Joshua Butcher argues that since the practice of rhetoric is inseparable from questions of Truth, Justice, and “the Good” in the polis, any educational program of rhetoric in which these matters aren’t pervasive throughout undermines the classical foundations of the art.

Most, if not all, classical educators acknowledge the importance of rhetoric in the curriculum of the liberal arts. Many also recognize that the skills of rhetoric are not limited to one or two classes taken on the subject of persuasive writing or public speaking, but are inculcated throughout the education of a child; from getting Jack or Jill up in front of folks to recite Scripture or play the role of Achilles, to their using the tools of language through progymnasmata exercises, to their imitating great writers and speakers of the past and present. Yet when it comes to thinking about formal instruction in rhetoric for one, two, or maybe three years at the end of a child’s “high school” education; what ought the rhetoric curriculum offer? By consulting the educational philosophies for rhetorical training among the Greeks, Romans, and Early Christians, modern classical educators can sharpen our conceptions of what a program of rhetorical training can and ought to be. More specifically, I argue that since the practice of rhetoric is inseparable from questions of Truth, Justice, and “the Good” in the polis, any educational program of rhetoric in which these matters aren’t pervasive throughout undermines the classical foundations of the art.

Joshua Butcher

Born and raised in rural north-central Florida, Mr. Butcher made pilgrimages through the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Republic of Texas on his way back to Florida’s City of Five Flags, a place where his overactive imagination never imagined settling. Currently he teaches at Trinitas Christian School and spends much of his time raising four young lads and a li le lady with his wife, Hannah, whose own pilgrimages as an Air Force kid far outstrip his own.

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