Biblical and Classical Civilizations
Omnibus is primarily a reading course. Our purpose can be understood under the heading of ‘copious preparation’. At one time all finely educated people understood the lay of Western literature in a broad sense, and could find the particular histories, stories, and ideas from our shared cultural treasure when the occasion demanded. We will begin the lifelong journey here in Omnibus I cultivating the habit and enjoyment of learning through reading great books. Our reading list includes the important works of Western Theology, History, and Literature. Our goal is to become ‘well read’ and conversant – copious in our engagement with the inherited literature.
Did I mention that we will read a lot? This classical approach to literature/history/theology is dependent upon the student catching the breeze and sailing along before it – ‘it’ being the great conversation of the world. In order to do this, the student needs to learn how to read these works in a way that goes beyond what we mean by ‘comprehension’. Understanding the type of book, the author’s problems in writing the book, the terms, propositions and arguments of the book and finally its point; its reason for being, are all key to extracting the goodness (or maybe badness), and adding these things to our own conversation.
The class is not merely a lot of information – it is a lot of reading practice.
The overview of Omnibus I
Readings will be taken from the Veritas Press Reading List
Theology: The student will-
Demonstrate an understanding of ancient wisdom literature.
Identify the problems of theodicy, and bad things that happen to good people.
Contrast the Greek gods with the true God, and contrast divine with the mundane.
Discuss bravery and the state of warfare.
Apply the Psalms to every day situations, and investigate worship in its form.
Deal with the possibilities of righteous government.
Apply the Hippocratic oath to the times, considering the Godly purpose.
Learn of goodness, truth, and beauty as perceived by Plato and Aristotle.
Apply biblical ethics in the study of Aristotle.
Study the origins of the canon and its relationship to the apocrypha.
Discuss the distortions of various world views as they depart from the Christ centered teleos.
Learn of the consequences of man’s lost estate in conceptions of science and art.
Identify cultural anthropology, and understand its modern application.
Apply natural law to ethics, coming to grips with the ‘righteous pagan’.
We will follow the development of Mesopotamia, Babylon and Assyria.
We will follow Israel, and their dealings with Egypt.
We will investigate the world of the Greeks, with their philosophy and government, as well as their war with Persia.
We will work through the origin of Rome, its stages of development, world empire and decline.
We will encounter the revealed promise of the Gospel in the advent and work of Christ.
We will study Hebrew literature, history and poetry.
We will read and recite epic poetry of Homer.
We will learn the structure and invention of ‘histories’ with Herodotus, and contrast his work with modern histories.
We will begin to work with drama in its early Greek form, reading Aeschylus and Sophocles.
We will contrast early Greek drama with Shakespeare as he writes of ancient historical characters.
We will read C.S. Lewis together and understand the literary types and structures gathered in his work that relate to our other studies.
A notebook to keep three-hole punched handouts is required, and a small ‘commonplace’ notebook to keep interesting quotes and observations are necessary.
See the attached book list and schedule for the materials and plan of reading.
Five class sessions per week of 60 minutes each. Approximately 3.5 hours per week of home work (primarily reading). Students will keep a reading log to plan and record their reading projects.
The Omnibus class is not complicated, but it is vigorous. Students will be required read, write, and discuss. Tests and quizzes are usually open book/ open note events, sometimes completed as group projects. Oral participation is not only a part of the grade, but helps the student to acquire the ideas from the reading assignments.