Thoughts On Classical Education from Martin Cothran

Daniel Foucachon from Roman Roads Media interviews Martin Cothran during the 2015 CiRCE Conference. So much great stuff packed into the short interview, including succinct answers to these questions:

  • Are non-classically educated parents able to teach classically?
  • What is the best adult-education program?
  • What is a one sentence definition of classical education?
  • Where is a literature-challenged parent to begin?
  • Why study pagan writings?
  • Is humanism the problem in education?

Towards the end, Martin Cothran lists the five essential books every classically educated person must read:

  1. Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, which upholds the ideals of old Greek culture
  2. Virgil’s Aeneid, which upholds the ideals of old Roman culture
  3. Dante’s Divine Comedy, which upholds the ideals of medieval Christian culture
  4. Shakespeare’s plays, which uphold the ideals of the English people
  5. The King James Bible, which is the greatest work of English language

This made me particularly happy, since each of these works is well-represented in the curriculum I have developed for Cottage Press. Selections from the King James Bible show up in every language arts course beginning with in the primary years. Shakespeare and Homer make several appearances each in our courses for grammar and intermediate students. Finally, upper school students are treated to leisurely and thorough sojourns through the Odyssey, the Aeneid, Macbeth, and the Inferno.

Now, please excuse me while I go read Anna Karenina again.

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