Western Civ

Western Civ:

InstaPundit has an interesting post today recommending Western Civ "courses" for those who didn't get them in school. There's a lot there, and probably none of it would have occurred to me as the right way to approach the problem.

The best suggestion of the several is the endorsement of St. John's college reading list. I probably would not have thought of their list, although their fame is well known to me (and well deserved, from all I've heard). It was recommended to me as a school when I was young enough to be looking, but I could not afford it. It's a good list they've put together, though it is too heavy on Enlightenment and modern thinkers, whose importance I have come to believe is overrated.

Fascinating that they decide to wind up the four year program with two classes on Virginia Woolf, for example. Instead of leaving the Medievals in the middle of the second year, I would have spent the whole of the second year on them, as well as part of the third year on them, the rest on the early moderns (Shakespeare, etc); and wrapped up the Enlightenment and moderns in the fourth year only, leaving some weeks at the end for a review of how it all tied together.

You probably do need a year and a half of the program for the ancients; a year at least for the Medievals; half a year for the early moderns; and then the fourth year for the Enlightenment and moderns.

Except in physics, the great ideas are the old ones. The rest is commentary.

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