Today’s Classical Education Is Worth Pursuing Even If It’s Not Precisely Recreating The Past

The Federalist | 8/23/2019 | David Goodwin
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In 1981, David Hicks wrote one of the defining works of the classical Christian education renewal: “Norms and Nobility.” Recently, Hicks made an argument in line with Shawn Barnett’s recent article in The Federalist about classical education: Yes, these kinds of schools are better. Yes, It holds great promise. But it’s never going to rise again. It cannot be recreated. It’s dead because our culture can no longer comprehend it.

Both men take slightly different tacks. Also, respectfully, both Hicks and Barnett miss the point: Classical education is not at the mercy of our culture. Instead, it has the potential to shape a new culture that is anchored in reality.

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Barnett cites the Association of Christian Classical Schools’ website as promoting a modern form of pseudo-classical education. With Web page views and bounce rates measured in fractions of a second, we hope to be forgiven for some simplification on our web site.

Barnett makes valid points— Latin and Greek were once studied more. John Milton Gregory and Dorothy Sayers were influenced by modernity. Even C.S. Lewis was a product of 19th century Anglo-classical education.

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But if we read one of C.S. Lewis’s lesser-known works, “The Discarded Image,” we can find the real source of classical Christian education’s strength: the belief that we can only understand our universe with God as the grand unifier. The medievals may not have gotten the solar system right, but they understood better than we do what it means to be human in light of the divine.

The engine of classical education is not Latin or Greek, or even Mortimer Adler’s “Great Ideas.” It begins with one idea—what the Greeks called “telos,” or an ultimate purpose. From this educational purpose flows a river of culture that carves its own path, even through the shifting sands of modernity.

Goal - ACCS

Our goal at the ACCS...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Federalist
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