The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education
“The foundational distinction between traditional education and modern education is that the ancients believed that education was fundamentally about shaping loves.”
This staple book for educators and those interested in education introduces readers to a paradigm for understanding a classical education that transcends the familiar three-stage pattern of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Instead, this book describes the liberal arts as a central part of a larger and more robust paradigm of classical education that should consist of piety, gymnastic, music, liberal arts, philosophy, and theology. The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education also recovers the means by which classical educators developed more than just intellectual virtue (by means of the seven liberal arts) but holistically cultivated the mind, body, will, and affections. This is a must-read for educators who want to take a second big step toward recovering the tradition of classical education.
Recommended by the International Journal of Christianity & Education
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“Just look at this book’s table of contents to see how much is included in this. It’s more than the old ‘seven liberal arts,’ but it builds on them. It is an education of the whole person, not just the calculating intellect. But it is not less ‘intellectual’ for that, but more so. . . . This little book is a description of that educational program. It’s precious—because children are precious.” —from the foreword by Peter Kreeft, Boston College
“We needed this book and now it’s here. . . . Once you’ve read a book or two to introduce you to classical education and have started to ask the deeper questions about its history and nature, get this book and use it as a permanent reference.” —Andrew Kern, Circe Institute
“Clark and Jain have produced a wonderful book that lays out clearly where classical Christian education needs to go from here. This volume marks the successful passing of the torch lit by Sayers and Wilson to a new generation. All involved in classical Christian education would benefit highly from heeding these new voices.” —Jason R. Edwards, Grove City College
“This book is an important contribution to the classical education movement. . . . The authors speak . . . based on their unique combination of training in math, science, philosophy, and literature, as well as their crucial experience as classroom teachers. The book suggests what may yet be possible for those answering the call of the scholar-teacher.” —Phillip J. Donnelly, Baylor University
“Some of us, after having immersed ourselves in the Trivium, thanks to Dorothy Sayers’ essay and many other wonderful resources, have found ourselves wondering, ‘What else?’ We know there are seven liberal arts, including the Quadrivium, and we don’t know exactly what to do with these other four, where to go next. Clark and Jain’s The Liberal Arts Tradition has the answers, and provides them in a clear, concise, non-partisan way. If you are wondering, ‘What else?’ then this is one resource you need to have on your bookshelf.” —Matt Bianco, director of education, Classical Conversations
Read a more in-depth review from Matt Bianco in this article from Society for Classical Learning
“A few weeks ago, I ordered two copies of The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education from Classical Academic Press. One copy is for myself. The other copy is for the principal of the parochial school my four children attend. You might say that each copy is worth its weight in gold. I found the text to be an informative synthesis of many important sources and topics related to educational methods. And just today, the principal of my children’s school asked me to consider leading a faculty and staff development program utilizing the text.” —Rev. John O’Brien
“Jain and Clark bring to the still-young conversation around the recovery of classical schooling for Christian purposes a combination that has been rare thus far. First, they adhere to a scholarly motif, painstakingly referencing and noting a wide range of literature, from ancient theorists to modern experimentalists. Second, they are bona fide schoolmen: teachers who have worked in the same school for a decade, and who, together, have honed their craft—you can hear the symbiosis in their prose. Third, they have filed and planed and shaved an immense topic into a brief, accessible work that can be read (for the first time) in an afternoon or on a long commute. Some books illustrate, others examine familiar topics from different perspectives. Jain and Clark’s work moves the conversation about the liberal arts in the modern school to a new level of sophistication and practicality.” —Charles T. Evans, BetterSchools, LLC, and coauthor with Robert Littlejohn of Wisdom and Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Learning
“The Liberal Arts Tradition is a great gift to classical homeschooling mothers. Beautifully written, heart-stopping truth graces each page. An antidote to my own progressive education, this book has reordered my thoughts and priorities. It is an irresistible call back to humanity, wholeness, and wonder.” —Lesli Richards, author of The Homegrown Preschooler
“I just spent the last two weeks poring over, contemplating, and discussing with my husband the book The Liberal Arts Tradition. These last two years I have been asking God to help me delve deeper into classical education as I have felt that I have only barely scratched the surface. Even though I have read many books on the subject, this was the first book that really began answering many of my questions. Thank you, I truly mean it. What you all are doing and what you are producing have been just what our family needs.”
—Jennifer, homeschool mom
Dr. Kevin Clark is the academic dean at the Geneva School of Orlando, Florida, where he teaches rhetoric and Christian thought and classical guitar. He is an Alcuin fellow with The Society for Classical Learning and a member of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain. Dr. Clark received his BA in philosophy from the University of Central Florida and his MA in theological studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. In May 2016 he successfully defended a doctoral thesis entitled The Hermeneutics of Interdisciplinarity for the Doctor of Liberal Studies degree at Georgetown University.
Kevin is captivated by the poetic, liturgical, and imaginative contexts for Christian liberal arts education. He is an active member of his local parish church, where he serves as a licensed reader and subdeacon. He is a lover of stories—especially reading them aloud together with his children. Andersen’s fairy tales, The Hobbit, and The Chronicles of Narnia are perennial favorites. He dreams one day of walking the Camino de Santiago, the medieval pilgrimage trail from Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
Ravi Jain began teaching calculus and physics at The Geneva School in Orlando, Florida, in 2003 and since that time has focused on understanding the role of math and science in a Christian classical curriculum. He has developed a unique integrated math and physics class that uses primary sources to discuss the narrative of discovery. His junior class, “The Scientific Revolution,” studies Kepler, Galileo, Pascal, and Newton, culminating in the Universal Law of Gravitation. He also teaches two senior classes: AP Calculus BC and AP Physics C. These classes lead the students through Faraday and Maxwell and culminate in Einstein’s groundbreaking 1905 manuscript on the relativity of space and time.
Ravi graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina, where he developed a keen interest in both the natural sciences and the humanities. While a political science major with a near minor in classics, he also took a rigorous course of science classes as a pre-medical student and became a teaching assistant in both the physics and classics departments. Directly out of college he taught math through AP calculus at Seminole Presbyterian School in Tampa and then worked at two different churches in an associate pastoral role while completing an MA from Reformed Theological Seminary. He also earned a graduate certificate in mathematics from the University of Central Florida.