Friday, March 28, 2014

Book Club: Beauty in the Word - Introduction (pt 2)

The seven liberal arts were in any case never intended to constitute the whole of education.  They were embedded in a broader tradition of paideia or human formation, which included 'gymnastics' for the education of the body and 'music' for the education of the soul ... The full range of subjects studied would include practical skills associated with the arts and crafts (techne) through to the highest reaches of wisdom (sophia) ... The ability to think critically and for oneself is a part of this tradition, but not in separation from the moral virtues. Conceptualand dialectical thought is not the highest activity of man, but gives way before contemplation and the development of the spirit through love. (pg 10)
I loved this.  It fits beautifully with what I've been reading in The Liberal Arts Tradition by Jain and Clark. I've pulled some quotes from that book (Fundamentally About Shaping Loves and Pious Life with Well-Ordered Habits) in the past. 

In the Jain and Clark book, they talk about the Liberal Arts being embedded within piety from which music and gymnastic naturally grow which then support the Liberal Arts and bear fruit in theology and philosophy: a tree planted by streams of living water. 

I really appreciate Caldecott's emphasis here on techne, though.  He says, "Today, those skills and associated abilities would include a facility with machines and computers."  But I think they also include woodworking, cookery, and sewing.

I appreciate that he roots all of this is faith or piety.  The section on the Catholic School didn't do a lot for me, although I did like this:
Revelation subtly alters the way every subject is taught as well as the relationships between them ... everything becomes interesting.  There are no 'boring' subjects-- nothing can be ugly or pointless unless we make it so, turning our backs on the Giver of Being.

I've been thinking about how everything does seem so much more interesting to me now than it did when I was a schoolchild.  About Andrew Kern's insistence that we are "all math people." About being created in the image of God, so what he cares about we should care about. 

Revelation changes things.

The triads he identifies in the last section are helpful too.  Be, Think, Speak. Each relying and interacting with the others. In fellowship together.

Martin Cothran talks about similar triads in his "How to Think" talk.  Cothran discusses How Roget's Thesaurus is (or was) organized on ideas ... True Good Beautiful.  Then he lists other groupings -
Logic, Rhetoric, Poetics
Faith, Charity, Hope
Knower Doer, Maker
Kant: Know? Should Do? Hope?
Jesus: Way, Truth, Life
Aquinas: Know (Apostle's Creed), Do (10 Commandments), Hope (Lord's Prayer) 
Roles: Prophet, Priest, King

Andrew Kern talks about how we can teach a fact, skill, or idea.  Does this fit the pattern too?

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