On Classical Education and Being a Classical Teacher

Posts in category Quotable

The Real Meaning of “Illiteracy”

John of Salisbury, a 12th century humanist (of sorts) writes in Book VII of his Policraticus: Does anyone doubt the desirability of reading the historians, the orators, and the authorities on approved mathematics, since without a knowledge of them men cannot be, or at least usually are not, liberally educated?…those ignorant of these writers are […]

Learning Takes Leisure

We know a student is not above his master, and that when he is fully formed he will be like him. But even masters have masters and teachers teachers, and One Master and Teacher above them all. If, therefore, Jesus, who is The Teacher, had trouble with his students’ learning, how much more can we […]

To Forget Good Counsel is to Forget Prudence Itself

[17]But it may be answered: Socrates should have taught his companions prudence before politics. I do not deny it; but I find that all teachers show their disciples how they themselves practise what they teach, and lead them on by argument. And I know that it was so with Socrates: he showed his companions that […]

Lorenzo Valla on Theology and Rhetoric

Lorenzo Valla (1407-1457), best known as the Renaissance author who exposed the fraudulence of the Donation of Constantine (the theoretical foundation of the Medieval papacy), wrote the following comments about ancient theologians and contemporary ones: …In my opinion, if anyone should undertake to write theology, it makes little difference whether he has any other resources […]

How A Christian Should Read Virgil

The following remarks on reading Virgil were written by the Italian humanist Coluccio Salutati, around the year 1378: …I have dwelt upon this at such length that you may not suppose the reading of Virgil to be a mere idle occupation if one is willing to take the right view of it and to separate […]

“A Skimpy Knowledge is Not a Pleasing Thing”

Here’s a nice little exhortation from Hugh of St. Victor (ca. 1096 – 1141), one of the greatest of the Medieval theologians, concerning those who complain that they have no time to study things which they feel are superfluous to their chosen task: As in the virtues, so in the sciences, there are certain steps. […]

Human Being, not Technician

Classical teaching was chiefly interested in the man himself, not in equipping technicians for specialized jobs; and it is this, perhaps, that most sharply distinguishes it from the education of our own time, which makes it its first aim to produce the specialists required by a civilization that to a quite fantastic extent has been […]

Where is the Christian Antithesis?

On the notion, prevalent in some classical education circles, that there is a total antithesis between “Christian worldview thinking” and all modes of thinking, this is worth pondering: The nearer anything lies to that center of existence where we are concerned with the whole, that is, with man’s relation to God and the being of […]

Man, Not Child, The Standard of Education

In the first place, the whole aim of this [Ancient classical] education was the formation of adults, not the development of the child.  There is no point in being led astray by etymology.  I know quite well that [paideia] contains the word [for “child”].  But this needs to be translated as “the treatment to which […]

On Reading Homer (III)

Veit Winsheim (cited the previous two days on this same subject) having already noted that excepting the Gospel of Christ there is “nothing more splendid or divine” than the study of literature, now takes up the interesting fact that in his Republic, Plato banned all the poets, especially Homer, from his ideal city: However, we meet with an […]