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editor's introduction

1. Principia: A Journal of Classical Education: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Brian A. Williams

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articles

2. Principia: A Journal of Classical Education: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Julia D. Hejduk Orcid-ID

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As the classic of classics and the bridge between pagan antiquity and the Christian era, Virgil’s Aeneid stands at the center of the humanities’ Great Conversation. Yet this poem of Empire, with its flawed hero and its ambivalence toward divine and temporal power, raises more questions than it answers about the nature of human history. The epic’s true moral complexity, mirroring the insoluble conundrum that is human life, makes it especially relevant in an era whose political polarization resembles civil war. Reflecting on centuries of readers’ deeply personal relationships with the Aeneid, this article discusses how even today the “greatest text” can provide companionship and inspiration on our life’s journey.
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3. Principia: A Journal of Classical Education: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
David Diener

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Augustine’s De Magistro (On the Teacher) is a short and relatively minor dialogue that often is overlooked. Nevertheless, it is an important text, both for its role in the development of key themes in Augustine’s thought and because of its epistemological and pedagogical contributions to the philosophy of education. This paper explores the significance of De Magistro in three steps. First, it introduces the dialogue and offers a summary of Augustine’s argument therein. It then examines important contributions that this dialogue makes in the development of Augustine’s thought regarding signs and the inner teacher. Finally, it explores some educational implications of De Magistro regarding the nature of teaching and the use of Socratic dialogue that Augustine plunders from the previous work of the pagan Plato.
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4. Principia: A Journal of Classical Education: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Phillip J. Donnelly

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Classical education includes an apprenticeship in the art of rhetoric. It also gives a central place to the study of major works of literature, philosophy, and theology. There is often, however, an assumed disconnection between the art of rhetoric and the study of great texts. This disconnection undermines students’ ability to hear the voices of these texts as conversation partners in ongoing debates. This article illustrates how historically-based rhetorical-poetic reading enables us to hear the voices in a given text and to consider how they work together. The argument first outlines some modern assumptions about the relation between poetry and rhetoric. The second part explains what rhetorical-poetic reading involves when approaching John Milton’s epic, Paradise Lost. The final section focuses on the second book of Milton’s poem, establishing how layered persuasive purposes constitute the fabric of the work and what the poem reveals through its curious dramatization of demonic deliberation.
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5. Principia: A Journal of Classical Education: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Jeffrey S. Lehman

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While classical schools today typically exhibit a carefully considered approach to the linguistic arts of the trivium, the equally important mathematical arts of the quadrivium have received relatively little consideration. This being so, mathematics is often approached in ways that are not distinctly classical. This article seeks to establish the importance of the quadrivial arts as a means of ascending from lower to higher things. Though most know Plato’s comparison of a lack of education to being imprisoned in a cave, relatively few are familiar with the role the quadrivial arts play in ascending from the cave. Because the mathematical arts cultivate and direct the imagination, they enable students to move beyond sensible particulars to the formation of forms and figures by the mind. Thus, the mathematical arts help free us from an undue preoccupation with lower things and direct us toward the pursuit of knowledge and what truly is.
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6. Principia: A Journal of Classical Education: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Christopher Schlect

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The term liberal arts is widely used but seldom defined. While casual usage allows license for flexibility, academics should exercise care with terms that probe the vitals of their calling. This paper proposes a workable definition of liberal arts. It draws upon historical usage to address several concerns that figure into such a definition: it clarifies what an art is, it differentiates arts from sciences, it distinguishes liberal arts from other arts, and it also distinguishes liberal arts from humanities. Alternative definitions may also be viable, but only if they duly recognize historical usage and differentiate the term liberal arts from terms related to it.
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7. Principia: A Journal of Classical Education: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Brian A. Williams

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Despite their ubiquity and widespread acceptance in contemporary education, formal grading systems are relatively recent innovations in the history and philosophy of education. Far from innocuous tools which aid the student’s academic development, grades and grading systems developed as ad hoc tools for ranking students against one another in academic competitions. This article examines the history of assessment, grades, and grading in light of the longer tradition of education and suggests alternative practices could better orient students toward the true, good, beautiful, holy, healthy, and beneficial. By understanding how and why contemporary approaches to grades developed, classical educators will be equipped to mitigate the unintended and often unseen adverse consequences grades have on their students. Ultimately, this article seeks to liberate teachers and students to pursue the intrinsic goods of learning over against the fleeting and extrinsic rewards of making the grade.
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book reviews

8. Principia: A Journal of Classical Education: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Nathan M. Antiel

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9. Principia: A Journal of Classical Education: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
John Peterson

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10. Principia: A Journal of Classical Education: Volume > 1 > Issue: 1
Jesse Hake

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