Liberal Arts Level 6: Ancient Classics History (Greek Year)
Term: Yearlong 2020–21, September 8–May 28
Target Grade Levels: Grades 9–12
Schedule: 2x / week, 60–75 min.
Section 1: T/Th 11:00 a.m. ET with Peter Bradshaw
History/Literature Discount: Save $195 when you enroll in this course and the corresponding literature course! The discount will be applied automatically to your shopping cart when you add both courses.
Joint Enrollment: This course is offered as a joint-enrollment class between Scholé Academy and St. Raphael School. Students from both schools are welcome and encouraged to enroll in this dynamic upper-level course.
Great Books Pedagogy: This course offers high school students an in-depth exploration of the classics—the best, most beautiful, and most influential books of civilization. Students will read and discuss important texts from the 3 ancient cultures that became the inheritance of the classical Christian world: the Hebrews, the Greeks, and the Romans. Rooted in the tradition of the Great Books, Scholé Academy’s history and literature courses focus on primary sources.
Students will approach these works as both a window and a mirror. As a window, these texts offer a point of access to the cultures and stories of real people who inhabited the pre-Christian world. Yet classic texts speak not only of other times; they appeal to timeless truths. By considering oneself in the light of enduring concepts of wisdom, justice, and virtue, readers are compelled to take a careful look in the mirror. The study of classic works naturally leads to the practice of the Socratic method, the goal of which is to humbly “know thyself.”
Greek and Roman Years: This course features deep engagement with select works in a wide variety of genres—epic poetry, lyric poetry, drama, moral philosophy, natural philosophy, historical narrative, myth, biography, wisdom literature, laws, and speeches. Given the range of material available from antiquity, it is impossible to capture the full scope in a single-year course.
This course will operate on a two-year rotation. Both years will include selected works from four important traditions—Hebrews, Greeks, Romans, and the early Christians. The first year will emphasize the Greek tradition (“Greek Year”), while the second rotation will emphasize the Roman (“Roman Year”). Students can take a single rotation to receive a strong introduction to the ancient classics, or they may take both years to get the full experience. A specific order is not required for students who wish to take both rotations—they are modular.
Goals: What should students expect from this course? First, we aim to create a supportive environment in which students may practice the art of close reading, grow in their love of the classics, and be inspired to return to them throughout their lives. The teacher will serve as an experienced guide and an encouraging coach.
Brief and informative secondary texts, such as a historical atlas, as well as brief in-class lectures by the teacher, will provide students with contextual understanding—geography, timeline, current historical research, and archaeological findings. Thus, while emphasizing close reading of primary texts, students will survey the historical period, acquire important background knowledge, and gain a clear historical perspective.
Faithful Scholarship: Study of the pre-Christian world offers ample opportunities to see the ways in which Christendom adopted and transformed—one might even say transfigured—the pagan world. The course will emphasize those aspects of antiquity which illuminate early Christianity and anticipate the rise of Christendom. We read pagan authors with charity, and we practice “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5).
Syllabus: View the combined course syllabus here.
This class is paired with our upper-school ancient literature course and scheduled back to back with that course in a block. Students who take both courses receive a discount. This course may also be taken as a standalone history study.
Placement: This course is suitable for rising 9–12 graders. Students are expected to have strong reading skills as well as an interest and a capacity for discussing literature and history. Compositions will be assessed according to the grade-level of the student.
Assessment: Students will be assessed on reading completion and comprehension. They will regularly report their progress to the instructor and answer questions about the reading. In addition to reading, students will be expected to participate in class (regular attendance, active attention, and appropriate contributions), complete short compositions (1–3 paragraphs), and memorize occasional brief passages (3–10 lines).
High School Credit: The modern subjects of “history” and “literature” do not do justice to the rich variety of works represented in the great books of civilization. Successful students will nonetheless gain both an understanding of ancient history and a facility in the art of reading ancient literature. Thus, graduates of Scholé Academy history/literature courses may list the combination as two credits—both “history” and “literature”—on their high school transcript.
How much time will students spend on homework?
Each course (history and literature) will require 2–3 hours of work each week. Students who enroll in both courses should plan for 4–6 hours of work per week outside of the live class sessions.
How does this course compare to the middle-school ancient literature course?
The chief differences between the middle-school and upper-school levels for this course are noted below. While there will be some overlap of content taught, the upper-school course will be much more challenging and assume a more mature student with more background knowledge and greater reading, writing, and scholarship facility.
How is faith integrated with these courses?
These seminar-style discussions unfold organically. One could approach the texts with a focus on defensive critiques of classical authors. By contrast, we seek to read charitably. We treat classic authors as if they were friends, gleaning every available truth while also examining them from a robustly Christian perspective.
At Scholé Academy, we have carefully considered how we should engage our contemporary culture as those who believe that Christ is the Truth (John 14:6), and that all truth has its source in him. We think it is important to provide our upper-school students (in grades 7–12) with tools and opportunities for critically examining various cultural trends, issues and mores through the lens of orthodox, Christian beliefs. Being confident in the truth revealed to us in creation, the Scriptures, and the tradition of the Church, we are not afraid to follow the truth and its implications nor to address error and falsehood. Read more about our Faith & Culture.
- The Wisdom Books, trans. Robert Alter (9780393340532)
- Iliad, Homer, trans. Stanley Lombardo (978-0872203525)
- Republic, Plato, trans. Alan Bloom (978-0465094080)
- The Oresteia, Aeschylus (978-0140443332)
- Sayings of the Desert Fathers (9780140447316)
- The Landmark Herodotus (9781400031146)
- The Landmark Thucydides (9780684827902)
- Greek Lives, Plutarch (9780199540051)
- The History of the Church, Eusebius (9780140445350)
- Early Christian Lives, Athanasius (9780140435269)
- On the Incarnation, Athanasius (9780881414271)
- The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Greece (9780140513356)
- The Penguin Historical Atlas of Ancient Rome (9780140513295)
*Required texts are not included in the purchase of the course.
Peter Bradshaw grew up on land in the warm chaparral of Southern California. He was introduced to the great works of the Western world through a Great Books program in high school. Peter studied English Literature at Covenant College and hopes to complete his Master’s through a distance program at New Saint Andrews College in the Summer of 2020. Since graduating from Covenant, Peter has taught a range of subjects over the past six years. He particularly enjoys teaching Literature, History, Formal Logic, and Rhetoric. When not in the classroom he enjoys painting, poetry, guitar, and watching the little unnoticed things of the world. He and his wife are expecting their first child at the end of March. He currently lives and teaches in Cairo, Egypt and is planning on enrolling in a Fluency of Ancient Greek program offered by the Polis Institute in Jerusalem in September, 2020. email@example.com
Computer: You will need a stable, reliable computer, running with a processor with a speed of 1 GHz or better on one of the following operating systems: Mac OS X with Mac OS 10.7 or later; Windows 8, 7, Vista (with SP1 or later), or XP (with SP3 or later). We do not recommend using an iPad or other tablet for joining classes. An inexpensive laptop or netbook would be much better solutions, as they enable you to plug an Ethernet cable directly into your computer. Please note that Chromebooks are allowed but not preferred, as they do not support certain features of the Zoom video conference software such as breakout sessions and annotation, which may be used by our teachers for class activities.
High-Speed Internet Connection: You will also need access to high-speed Internet, preferably accessible via Ethernet cable right into your computer. Using Wi-Fi may work, but will not guarantee you the optimal use of your bandwidth. The faster your Internet, the better. We recommend using a connection with a download/upload speed of 5/1 Mbps or better. You can test your Internet connection here.
Webcam: You may use an external webcam or one that is built in to the computer.
Headset: We recommend using a headset rather than a built-in microphone and speakers. Using a headset reduces the level of background noise heard by the entire class.
Zoom: We use a web conferencing software called Zoom for our classes, which enables students and teachers to gather from around the globe face to face in real time. Zoom is free to download and easy to use.
- Visit zoom.us/download.
- Click to download the first option listed, Zoom Client for Meetings.
- Open and run the installer on your computer.
- In August, students will be provided with instructions and a link for joining their particular class.
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