The Common Topics: Threads that Hold the Verbal Arts Together

The verbal arts are related to one another, particularly through the means by which we teach them. Since the verbal arts are skills, not terminating subjects, they are taught throughout the curriculum. But as we focus on teaching them singularly, how can we do so in a way that most naturally leads to teaching the others? For instance, in the 2nd Grade, how can grammar be taught in such a way that naturally leads into and resonates with dialectic? Or, in 11th Grade, how can Rhetoric be taught in such a way that draws from the student’s competency of Grammar? The short answer is: The Common Topics. Join this session to learn why and how.

Andrew Smith

Andrew Smith is in his first year at Veritas, directing the Rhetoric curriculum and teaching theology. He has been a teacher and administrator in classical Christian schools for 15 years. Prior to joining Veritas, he was Director of Upper School at The Geneva School in Winter Park, Florida, and Head of Upper School at Westminster Academy in Memphis, Tennessee. Andrew’s academic work has focused primarily on Rhetoric, both in curriculum development and in teacher training. From 2008 to 2010, he hosted the Memphis Rhetoric Symposium, and since then he has been a consultant and teacher trainer for several schools. Andrew has a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Memphis, a master’s degree in divinity from Samford University and master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Memphis. He and his wife, Keri, have four children, spanning in age from 7 to 17.

Rethinking Nominal Christianity: The Honest Good Life

Many students at Christian schools are apt to define themselves as “real Christians,” in contrast with all the mediocre, lukewarm, fake and nominal Christians who are “out there,” ruining it for the rest of us.
Conceiving of the world in such a way crushes the possibility of moral development. There is a better way of presenting the world, mediocrity and piety to students.

Joshua Gibbs

Joshua Gibbs is the editor of FilmFisher, a frequent contributor at the CiRCE Institute, and a teacher of great books at Veritas School in Richmond, VA. He has been labeled “insane” by two Pulitzer Prize– winning poets and once abandoned a moving vehicle for fear of his life. He married a girl he fell in love with in high school and has two daughters, both of whom have seven names.

A School for the Lord’s Service: Classical Education and the Benedict Option

Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher is a writer and journalist who focuses on Christianity and culture. He is a senior editor for The American Conservative magazine, and the author of the New York Times bestselling memoir The Li le Way of Ruthie Leming, and its sequel, How Dante Can Save Your Life. His latest book, The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation, contends that traditional Christians will have to become profoundly countercultural and communal for the faith to survive the coming darkness. Classical Christian education is a key part of that strategy. Rod lives with his wife, Julie, and three children in Baton Rouge, where his kids a end Sequitur Classical Academy and his wife teaches in the grammar school. The Drehers are Orthodox Christians.

You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit

The “good life” is less an ideal that we think about and more a vision that we imagine, a picture we want, a reality we hunger for. Our orientation to the good life happens on the register of our loves—which is why we need to be attentive to all of the unconscious ways the habits of the heart are captivated by rival, disordered visions of the good life. This talk will explore the importance of seeing classical Christian education as a rehabituation of the heart.

Jamie Smith

James K.A. Smith is professor of Philosophy at Calvin College, where he holds the Gary & Henrie a Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology & Worldview. The award-winning author of Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism? and Desiring the Kingdom, his recent books include Imagining the Kingdom (2013), Who’s Afraid of Relativism? (2014), and How (Not) To Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor (2014). His new book, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, was just published by Brazos. His popular writing has appeared in magazines such as Christianity Today, Books & Culture and First Things and periodicals such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. Smith is also a Senior Fellow of Cardus and serves as editor of Commentmagazine. He and his wife, Deanna, have four children (all students at Calvin College!) and live in the Heritage Hill neighborhood of Grand Rapids, MI.

The Virtue of Selfishness: Ayn Rand as Moral Atheist

Collin Fredricks

Collin Fredricks graduated from Covenant Classical School in Fort Worth. During his time there he enjoyed competing with the Mock Trial team, playing basketball and serving as the Wilberforce House captain. Collin will attend the University of Texas at Austin this fall, studying in the Business Honors and Plan II honors programs.

Aslan in the Academy: What C.S. Lewis Can Teach the Modern Christian Educator

Louis Markos

Louis Markos holds a BA in English and History from Colgate University and an MA and PhD in English from the University of Michigan. He is a Professor of English and Scholar in Residence at Houston Baptist University, where he teaches courses on British Romantic and Victorian Poetry and Prose, the Classics, C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, and Art and Film. Dr. Markos holds the Robert H. Ray Chair in Humanities and lectures on Ancient Greece and Rome, the Early Church and Middle Ages, the Renaissance and Romanticism for HBU’s Honors College. He is the author of eighteen books, including From Achilles to Christ, On the Shoulders of Hobbits, Literature: A Student’s Guide, CSL: An Apologist for Education, three Canon Press Worldview Guides to the Iliad, Odyssey, and Aeneid, & two children’s novels, The Dreaming Stone and In the Shadow of Troy, in which his kids become part of Greek Mythology and the Iliad and Odyssey. His son Alex teaches Latin at the Geneva School in Boerne, TX and his daughter Anastasia teaches music at Founders Classical Academy in Lewisville, TX.