Classical Rhetoric Tutorial
Rhetoric, a central subject in classical education for over two thousand years and the capstone of the Trivium in the liberal arts, is the art of organizing knowledge into a systematic, coherent whole for the purpose of effective communication.
Why study it?
Rhetoric teaches communication: not only the ability to persuade others, but more importantly, the ability to analyze the attempts of others (whether politicians, news media, or books) to persuade us, whether those attempts are manipulative or benevolent. And
Rhetoric teaches wisdom: even if one never has a career involving public speaking, the art of prioritizing and ordering one's knowledge is practice for doing the same in all of life. And that is, as Thomas Aquinas says, the art of wisdom, the art of judging and ordering all the parts of our lives to achieve our chief end.
What is distinctive about this course?
course, like others, surveys the history and basic
principles of classical rhetoric from authors like
Aristotle, Quintilian, and Augustine, along with
the skill of determining the structure of spoken
communication (speeches, debates, arguments) and
of written works of various kinds. But this
course, like other Schola courses, is based on
reading and discussing primary sources rather than
modern textbooks about the primary sources.
Textbooks have a valuable place but Schola is
about reading the original works. This course also
focuses on discussion of theory and it's
application rather than practice. For that, local
speech and debate clubs are highly recommended.
But remember, a solid grounding in theory is
necessary, and that is what this course provides.
The course is
best suited to students sixteen years old and up,
who have had the equivalent of Great Books 1
(Greek) and 2 (Roman). Adults are welcome!