#98 Topical Discussion
The Great Tradition: Classic Readings on What It Means to Be an Educated Human Being
Frustrated with the continuing educational crisis of our time, concerned parents, teachers, and students sense that true reform requires more than innovative classroom technology, standardized tests, or skills training. An older tradition—the Great Tradition—of education in the West is waiting to be heard. Since antiquity, the Great Tradition has defined education first and foremost as the hard work of rightly ordering the human soul, helping it to love what it ought to love, and helping it to know itself and its maker. In the classical and Christian tradition, the formation of the soul in wisdom, virtue, and eloquence took precedence over all else, including instrumental training aimed at the inculcation of "useful" knowledge.
Edited by historian Richard Gamble, this anthology reconstructs a centuries-long conversation about the goals, conditions, and ultimate value of true education. Spanning more than two millennia, from the ancient Greeks to contemporary writers, it includes substantial excerpts from more than sixty seminal writings on education. Represented here are the wisdom and insight of such figures as Xenophon, Plato, Aristotle, Seneca, Cicero, Basil, Augustine, Hugh of St. Victor, Bonaventure, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Erasmus, Edmund Burke, John Henry Newman, Thomas Arnold, Albert Jay Nock, Dorothy Sayers, C. S. Lewis, and Eric Voegelin.More info →
The Abolition of Man
From Amazon: "In the classic The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis, the most important Christian writer of the 20th century, sets out to persuade his audience of the importance and relevance of universal values such as courage and honor in contemporary society. Both astonishing and prophetic, The Abolition of Man is one of the most debated of Lewis's extraordinary works. National Review chose it as number seven on their 100 Best Nonfiction Books of the Twentieth Century."More info →
So Good They Can’t Ignore You
Cal Newport's clearly-written manifesto flies in the face of conventional wisdom by suggesting that it should be a person's talent and skill - and not necessarily their passion - that determines their career path.
Newport, who graduated from Dartmouth College (Phi Beta Kappa) and earned a PhD. from MIT, contends that trying to find what drives us, instead of focusing on areas in which we naturally excel, is ultimately harmful and frustrating to job seekers.
The title is a direct quote from comedian Steve Martin who, when once asked why he was successful in his career, immediately replied: "Be so good they can't ignore you" and that's the main basis for Newport's book. Skill and ability trump passion.
Inspired by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs' famous Stanford University commencement speech in which Jobs urges idealistic grads to chase their dreams, Newport takes issue with that advice, claiming that not only is thsi advice Pollyannish, but that Jobs himself never followed his own advice.
From there, Newport presents compelling scientific and contemporary case study evidence that the key to one's career success is to find out what you do well, where you have built up your 'career capital,' and then to put all of your efforts into that direction.More info →
Liberal Arts for the Christian Life
For over forty years, Leland Ryken has championed and modeled a Christian liberal arts education. His scholarship and commitment to integrating faith with learning in the classroom have influenced thousands of students who have sat under his winsome teaching. Published in honor of Professor Ryken and presented on the occasion of his retirement from Wheaton College, this compilation carries on his legacy of applying a Christian liberal arts education to all areas of life.
Five sections explore the background of a Christian liberal arts education, its theological basis, habits and virtues, differing approaches, and ultimate aims. Contributors including Philip Ryken, Jeffry Davis, Duane Litfin, John Walford, Alan Jacobs, and Jim Wilhoit analyze liberal arts as they relate to the disciplines, the Christian faith, and the world. Also included are a transcript of a well-known 1984 chapel talk delivered by Leland Ryken on the student’s calling and practical chapters on how to read, write, and speak well.
Comprehensive in scope, this substantial volume will be a helpful guide to anyone involved in higher education, as well as to students, pastors, and leaders looking for resources on the importance of faith in learning.More info →