Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Great Tradition

I have a new plan for this long unattended blog. If you have read any of my other blogs, you know that I have a habit of making grand plans for blogs, and subsequently for failing to follow through. I have no doubt that this plan will turn out in the same way, but hopefully I will get further into it this time.

If you don't know, I am now in my first year of teaching middle and high school English at a private Christian school. This is a school that honors the Trivium, and is seeking to turn back more fully to the classical, Christian way of educating young people.

I had been educated about education in a much more progressive and much less conservative (or truly liberal, if you would like) atmosphere - the public university. So this year has been as much of a learning experience for me as my students. In fact, I would say that my education in the last seven months has been vastly greater, since the students have been exposed to the trivium before, while I had not.

In my effort to become a better teacher, and to become more a more faithful teacher of the good, the true, and the beautiful, I have become more interested in, and have begun to read the "great works of the western world." I did actually take a class at Clemson by that name, but the emphasis was not on reading and appreciating what they had to say for our lives now, but on what they said then, and how we have changed.

One book I have bought and begun to go through is The Great Tradition: Classic Readings on what it Means to be an Educated Human Being (affiliate link below), which is edited by Richard M. Gamble. I have so far only made it through the introduction and Plato sections (both of which are excellent).

However, I am going to seek to be more faithful in constant readings, and I need your help. Each time I finish a section (or an author), I will try to post my reactions and interactions with that text here. If you are a stalwart of classical education or a longtime practitioner of conservative thought (not necessarily just politically), please help me in my understanding of the texts. If you are a hardcore progressive and do nothing but study Derrida and other modern theory (which I still find interesting, maybe to my harm), please give me your thoughts as well.

One thing I would hope, though it seems like a fool's hope on the internet, is that you would first read the original texts first, then respond to my response. I think most of these texts will be in the public domain, and I will try to post links to what I can.

My first post will hopefully be soon on Plato. I have some interesting thoughts on how he seems to contradict modern conservative political philosophy, considering his thoughts on the intrusion of the government into matters such as education, the arts, and even habits.

But more on that later. I hope that God will give me the diligence to keep up with my commitment.

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