Why Classical? – He Said

September 3rd, 2010 by Nate

Isn’t Latin a dead language?  Why teach it?

“Ut ager quamvis fertilis sine cultura fructuosus esse non potest, sic sine doctrina animus.” or “A mind without instruction can no more bear fruit than can a field, however fertile, without cultivation.”  -Cicero

The great orator Marcus Tullius Cicero made this excellent observation.   A well- educated mind requires instruction.  The classical method is language-driven–specifically focused on Latin and Greek.  The teaching of classical languages are often seen as a reason that classical teaching is dated.

Many of the great thinkers throughout history were taught by the classical method, including instruction in Latin.  At age 19, John Calvin wrote the Institutes of the Christian Religion, originally in Latin.  The translator of Harry Potter into Latin was the personal tutor to the British royal family.

If you take a close look at the great works of Western thought–specifically the Latin and Greek writings–you move from language to history, theology, mathematics, law and philosophy.  With Latin and Greek comes access to almost 3,000 years of the human experience, both triumphs as well as failures.  This access is direct and not through translation, which generally is good, but still is a third-party interpretation.

Access to many works of Western thought in their native tongue provides a unique opportunity.  We are trying Classical Academics Press Song School Latin and Greek to expose the kids to these languages early.  We will post our experiences with the products as we use them.

One Response to Why Classical? – He Said

  1. [...] our kids Greek.  I responded that yes, we are.  I previously discussed some of our reasons in the Isn’t Latin a dead language? [...]