Why Study Greek Myths?

Question: I have questions about the study of Greek myths. I find many of the stories disturbing, and my children do as well. Can you please help me understand why we should require classical students to study the Greek myths?

c085Our answer: This is a very, very good question, and the answer to it gets right at the heart of why we are promoting a classical Christian education movement, not just a Christian education movement.

Right now, Evangelicals often send their kids to public schools, praying that their kids survive, despite much of the current educational baloney. While we believe that the problems in public schools are so extensive that kids should not be there, we are not “fundamentalists” in the sense that we want to create retreatist enclaves: we still want kids to be culturally conversant with unbelievers and to have a knowledge of Western civilization and the context in which men like Paul, Luther, and C.S. Lewis wrote. This means knowing history from before 1776, literature from before Narnia, and theology from before Billy Graham.

We are not doing this because we like the Greek myths or because kids should adore the classics. They shouldn’t: Achilles in The Iliad pouts on the beaches of Troy for the majority of Homer’s epic. In The Aeneid, Aeneas gives colossally lame excuses for abandoning Dido after marrying her. The Greek myths include a lot of stories that are not for kids, as do Grimm’s Fairy Tales. You can see rape and gore in more mature tellings than ours, and we should rejoice that the Gospel has transformed the world. (On the other hand, many of the Greek myths are well told and have a fairy-tale quality, so they are not on the level of, say, Gilgamesh or Theogony).

Continue reading

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Aeneas the Failed Priest

Aeneas’ Religious Leadership and Roman Sacrificial Ritual in the Aeneid

by Samuel Bussey

Sam pasfoto       In the Aeneid, Virgil’s hero Aeneas faces numerous hardships and misfortunes before he can bring his gods to Latium and found a city.1 His goal is both political and religious in nature, and after the fall of Troy he becomes both the political and religious leader of his people.2 He is responsible for maintaining the pax deorum or peace of the gods, which for the Romans was a necessary prerequisite to enjoying the favour of the gods in their endeavours.3 The pax deorum is maintained by a strict adherence to ritual stoicheia, or temporary principles of religious training. These come in the form of taboos or restrictions for humanity, while humanity lives in the minority under guardians or stewards, in this case the Greco-Roman gods.4 Thus, from a Roman perspective, every misfortune they suffered could be traced back to a breach of these ritual principles. On numerous occasions, the misfortunes that befall the Trojans in the Aeneid are a direct result of Aeneas unintentionally violating the ritual stoicheia of Roman sacrifice. In the light of Roman religious practices, Aeneas’ religious leadership and his violations of Roman ritual stoicheia have important implications for our understanding of both the Aeneid and the Roman view of sacrifice. Continue reading

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Relativity and Poetic Knowledge

by Daniel Ryan, Physics teacher for Logos Online School

This year I decided teach something about Einstein’s theory of Relativity to my Physics class but didn’t know a thing about it. I had avoided Relativity because it sounded a bit like Relativism, the denial of absolute truth, and I wanted none of that in my science. When, however, I began to study its basic concepts, I found that Relativity fit nicely into my Christian beliefs about the limits of man’s knowledge and the importance of metaphor in epistemology.

One of the starting assumptions of Relativity is that all motion is relative. If I say a horse is moving, I probably mean that the horse is moving across the ground. If that horse were trotting on a large treadmill, he would still be moving in reference to the revolving belt, but not moving from the perspective of any observers. Motion is only meaningful if you have a frame of reference which puts the moving thing into a relationship with something else.

Press this a little further, though, and relative motion becomes a problem. 

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By derivative work: Pbroks13 (talk) Elevator_gravity2.png: Markus Poessel (Mapos) (Elevator_gravity2.png) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

If you wanted to describe the motion of the moon, you’d say it is moving around the earth. Very good. The earth is your reference point. But the earth, too, is moving, dragging the moon with it. From the perspective of the sun, the moon is making a loopy flower-like motion, which complicates moon’s motion considerably. Which frame of reference is the real one?

It gets worse. The sun, it turns out, is moving too, and this leaves the curious mind asking where it is all really moving. What is the true backdrop against which we can measure motion and be done with it? Continue reading

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Light of the Nations

by Amanda Ryan, Rhetoric teacher for Logos Online School

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2016 of The Classical Difference magazine, a publication of the ACCS.

Why classical?

EducereClassical Christian schools are popping up in various countries around the globe — Australia, Nigeria, and the Bahamas, to name a few. While the classical method is beginning to spread abroad, it has found good soil in Asia and is particularly taking root in Indonesia.

According to Maryani Budiman, the head of school at Cahaya Bangsa Classical School in Padalarang, Indonesia, the classical method challenges students to question and think critically, skills that are not emphasized within Indonesia’s current system of education. She says that Indonesia’s educational methods, in both public and private schools, are uniform at every level. “They do not really educate the students because the education stays the same.” The system of education in Asia is known for stressing rote learning and rigorous testing. Classroom culture is typified by the idea of the teacher pouring out knowledge and the student simply receiving it. “From elementary up to high school,” Maryani states, “we just stay in grammar school, in the grammar style of learning.” As Dorothy Sayers might describe it, these schools are stuck in the poll parroting stage of education. Continue reading

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We Always Need a Brother

by Douglas Wilson. This article was originally posted on www.desiringgod.org

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Modern men have a distinct tendency to think that we have to grapple with a number of things that are “new under the sun.” But from the fact that the ancient preacher had to make a point of refuting this peculiar idea (Ecclesiastes 1:9), it would seem that even this mistake is not new.

One of the assumptions we tend to make is that something called “technology” has somehow created this new thing called “distance learning,” and that we have to come up with some fancy new way of combating the new temptations that come with it. But these are not new temptations at all — they are ancient temptations. And if, as some of us suspect, the first few pages of Genesis were probably written by Adam (with Moses, of course, serving as editor), these temptations are almost literally as old as the hills.

Ephesians as Distance Learning

Think about it for a minute. In addition to the first pages of the Bible, to take another example at random, the book of Ephesians is a form of distance learning. The apostle Paul had certain thoughts in his mind, which he arranged to have recorded on parchment or papyrus. That letter was then entrusted to a courier or couriers, who utilized things like donkeys, ships, and wagons to cross a great distance of many miles so that the letter to the Ephesians might be received by them. Then someone unrolled it, stood up in the assembly, deciphered in his mind what was written, and read it aloud to the assembled. As he did so, the same thoughts that Paul had been thinking in a distant prison cell were duplicated in numerous minds throughout the room.

That is distance learning. Not only so, but that same book of Ephesians traverses the distance of centuries every time one of us sits down and reads it. That is greater distance learning. Continue reading

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Under Pressure

by Will Boyd

wbDid you know that your shoulders support 14.7 lbs per square inch of the earth’s atmosphere? That’s right! You are carrying a burden even when your backpack is in the closet. It rises from your shoulders and extends to the edge of the atmosphere 80 km above sea level.

This semester a team of intrepid budding scientists and I have been delving into the physical science of the magnificent sphere the good Lord has given us to care for and call home. We have been measuring our desks in cubits, peeling back the layers of science involved in the climate change debate, and most recently building our own aneroid and water barometers.

Barometers measure air pressure. Rather than air pressure only weighing us down through the force of gravity, air pressure pushes on you and me and all things on the earth in all directions equally. Thanks to this phenomenon it is fairly easy to build an aneroid thermometer. The air trapped under the latex balloon in the homemade barometer above will expand and contract proportionally to the air pressure in the room. The balloon expands and the pressure gauge (drinking straw with quilting pin glued to the end) drops. The balloon contracts and the pressure gauge goes up. So far this week the air pressure here has fluctuated by about 6 mm according to my aneroid barometer.

The water barometer functions under the same principle but uses water displacement to show changes in air pressure.

I love the barometer project because it gets students thinking about the tools of science and puts them in the driver’s seat where they collect real data without a pre-determined outcome. I wonder if we can measure air pressure in cubits?

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Plato’s Cave and Our Modern Education System

by Scott Postma

spI’m a product of the American public education system. Probably, you are too. Although my education was adequate to prepare me for an entry-level job in the modern world, it didn’t take long to realize I had missed something significant. At the time I couldn’t put it into words, but I realized my education had failed to prepare me for the more complex nuances of life because it had failed to educate my soul. It was years later when I was studying classics in seminary that I finally gained a category of thought for this experience and had a place in my mind in which I could contemplate this nebulous reality.

For me, what opened the door to this new ability to think about the purpose and method of education was Plato’s allegory of the cave. The allegory is a story in The Republic (written 350-400 years before Christ), and is fundamentally an analysis of human education—or more accurately, its imitation of a true education. Plato, through his protagonist, Socrates, is trying to determine what justice in the city looks like and whether or not what he discovers is actually a virtuous idea. Throughout The Republic, Socrates discourses with various interlocutors to work these matters out, and eventually concludes that justice in the city—and by proxy, in the human soul—is possible, but not probable. He explains the reason for this: there is a fundamental injustice in the nature of the human condition that cannot be resolved. His solution is a radical one that calls for a revolution to reeducate the youth by expelling everyone ten years old and up from the city.

In the allegory, Socrates describes human beings as though they were in an underground cave-like dwelling. Having had their legs and necks in bonds since childhood, these cave-dwellers have been forced to face a wall in which shadows of various artifacts are regularly cast from “a fire burning far above and behind them” (think of shadow puppets). The prisoners name the things they see as they go by and give one another honors for being the quickest to name them. Additionally, they hear echoes of the voices of the puppeteers who are behind a wall and suppose them to be the voices of the shadows they think are realities. This bizarre way of life is normal to those who know nothing different. Continue reading

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Why Teach (or Learn) Latin?

laOur neighbors are over for Thanksgiving dinner and one of them asks me “so — what do you do for work?” I look up at her, smiling: “I’m a teacher for an online school.” Continuing the small talk, my neighbor asks what I teach. “Latin?!” she questions with a puzzled look, “that’s…so… interesting! Why Latin?”

These are the sorts of conversations that I have at dinner parties, the grocery store, and Bible studies. Yes, Latin is unusual. Yes, Latin is a dead language. Yes, I willingly (and happily!) chose to teach this unusual and dead language to online middle and high school students. So why Latin? Why would I ever want to spend hours upon hours studying the language, let alone teach it? I’m sure many of you have asked yourself the same question — maybe “useless” has even crossed your mind: why would I want to sign up for a class to learn a dead language? I once heard that Latin is not dead, it is immortal. We must not think of Latin as a useless language merely because it’s no longer spoken. Rather, Latin is timeless—everywhere we look, whether it be in government buildings, in a theology book, or in your wallet — Latin is there.  Continue reading

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Logos Online School Class of 2015

We’re proud to have awarded diplomas to these 3 bright students on June 1st:

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Allyson Bailey

Allyson’s plans for college include attending Virginia Tech in the Fall and graduating with a degree in Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise.  With this degree, she can go into multiple directions, one of which is furthering her education and getting a doctorate in Physical Therapy, specializing in vestibular therapy (something she has had to undergo as she has recovered from three traumatic brain injuries).  Another option would be to obtain a different medical degree in Physiatry or some other medical field.  Either way, she would ultimately like to provide hope and help to brain-injured patients and their families.

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Mariya Golub

Mariya’s future plans, as of this point, consist of doing college through an online program called CollegePlus and finding a part-time job alongside her studies. Although she is still undecided, she is aiming to pursue a double major in Liberal Arts and Biology, and perhaps afterwards, study for a nursing degree. Mariya is intending to stay active in her Church, particularly by serving the youth, and wherever the Lord plants her. Whatever happens in her future, one thing she knows will always be on her agenda, and that is to love and obey the Lord, and teach others to do the same.

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Megan Marshall

Megan was born in Houston, TX. She began her classical Christian education in third grade at Regents Academy in Nacogdoches, TX. During her education, she enjoyed the Drama Class where she was able to really show off her facial expressions. Megan was able to participate and achieve many awards through the TAPPS Program (Texas Association of Private Parochial Schools). She was also very active in the school’s sports department. Megan played soccer and basketball and was named Most Valuable Player multiple times for track and cross country. Megan has always had a love for photography, but only started to develop her talent for it in her last year in Nacogdoches. After she moved to Texarkana, she was very blessed to find Logos Online School. The teaching she has received at Logos has helped to develop her love for God. Megan received teachings from Tyler Antkowiak, Daniel Ryan (both of whom are in Moscow), and Jackie Amorelli (who is in New York). She made many friends online through the school. She is a little sad to leave high school, but could not be more excited to move on! Megan will be attending Texas A&M University in Texarkana on the Presidential Scholarship and will be pursuing her dream of becoming a high school math teacher.

To learn more about our curriculum and diploma track, visit our website.

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