John Milton: Classical Learning and the Progress of Virtue
Our third book in the Giants in the History of Education series
The Puritan poet John Milton is most famous for his massive theological epic Paradise Lost. He was also known as perhaps the greatest genius of the English Renaissance—possibly the best-educated man of his day—and as a major theorist of classical learning for Christians. The man who wrote the seminal words “The end then of Learning is to repair the ruines of our first Parents by regaining to know God aright, and out of that knowledge to love him, to imitate him, to be like him . . .” (Of Education, 1644) argues across all his voluminous writings that the purpose of education is soul work for virtue as opposed to information-gathering for profit.
In this book, Milton scholar Professor Grant Horner from The Master’s College examines the poet’s powerful vision of a Christian and classical education. Trained at Duke University by Stanley Fish, the world’s most influential Miltonist, Horner approaches the text as a Christian educator himself, bringing the complex seventeenth-century texts into modern light for practical application. Addressing questions such as how to handle pagan texts, how to develop a theology of aesthetics, and why we must grapple with the relationship between pagan wisdom and scripture, this book will serve as a thorough and readable introduction to the complex thought of one of the Puritan intellectual giants.
“As we continue in our day with the task of rebuilding classical Christian education, one of the things we absolutely must do is reexamine the thought of some of the giants produced in times past by an earlier iteration of that same kind of education. And that is exactly what Grant Horner has done in this fine treatment of Milton. Highly recommended.” —Douglas Wilson
Grant Horner has a BA in English from York College and an MA in English Renaissance Studies from the University of Alabama. His doctoral studies include work at UNC–Chapel Hill and Duke University, and he is a PhD candidate in Renaissance and Reformation Studies at Claremont Graduate University. He is a professor at The Master’s College, where he specializes in Renaissance and Reformation Studies and twice has been named “Professor of the Year.” He teaches courses on Renaissance literature, film studies, Shakespeare, Milton, Calvin, comedy, Latin, critical theory, western art history, and epic literature. He and his wife have three children.