Deliberate Agrarian
Snippet #23

An Agrarian
Form of Education

Dateline: 9 May 2014

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"Classical education is an agrarian form of education. Modern education is industrial. The human body is made of the dirt of the ground; we can't know ourselves apart from the garden. It's simpler, more local, more focused on the rhythms and harmonies of nature and the soul. Someday, perhaps, we'll be able to see it again. But in my view, classical education must work dialectically with farming to restore a mind that is bound to reality—and happy to be so bound, like a happy marriage or a successful farm."

—Andrew Kern

Fellow New Yorker, Sarah, D., sent me the above quote. It comes from This Link. I'm not familiar with Circe Institute ("cultivating wisdom & virtue"), and I don't know much about classical education, but I sure do like the quote!


Cynthia (C.L) Lewis said...

While I am not opposed to the classical form of education, one has to remember it developed out of the Greek society. Circe is a Greek Goddess.

Herrick Kimball said...


Interesting. I did not know that.

I think one part of classical education is reading the "classics." The problem I see with that is that most of the so-called classics do not present a biblical worldview. Many are profoundly anti-Christian. If Christians immerse their children in literature that presents a worldview contrary to the Christian worldview, it is not a proper Christian education….. UNLESS there is a clear discussion about the errors of the philosophies being expressed in the writings.

This is discussed and illustrated pretty well in Kevin Swanson's book, "Apostate." That book was a real eye-opener for me.

Thanks for the comment.

Cynthia (C.L) Lewis said...

Apostate is on my list of books to buy and read. Then of course require all my children to read it as part of schooling.

SarahD said...

In this case CiRCE is an acronym. From the CiRCE website:

“CIRCE” is an acronym for “Consulting and Integrated Resources in Classical Education.”

I used to feel much the same as Cynthia about having my children read ancient greek literature. I feel very much differently after delving into the CiRCE resources. I now see that the Greeks can bring us right up to the door of the cathedral, as it were, but not quite get us inside, which Christ does in his finished work. The Greeks came super close (in Acts 17, Paul quotes their poets and talks to them about the "unknown God" that they have worshipped). They believed that truth existed, they could know it, and could communicate it to others. We can learn much from them. I WISH I could link here to an article that is the transcript of a beautiful talk Angelina Stanford brought to the latest CiRCE conference, but it's not online. Soon, her talk should be available on audio at the CiRCE website. It's called "The Distorted Image."

So I think that many profitable discussions can be had with Classical students by having them find the similarities or differences from the greek myths to the redemption story we see in the Bible and then be able to see how they fell short. I think those would be very profitable discussions indeed.

But I love that quote about classical education being linked to farming. It's very human and it's very real, not industrial and utilitarian.

SarahD said...

The Distorted Image audio is now available:[]=22&term_node_tid_depth_1[]=567&sort_bef_combine=created+DESC

More on reading and studying the classics from a Christian perspective in Peter Leithart's book, Heroes of the City of Man.