Wednesday, May 9, 2012

An Education

It has occurred to me recently that neither myself, nor my family, friends, or classmates could be considered educated in the classical sense.  Traditionally, an educated person was someone who had mastered Greek, Latin, Classical literature, and the literature of Christian Europe.  I have done none of those things and neither have the vast majority of people I know.  Someone like George Washington would consider us only partially educated.  How did is it that we have advanced so much in terms of knowledge but nobody seems to know anything?

I think that the fault is partly that of individuals and partly that of the education system.  Most people, myself included, don't want to go through all the trouble of learning classical languages, and we might not be very good at them anyway.  This is reflected in our education system, which has to serve everyone.  Egalitarianism always leads to utilitarianism, and when a large number of students are unwilling or unable to get a comprehensive education, that education will not be offered.

A classical education offers many advantages, especially to Christians.  Someone who knows the language and culture of the classical world can read the New Testament, the Septuagint and the Church Fathers in the original Greek and Latin, and can understand the world in which they were written and propagated.  To know the literature of Christendom is to know Christendom and one's own European cultural heritage.  For myself, and most of the people my age, it is too late.  We can only learn so much while making time for work, school, and other commitments.  However, our children will have a chance at a classical education.  If I am called to the vocation of marriage, I will make sure that my own children take advantage of that chance.


  1. Good analysis of what is wrong in the education system we operate in the USA. k through college. There are a couple of colleges that do offer as close to a true liberal arts education as possible these days, like our Founding Fathers would have had. Our Founding Fathers, who were big on education would decry how poor a job we are doing of it these days.
    PS, Biblical Hebrew was often a requirement as well. John Adams could read the OT in the original Hebrew & Aramaic.
    Not to brag, but having taken 3 semesters of Biblical Hebrew in college, it is difficult, & even though I don't use it as I should, it is still something I am glad I can fall back on when needed.