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By Mark C Henrie

Students this day have super freedom to settle on the classes they are going to take. With such freedom, notwithstanding, scholars face a urgent hassle: How can they pick out good? Which classes exhibit the center of an genuine liberal arts schooling, transmitting our civilizational inheritance, and which classes are only passing fads? From the smorgasbord of electives on hand, how can scholars in achieving a coherent realizing in their international and their position in background? In a sequence of penetrating essays, A pupil s consultant to the middle Curriculum explains the price of a conventional middle of reports in Western civilization after which surveys 8 classes on hand in such a lot American universities that could be taken as electives to procure such an schooling. This consultant places the simplest close by of each scholar. writer: Mark C. Henrie Pages: 112, PaperbackPublisher: Christendom PressISBN: 1-882926-42-0

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This challenge was met most decisively in the Summa Theologiae, a summary of theology, by Saint Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274). This huge undertaking explicates the Christian faith in the philosophical language of Aristotle and shows that nothing that reason knows as true must necessarily render Christian faith irrational. As Aquinas frequently puts it, grace (the supernatural) perfects nature; it does not destroy it. The Summa is justly famous for its style of presentation as well as for its content.

In almost all religion departments a course entitled something like “The Christian Tradition” can be found. Such courses can be of some value to those who have had little or no exposure to Christian practice; such courses examine the customs and beliefs of Christians as one would those of Stone Age tribes along the Amazon. To interpret Christian rituals in this anthropological way is a species of social history rather than intellectual history, and it falls far short of theology. There are, however, in many religion departments, courses with names like “Christian Thought Before 1500,” and these will come closer to a general introduction to theology than any other course in the curriculum.

Ultimately, attending carefully to the Greeks should lead us to understand both our similarities with and our differences from the oldest dead white European males. A great mistake of cultivated minds throughout our history has been to overemphasize continuity. Nineteenth-century Englishmen read their Greeks and found in Athens a culture of proper gentlemen. A well-raised Englishman, it was contended, could have walked into Periclean Athens and felt deeply at home. Germans of the same period read their Greeks and found the romantic souls of German Volk.

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