One of the distinctive features of Classical education is the study of what are called “Great Texts” or “Great Books.” What are these texts? Why are they worth studying? How is their study important for Christians? In order to answer these kinds of questions, this presentation unfolds in three stages. First, I briefly describe what the study of Great Texts involves. Second, I consider how the very forms of verbal revelation in Scripture are central to Christian formation. Third, I explain how the shape of modern life presents difficulties for such Christian formation. In effect, information culture prevents people from experiencing some of the transformative benefits of Christian Scripture. Ultimately, in light of those challenges, I suggest that the study of Great Texts provides distinctive formative benefits that Christians need specifically because we live in the age of information.
Phillip J. Donnelly
Phillip J. Donnelly is Professor of Literature in the Honors College at Baylor University. He teaches in the Great Texts Program as well as the English Department and serves as Director for the Great Texts Program. He is the author of Milton’s Scriptural Reasoning (Cambridge Univ. Press) and is co-editor, with D.H. Williams, of Transformations in Biblical Literary Traditions (Univ. of Notre Dame Press). His forthcoming book, The Lost Seeds of Learning (Classical Academic Press) is the first in a series on the verbal arts.