know you need it. What do you picture, when you think of yourself resting? Walks on a beach? A nap? Curling up with tea and a novel? These are lovely respites that we enjoy, but these images or memories also end up confusing us when rest is used in other contexts. Turns out, there are other kinds of rest – and we need all the kinds, at appropriate times. Picture yourself teaching from rest. What do you see … Read More

Phonics is noble – Jerome on early education

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Jerome was an adult convert, receiving an excellent classical education early in life and using that later in life for the good of the church. His best patron was a wealthy widow, Paula, with whom he kept up a correspondence. Because of her support, he was able to devote must time and energy into literary endeavors, writing books, translating the Bible into Latin, maintaining correspondence, and more. The letter excerpted here is to Paula about a granddaughter who had been … Read More

What must we then read? – Jerome on pagan learning

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Jerome is a fascinating character. He is the one who gave the Church the Vulgate, and his own classical learning and love of Latin poets & philosophers gave him the skill to do so. Amid a near-death experience, Jerome vowed never again to read a secular author. So, at first it seems that Jerome must be in the anti-classical camp. Yet, although this is his vow, it is not his advice to others. Just as the Nazarites vow not to … Read More

How Truth, Goodness, and Beauty Fit in Real Life

Have you ever walked into a conversation halfway through? Perhaps, unbeknownst to you, it was a conversation that had been going on sporadically between these friends for weeks or even months. It’s a fascinating conversation, let’s say, and one that you want to at least listen to, maybe even participate in, but you feel like an outsider because you weren’t there from the beginning and you’re trying to get up to speed – without looking like you’re as out of … Read More

Of Stories & Cities – Chrysostom on learning & the soul

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And we’re back with more from The Great Tradition: Classical Readings on What It Means to Be an Educated Human Being! Chrysostom was an early church father nicknamed “Golden Mouthed” for his eloquence. He received a Greek liberal arts education from a pagan, then went on to study theology under a respected teacher. He taught the Bible with a plain understanding instead of interpreting with elaborate allegories, which was the common at that time. He spent two years of his … Read More

Why Call It Classical Education? – Simply Convivial

Every once in awhile I chat with someone who wants to quibble about using the term classical education. For one reason or another, they think the label classical should be abandoned. On the one hand, I don’t care. Call it whatever you want. We can have a conversation about True Education, Real Education, a Liberal Arts Education, or Christian Education if calling it Classical Education trips you up. But regardless of the label, the discussion will be same because the … Read More

Early childhood in the early church – Chrysostom on education

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And we’re back with more from The Great Tradition: Classical Readings on What It Means to Be an Educated Human Being! Arranged chronologically, the book is a source of what true education has been known to be – and ideas for how to impart it – since Ancient Greeks started philosophizing about it. True education, noble and worthy training of the heart and mind, has been known by various names throughout the ages: liberal, humanist, classical. However, the aim has … Read More

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