What is Classical Education?

A classical and Christian education is a method of teaching and of seeing the world. It has its origins in the classical, Greco-Roman era of history. The Greeks and Romans were interested in their vision of a well-ordered society, and they believed that the best way to attain that was to train their people to become self-governing citizens. They were pre-Christian, gentile pagans; they didn’t have the gospel, and their cultures reflected that in significant ways, such as their assumptions about citizenship and the relationship of the individual to the state, the nature of personhood, and the idea of freedom. But they were interested in what made something good, true, and beautiful, or what it was that kept it from being those things.

This is the cultural context in which Christianity was born, and in the providence of God, many early Christians received this kind of education, and they saw that the answer to these questions that the Greco-Roman world was asking was found in Christ, the integrating Word, or Logos. Perhaps the greatest example of this is St. Augustine’s The City of God. The entire book can be understood as the author responding to Roman assumptions and values on their own terms, showing how their virtues are only possible or meaningful when Christ is given His rightful place at the centre of our worldview.

A classical Christian education is a deliberate work of forming the soul of the student. The academics are rigorous, but our emphasis is on modelling and cultivating virtue rather than academics, because unless virtue is being practiced, academics cannot follow.

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