Why the Canon Wars Still Matter

Like an overlong proxy war, the “canon” skirmishes of the 1980s and ’90s no longer feature in the media, though the conflict persists. As in a battle over this or that town, the ongoing war might manifest as a fight over particular books, but the real disagreement exists between competing visions for humanity and society. … Continue reading “Why the Canon Wars Still Matter”


A Life-Changing Meeting of Minds

In 1985, Roosevelt Montás arrived in the United States aged twelve, speaking no English, accustomed to life in a rural mountain village of the Dominican Republic where he had passed his boyhood—a village with one shared telephone. Six years later, he matriculated to Columbia University. He went on to earn his PhD there, and subsequently … Continue reading “A Life-Changing Meeting of Minds”


As the US turns its Back on Western Classics, China Embraces Them

In 2019, the Society for Classical Studies, a non-profit North American scholarly organization devoted to all aspects of Greek and Roman civilization, held a rather memorable conference in San Diego. Titled “The Future of Classics,” panelists were asked for their opinions on “the diminution of our future role” in society. One of the panelists, Dan-el … Continue reading “As the US turns its Back on Western Classics, China Embraces Them”


Universities Have Forgotten Their Purpose: Pursuing the Contemplative Life

Editor’s note: this essay is adapted from a talk delivered by Jessica Hooten Wilson at Word on Fire’s Good News Conference on November 7, 2021, in Orlando, Florida. Universities are suffering an identity crisis. They don’t know what they are or what they are for. Nearly forty years ago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn proclaimed, “Men have forgotten … Continue reading “Universities Have Forgotten Their Purpose: Pursuing the Contemplative Life”


Did You Know? Classics Departments and Programs Are Disappearing

The study of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations through their languages, literature, and history— the study of Classics—is part of the bedrock of a rigorous university education. While some may believe the Classics are not of any particular importance today, the study of Classics allows students to more fully understand the ancient roots of the … Continue reading “Did You Know? Classics Departments and Programs Are Disappearing”


Education with a Vision: A Curriculum Worth Following

At the start of students’ college careers, there are both good and bad unknowns. The good unknowns are the people they will meet, the different instructors, courses on subjects they have heard about but never studied, and experiences that expand their perspectives. The bad unknowns include the problem that they do not know is brewing, … Continue reading “Education with a Vision: A Curriculum Worth Following”


Why Liberal Arts Colleges Are Failing and How to Revive Them

The loss of public trust in universities that has risen to front page news did not suddenly emerge in 2020. In 2018 the non-partisan Gallup organization found that, for the first time, less than half of Americans have “a lot of confidence” in higher education. Even more pointedly, Gallup reported that “No other institution has … Continue reading “Why Liberal Arts Colleges Are Failing and How to Revive Them”


For Teacher Training, Drop Critical Theory and Add Character

With the pandemic, more parents are discovering what their children are being taught in public schools—from explicit how-tos in sex-ed class to narratives of power that divide everyone into oppressors and oppressed. Yearning for a richer emphasis on cultural literacy, character, and civil discourse, parents are turning to alternative curricula, such as Core Knowledge and … Continue reading “For Teacher Training, Drop Critical Theory and Add Character”


Essential Knowledge: Students Should Study the Classical World

Countless students begin and graduate from college with an impoverished humanities education, a reality that should disturb any proponent of the liberal arts. According to a recent report by the Independent Institute entitled Is it Time for a “490 B.C. Project”? High Schoolers Need to Know Our Classical Heritage, “schools are undermining the humanities” by … Continue reading “Essential Knowledge: Students Should Study the Classical World”


The Benefits of Renewing Education with the Socratic Method

“I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think.” —Socrates Classical education—a tradition of education with ancient roots—is becoming an increasingly popular alternative to the current K-12 public education model. Its emphasis on reading the Great Books and making students active participants in their own education is appealing to parents and educators who … Continue reading “The Benefits of Renewing Education with the Socratic Method”