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Good literature broadens our perspective, shines a light on the good and the evil in mankind,
and forces readers to ask themselves what they might do instead.

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Good literature gets a bad rap these days. More and more often, I read about the classics being jettisoned from reading lists at school, and I grieve that children will miss their timeless lessons. Self-knowledge and empathy are only two of the byproducts of reading the classics because the best literature of the ages broadens our perspective, shines a light on the good and the evil of mankind, and forces readers to ask themselves, “What would I do in this situation?”

We know that the classics are good literature because they survived. In the ages before the printing press, only the greatest works were considered worthy of the expense and labor of copying them by hand. We have Virgil’s Aeneid but not Ennius’ Annales because Virgil wrote a better epic, for example.

Not that other, more modern stories do not give us something to think about. Often these stories contain classical allusions, however, and readers are impoverished by not recognizing them. By the time my tenth graders read Dante’s Divine Comedy, they have already read Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, as well as Virgil’s Aeneid, and they will tell you that echoes of these works fill its pages and make the Comedy much more meaningful because they understand the author’s intent.

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Knowing the power of story, we at Faith Christian School provide the tools needed for students to read deeply and carefully, mining these works for the treasures they contain, in hopes of training them to become free and sovereign persons in their own right, loving God’s truth.

- Esther Knight, Humanities Teacher and Thesis Sage

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