Book Review: The Liberal Arts Tradition by Kevin Clark and Ravi Scott Jain

The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical EducationThe Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education by Kevin Clark

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


I had high hopes for The Liberal Arts Tradition and Clark and Jain did not disappoint.

I loved the way they made education – paideia – part of an integrated Christian life rooted in piety and fed by music and the gymnastic.  The paradigm of Wonder leading to Worship leading to Work leading to Wisdom is one that can be used in all of life. The chapter on Theology is a masterpiece helping me see how Theology, the queen of sciences, undergirds and forms all other elements of education.

This is a book of education philosophy, so while I can catch glimpses of how it all works, its main failing is the *how* … the concrete is there for the teacher to build on the foundations.

Don’t let the length of time it took me to read this concern you, I took a long break from all serious reading for no apparent reason.  This book could be read much more quickly.  I did bog down in the chapter on Philosophy (Natural, Moral, and Metaphysic) where every sentence was beyond my comprehension, but the rest of the book was approachable and readable. 

I loved the two illustrations that bookend the book; a tree (planted by streams of living water?) and the climbing of a hill (to Wisdom, Grace, and Virtue) helped me to see how the ideas built on one another.

Highly Recommended to Educators of all kinds. Be prepared to be stretched.

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Look for passages I’ve quoted here under my “The Liberal Arts Tradition” Tag.

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