This list was created in March of 2005 by Carol Hepburn (List Moderator). Initially, her desire was to read the 'great books' of Western Civilization and wondered (rather innocently) if anyone else would be interested in joining her. She posted to the Ambleside Online and Charlotte Mason discussion lists and much to her surprise, several readers expressed an interest in participating. In very short order a group list was setup at Yahoo and a reading schedule created.
About The Moderator
Carol Hepburn is a former home schooling mother who studied the "great books" during the course of her college studies. Through her degree program she came to love the study of Humanities (History, Art, Music, Literature and Philosophy). Her son is now a college-student and she no longer home schools. Carol shares her love of 'great books' with her English Literature students at Grand Canyon University.
Statement of Faith
Many people have inquired if this study group maintains a statement of faith or a biblical standpoint as a guideline for discussion and study of these books. The short answer is yes and no. While Carol is a Christian, she believes in creating a spirit of study without placing specific boundaries on the members/participants (other than her strict code of ethics when it comes to email and group discussion lists). The Areté study loop is open to all interested readers and while predominately Christian, there is no 'faith based' requirement to join. We welcome readers of all faiths and backgrounds. However, please note that the purpose of this group is to read and discuss the great books of Western Civilization through a Biblical Perspective (see below).
The term "Biblical Worldview" has become popular recently and means different things to different people. In an effort to provide some standard measurement, this group list endeavors to study the 'great books' of our civilization through a Biblical Worldview or perspective. This means that we use the Bible as our standard and maintain the position that God is Creator of the Universe and Author of all life. Everything we read and study we use for edification (understanding and learning); therefore, everything we read must be viewed with the Bible as our starting point in time and place.
Why We Choose to Read and Study Classical Literature
Our goal in studying Classical Literature will be:
- to learn to listen and to read carefully (slowly and purposefully)
- to learn to think clearly and to learn to express oneself persuasively
- to comprehend our position in space, time, and culture and our relationship to other places, other times, and other people
- to appreciate and learn from the differences between our own time and place and those of other cultures
- to enjoy a wider range of beauty as we widen our exposure to great works of literature
- to devote oneself to continued learning, using the tools of learning acquired in the previous five points
- to evaluate and ascribe the proper significance to all of the above in the light of a biblical perspective
- to construct and defend a coherent, biblical worldview as a result of our on-going education
A Community of Learning
Our desire on the Areté Classical Study list is to create a spirit of sharing and discussion where everyone is welcome to post comments, thoughts and opinions on the books we read. As such we do ask that every post be respectful and that all comments are made without causing offense to other readers. We understand that our readers perspective will vary according to their upbringing and their religious beliefs. It is therefore imperative that we show respect at all times and that we remember to pose our questions in a thoughtful manner worthy of intellectual discovery.
The Books and Content
Some of the classical books we will read will have adult themes and content. This may cause discomfort to some readers who feel that it is inappropriate to read or study classical books. We understand that tolerance of such themes and content will vary and therefore there is no pressure to read any book listed or to participate in the associated discussion. We do offer the following caveat: the books listed are those considered to be GREAT BOOKS and deemed through the test of time to contain significant value for intellectual study. We believe that there is value in studying the culture and the beliefs of the peoples and nations in our past and that through persistent study of these books today we can gain a deeper understanding of our modern world. It is only through our dedication to this study and our pursuit of self-education that we will be able to defend our own faith and biblical viewpoint when called upon to comment or expound on the significance of these great works.
We hope you will consider joining us as we study the great minds and masterpieces of our civilization. It is an education you will not want to miss!
About The Program Coordinator
Carol Hepburn has been a life-long learner. She has loved reading classical literature since she was a child. Although she always felt her public school education lack sufficiency, Carol found great enjoyment in studying literature and art. Her current interests are in education, teaching, and in language studies. Carol home educated her only child through high school using the online classically-inspired curriculum, Ambleside Online.
Carol holds a Bachelors of Art degree in English (European Studies), a Masters of Art degree in English Literature, and she is working toward a PhD in Communication. She currently works as an adjunct English and Communications Instructor for Grand Canyon University and Arizona Christian University. In her spare time, she studies languages (currently brushing up on her French), and she plays the cello. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her college-age son, and her two adorable cats.
Carol welcomes any questions or comments about this group. Feel free to email her.