The Liberal Arts Tradition: Revised Edition
Revised Edition on sale in October 2019. More information coming soon!
“The foundational distinction between traditional education and modern education is that the ancients believed that education was fundamentally about shaping loves.”
The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education introduces readers to a paradigm for understanding a classical education that transcends the familiar 3-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 also recovers the means by which classical educators developed more than just intellectual virtue (by means of the 7 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.
What’s in the Revised Edition?
Now in hardcover, the revised edition of The Liberal Arts Tradition has been expanded and updated throughout to reflect the most recent understandings and philosophies of classical education. It also includes 40 percent new content, featuring:
- Expanded trivium pieces
- Expanded “Moral Philosophy” piece, with more nuanced discussions of virtue and the role of the Church
- Completely new “Calling, Culture, and Curriculum” section addressing (1) biblical foundations for classical Christian education, (2) the relationship of classical Christian education to the Church and other cultures, and (3) the relationship between the liberal, common, and fine arts
- Revised “Natural Philosophy” piece
- Updated paradigm of the liberal arts tradition
- New appendices, including one on reading and one entitled “A New Natural Philosophy”
Praise for the Revised Edition
“This book is an indispensable guide to Christian liberal arts education. It is thoroughly researched and presented as a cogent model for contemporary schools. I love the emphasis on teaching that is rooted in piety and directed by theology, with places for all the liberal arts in this context. Unlike some advocates of classical schools, Clark and Jain do not neglect the training of the body, the role of music, and the place of the natural sciences. I pray this book will gain a broad readership, and I expect it to prove fruitful in the preparation of young people for the challenges of life.” —Dr. John Frame, Professor of Systematic Theology & Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary
“The Liberal Arts Tradition selects luminous threads from ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary philosophers, theologians, and practitioners and weaves them into a rich tapestry. The book offers a coherent picture of how the longer tradition of classical liberal arts education attends to the integrated intellectual, moral, aesthetic, spiritual, and physical formation of students. Its goal is people and cultures that know the true, do the good, make the beautiful, and love the holy. Even more important, however, The Liberal Arts Tradition demonstrates how this tradition is being recovered, adapted, and practiced in schools today. For, like any tradition, this one is not static. Clark and Jain are not antiquarian archaeologists, nor are they peddlers of archaic novelties. Instead, they are astute educators who have received a humane tradition, practiced it, sifted it, and are now sharing it with others. We are all beneficiaries of their work. I am especially delighted with the rare attention they give to the poetic mode, the formation of virtue in community, the fine and common arts, the importance of festive leisure, and the necessary connection between a school’s calling, culture, and curriculum. Anyone interested or involved in classical liberal arts education—school boards, administrators, educators, faculty, parents, or students—should be grateful for this very fine work from Kevin Clark and Ravi Scott Jain.” —Brian Williams, Dean, Templeton Honors College and College of the Arts & Humanities; Assistant Professor of Ethics & Liberal Studies, Eastern University
“I have learned a great deal from The Liberal Arts Tradition and find myself frequently going back to it as a reminder, in the same way that a person trying to navigate regularly checks a map to see where they are and remember where they are going. In particular, Clark and Jain have done a great service to the classical education community by expressing the methods and reasoning behind the classical teaching of math and science.” —Michael Robinson, PhD
“The progress of a society can be no faster than the progress of providing a good education for the people who make up that society. To put education first is to put society first. So what is a good education? In The Liberal Arts Tradition, Kevin Clark and Ravi Scott Jain answer this question by setting before us a compelling Christian vision for the rediscovery and reformation of classical education for today.
“Not since Dorothy Sayers’s essay ‘The Lost Tools of Learning’ and Mortimer Adler’s Paideia Proposal have we had such a substantive contribution to the Christian classical school movement. Especially noteworthy is the holistic nature of this philosophy and methodology of Christian education that focuses on the development of both the student’s soul (piety and music) and body (gymnastics). In The Liberal Arts Tradition, Clark and Jain present the cultivation of a student’s godly character as the primary goal toward which all the curriculum points, not merely filling their minds with information, but enlarging their heart affections toward God and others. And central to this model is the development of all these competencies in the context of the family and Church as the students’ primary learning communities.
“Clark and Jain have masterfully designed this educational model to help guide students on the learning pathways the ancients intended: integrating the Trivium arts (grammar, logic, and rhetoric) and the Quadrivium arts (arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy) as the foundational paths to prepare students for the study and application of philosophy and theology in all spheres of life.
“The nations of the world need nothing less than an educational revolution, a global movement deeply committed to providing the world with access to the kind of quality education outlined in this book. I highly recommend it.” —Dr. Steve Childers, President & CEO Pathway Learning; former professor, Reformed Theological Seminary
Praise for the First Edition
“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 president of The Ecclesial Schools Initiative (ESI, esischools.org), an organization he founded in 2019 to help underserved families in Florida receive better access to Christian liberal arts education. Before founding ESI, Kevin served as academic dean of The Geneva School of Orlando, Florida, where he also taught for 15 years. Kevin is an Alcuin fellow with The Society for Classical Learning and a member of the teaching faculty in the Master of Arts in Classical Teaching program at The Templeton Honors College. He received his BA in philosophy from the University of Central Florida, his MA in theological studies from Reformed Theological Seminary, and his PhD from Georgetown University.
Ravi Scott Jain graduated from Davidson College with a BA and interests in physics, ancient Greek, and international political economy. He worked at various churches, received an MA from Reformed Theological Seminary, and later earned a graduate certificate in mathematics from the University of Central Florida. He began teaching calculus and physics at the Geneva School in 2003 and also regularly teaches 2 senior classes: AP Calculus BC and AP Physics C. Ravi has given more than 100 talks and workshops throughout the country and overseas on topics related to education, mathematics, and science.