The Quarterly Newsletter of Wittenberg Academy
The Ninety-Sixth Thesis
Chaplain's Corner- p. 6
What is Ideal Humanity?
Rev. Larry Beane
What We're Reading: - P. 25
Featured Teacher -P. 19
On the Road with Wittenberg Academy- p. 21
Poetry- p. 22
Song- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
From our Teachers- P. 8-16
The Art of Mathematics
Why America needs Classically Educated Confessional Lutherans
Teaching Logic I: What is Logic and Why Do We Teach It?
The word catechesis comes from the Greek katēchēsis from katēchein meaning to teach.Deuteronomy 6:1-9 and Matthew 28:19-20 give us two examples both of Scripture’s foundational command to teach the faith given in Baptism and that Catechesis is life.In these is shown that Catechesis is life for all of life.
Both the Deuteronomy text and the Matthew text couple teaching with the idea of guarding or keeping.Certainly we believe that guarding or keeping the faith is the work of the Holy Spirit.Yet, the Holy Spirit works through means— chiefly the ongoing activity of the Christian life: Baptism, Confessing the Faith, Prayer, Confession of Sins and Forgiveness, the Mutual Conversation and Consolation of the Brethren, Hearing the Word, Receiving the Eucharist, and Serving our Neighbor in love.In Catechesis, we learn Christian doctrine and we learn ultimately that Christian doctrine is the Christian life.
The Christian life, guarding and keeping the faith, is essential to those who have been marked as “one redeemed by Christ the crucified” (Lutheran Service Book, p. 268).This marking sets us apart, but it also puts a target on our backs.Satan wants nothing more than to destroy the faith of a Christian and he does this most effectively by enticing the Christian away from the activity of the Christian life.For this reason, Catechesis, in which we learn about and live the Christian life, is non-negotiable for a Christian.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 gives us the model for a Catechetical life: “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”When you walk, when you lie down, and when you rise indicates Catechesis does not cease during our earthly life and is indeed part of the rhythm of life as much as breathing and a heartbeat.
Insofar as Catechesis is life as much as breathing, a Catechetical life cannot be simply taking a class as a young person and checking “Catechesis” off the list of life accomplishments.As the Psalmist says, “We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done” (ESV, Psalm 78:4).Catechesis is not something out of which we grow, but it is our life from conception to natural death.
In Catechesis, we learn to hear and listen to God’s language.We hear first and then we speak (e.g. James 1:19).We learn to pray and then we pray (e.g. Luke 11:1).We receive the faith and then we confess that faith (e.g. Romans 10:9-10).A Catechetical life is lived out in every activity/vocation of life because there is no separation from the Catechetical life and life.They are one and the same.Deuteronomy 6, again, models this reality in that the words commanded by God are not only in our hearts and taught, but they are also lived out “posted on the doorposts” and “on your hand and between your eyes.”
Catechesis begins in the home.The hymns sung, the Catechism recited, the Scripture read, the Sacrament of the Altar received, the faith confessed, the Absolution received, and the Conversation and Consolation had by the brethren are the Catechetical life, yet they also catechize life: life before birth, life before reading, life before natural death.The Catechist is still a Catechumen and the Catechumen catechizes even as he learns because the Word being told to the coming generation is efficacious. +JCB
Mrs. Jocelyn C. Benson serves as Wittenberg Academy's Head Teacher.
Lutheran Service Book. Concordia Pub. House, 2006.
The Lutheran Study Bible: English Standard Version. Concordia Publishing House, 2016,The Lutheran study Bible: English Standard Version.
From the Head Teacher's Desk- p. 3
Mrs. Jocelyn C. Benson
2019 Witttenberg Academy Family Retreat Memories
and 2021 Family Retreat Announcement- P. 26-27
Registration is Open
for the Trinity 2019-20 Term!
2020-21 Registration Opened on March 15!
Students are welcome to pursue a Wittenberg Academy Diploma or take classes à la carte.
"Wittenberg Academy combines the best of a physical school education with the best of homeschooling. You will meet people from across the country (and even the world). You can easily discuss questions, ideas, or perceived problems in your topic of study with other students and your teacher. Yet at the same time, you have the freedom to pursue personal interests and engage in activities for which most students don’t have the time. Finally, you will learn much more than many students, while having a lot of fun along the way."
~ WA Student on why others should Attend WA
What is Ideal Humanity?
Classical education is training in the Liberal Arts. Classical education is not vocational training. And yet we are also champions of vocational training because we are advocates of the Doctrine of Vocation.
What does this mean?
God works in the world through vocations (Latin:vocare, to call). All honorable vocations are godly, and it is God Himself who calls each one of us into a calling (or callings!). Doctor and lawyer are well-paid and prestigious vocations. Many parents desire that their children aim for these callings, because they will bring wealth to the family. Martin Luther's father groomed his son for a career in law from young boyhood, as having wealthy children was a kind of 16th century pension plan. To Hans Luther's dismay, his son Martin took a different path, and followed another calling: as pastor and professor.
If the entire world were only comprised of pastors, professors, doctors, and lawyers, there would be no-one to be fathers and mothers, no-one to invent new forms of technology, no-one to clean streets, remove garbage, keep the books, run the businesses, milk the cows, grow the food, repair the plumbing, or teach the children. And so God calls each one of His creatures into a beautiful diverse tapestry of callings.
But what about liberal arts education? Didn't progressive educators and theorists a century ago serve the Doctrine of Vocation by reforming the old, stuffy elitist curriculum of Latin and rhetoric and history, and replacing it with more useful things to getting jobs in the modern world? After all, nobody speaks Latin. Surely, Spanish or Industrial Arts are better uses of our limited time in the classroom. Surely Latin is a relic of the old racist, elitist past in which indolent aristocrats had the freedom to learn esoteric subjects while the real people learned how to farm and make barrels, and later, to repair automobiles and write computer programs!
Are we against vocations and vocational education? By no means!
In fact, many advocates of classical education disagree with the modern idea that everyone should go to college - especially today where the university experience often involves four or more years of removal from the economy, being taught political and religious propaganda at odds with our Christian worldview, racking up tens of thousands of dollars in debt, and in the end, not really being trained for what the world really needs: the vocational training that universities do not actually provide!
By contrast, many of us in the classical education community are skeptical of the modern university. It may be the right solution for an individual young man or woman, or it may be the right thing to avoid it. There is no one-size-fits-all for God's diverse array of creatures filling a nearly infinite economy of vocations!
And so, having received a classical, Liberal Arts education at a high school like Wittenberg Academy, a student may opt for university (prepared for the academic rigor and likely well-ahead of other students who are not classically-trained), or for vocational/technical school (prepared for vocational life, equipped with facility with language, able to understand complex instructions and logical constructions, able to lead and communicate and make ethical decisions firmly rooted in the Christian worldview). He may also opt for service in the family, church, or some other vocation not primarily driven by money.
We do not teach young people according to the classical model because we oppose vocational training and look down our noses at "getting a job." To the contrary, we celebrate the Doctrine of Vocation in its fullness, and hope that our students see their careers as more than mere jobs, but rather as divine callings!
We believe that each person is more fit for any vocation - be it in an office or under an automobile, be it in the courtroom or the nursery - if he is truly educated in the Liberal Arts. For no matter his calling, according to the Christian worldview, each person is a servant, and each servant is also free. Free men need the education fitting for liberty before he is free to be a servant of his fellow free men. The liberal in "Liberal Arts" is etymologically related to both the Latin words for "freedom" (libertas) and "children" (liberi) - not to mention the idea of the book (liber). We believe that the previous century's progressive education experiment has been a failure, making men fit for neither freedom nor service - as the progressive model lacks the understanding of the Christian paradox, pointed out by Luther, that a Christian is both servant of all, and lord of all.
The Liberal Arts are traditionally linked with those objects of study known as the Humanities. This is because classical education is a sort of vocational training for what it means to be truly and fully human. We educate in a humane way, not merely training young people to be functional units or cogs in a machine. To be human is to be a unique creature of God, of infinite value, to be created male or female, to be crafted for service in whatever vocation or vocations to which we are called. But the one calling that every person shares is the vocation to be human. Whatever our nationality, language, family situation, wealth, health, or specific station in life - we share the overarching vocation of our humanity.
To be human is corporeal, psychological, and spiritual. To be human is to both transcend our fleshly existence, and to be comfortable in it. To be human is to be rational (as opposed to brute beasts), and yet to also transcend rationality through recognition of heart and mind (as opposed to bloodless and soulless computer programs or robots). To be human is neither to despise our flesh, nor to disown that part of us that transcends it.
And so for all of us, teachers and students alike, education is firmly rooted in the vocational. It includes "job training" but also transcends this narrow view of what education is. Classical education is liberal; it is vocational, and above all, it is human. We don't go to school for the sake of merely "getting a job." We don't go to school for the sake of some abstract understanding of education. Rather, to call to mind a variation of a statement by the Roman philosopher Secena: "Non scholae sed vitae discimus" - we do not learn for school, but for life."
Pastor Larry Beane serves as Chaplain and a Paideia instructor for Wittenberg Academy.
This article was originally run in the Michaelmas 2017 edition of the Ninety-Sixth Thesis.
“There’s no point; I don’t get it. I’m just not a math person.” How many of us have heard this or something like it? Despite the fact that math is used almost daily, many students build themselves a wall when it comes to numbers.
Mathematics is a subject that, at some point, many students lose interest in.Once they’ve lost interest, math tends to become much harder. Current curricula has taken the life out of math. No matter how many pictures or graphics are on the page, a sheet of addition problems is still a page to get through with no obvious end in sight. The numbers have been separated from their meaning and their origins.
Part of the issue is that math is isolated. For years, perhaps even decades, math has been esteemed by academics as sterile. It’s consistent because there are so few, if any, living organisms mucking about in it and changing discoveries. For centuries, two plus two has been four, no matter how many elephants are alive, people have water, or how the lava cools after it leaves the volcano. Which in the eyes of my seven year-old, makes it boring. Easy to understand, giving her a good foundation for later learning, but boring. After all, when was the last time you took a picture of the foundation of your house?
One of the hallmarks of a classical education is modeling from a master. When students learn about rhyme, often great writers or works are held up as examples like Shakespeare or Beowulf. No art class is complete without discussion of an artist or famous work like Van Gough’sStarry Night. In math class, these masters have been stripped away, or at least delayed so long that students are already past the point of no return.Why not introduce even our grammar school students to Fibonacci and his easily understood sequence to students learning addition? They can learn about how he was living in Egypt when a new numeral system came from India and revolutionized commerce. Showing students how math has literally changed the world can certainly help it jump off the page.
At Wittenberg Academy, we are working to embrace the history of math. In some classes that manifests as mathematician biographies. In others, it involves introducing some more obscure fields of math such as topology. Or even working through the Calculus battle between Leibniz and Newton.
A major step we’re taking is the gradual adoption ofMath for the Nonmathematicianby Morris Kline. This text not only contains a brief historical introduction to each branch of study, but with the additional use of primary sources, such asEuclid’s ElementsandElements of Algebraby Leonhard Euler,Math for the Nonmathematicianwill guide students through their entire course of mathematical study at Wittenberg. This should help them understand the big picture of math in their lives, as well as in the past. As we adopt this text, we as equipping the students with a map through math and the guidance of masters along the way, letting students see how an assignment of reducing fractions can eventually transform into a mathematical symphony.
Mrs. Rebecca McCreary serves as a Quadrivium instructor at Wittenberg Academy.
This article was originally run in the Michaelmas 2016 edition of the Ninety-Sixth Thesis.
The Art of Mathematics
I do not know about you, but I am sort of a political junkie.The results of this past election had me a bit disheartened.This was not because President Barack Obama won re-election nor because of any other specific candidate winning or losing.This was not because the Republicans maintained control of the House of Representatives or because the Democrats maintained the majority party of the Senate.I am disheartened because just about every time an issue that is important to us as Christians was on the ballot or was a major theme of a campaign, the side of that issue that we Christians support lost.There were ballot initiatives or constitutional amendments regarding Natural Marriage versus same sex “marriage” in four states.The same sex “marriage” side won all four races in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington.This was a first as Natural Marriage was undefeated in 32 states prior to this election cycle.There were also two candidates for United States Senate in Missouri and Indiana who lost largely due to making ignorant comments regarding cases of rape and possible exceptions for abortion.
So what does any of this have to do with Confessional Lutheranism you ask? It makes this Lutheran wonder why Roman Catholics and Evangelicals get a front row seat in the political scene and Lutherans seem to step to the side.When was the last time that a Confessional Lutheran leader was asked to be on Fox News or CNN to discuss a political issue?We certainly can stand beside our brothers and sisters in Christ in other denominations on issues such as defending Natural Marriage and protecting the Sanctity of Human Life from conception to natural death.However we (Lutherans) have so much to offer that others do not.First we have the doctrine of Two Kingdoms.I think we could bring this to the table and really unite those of differing religious backgrounds when it comes to governing the kingdom of the left.God’s Word guides our conscience in the voting booth and other places, but we primarily use natural law to serve as making decision for wise government.Second we have the doctrine of vocation.We as Christians serve our neighbor in the Family, in the State, and in the Church.If you have a chance, read the Table of Duties in the Small Catechism.I read the one Of Citizens after the election.God’s Word is more powerful than a two edged sword!We need civic leaders who truly know how to serve others.
Classical Education has an important role to play in our free society as well.I believe that the results of these elections have to do with generations of citizens not being taught the liberal arts.Whether you are liberal, conservative, Democrat, Republican, Independent, or Libertarian, you can bemoan with me the lack of liberal arts taught in our schools from elementary through college.We need to instruct our students in the languages of Latin, English, and Mathematics.They need to read the Great Books of the Western tradition.They need to learn grammar, logic, and rhetoric.They need to know history.All of the political battles we are having now have been had before.How far do we take socialism?What is the role of the military?How do we take care of the poor?Our youth need to learn how to think!
What if we have candidates whose consciences are guided by the Word of God, who understand that natural law should guide governing, that there is a distinction between church and state, who understand vocation, who know history, and who know how to speak and debate clearly and intelligently?I think we at Wittenberg Academy and those of us who support classical Lutheran schools and home educators have a great opportunity to educate many of the next generation of political leaders.Government is a First Article gift.We should give thanks to God for giving us a government in which we as citizens can participate.
Mr. Justin Benson serves as President and Vocation and Stewardship instructor at Wittenberg Academy.
This article was originally run in the November 2012 edition of the Ninety-Sixth Thesis.
Dorothy Sayers, in her famous essay The Lost Tools of Learning, wrote: “Neglect in formal logic in the curriculum is the root cause of nearly all those disquieting symptoms we have noted in the modern intellectual constitution.” Those disquieting symptoms to which Sayers refers are those she mentions at the outset: resisting propaganda and mass marketing, distinguishing between true scholarly writing and slip-shod writing, arguing well, defining terms and distinguishing other uses of the same term, following a sustained argument given by someone else, and the ability to learn on their own.
Modern education’s response to this is to teach “critical thinking skills.” The so-called critical thinking skills of modern education is a well-worn aphorism. It is on nearly ever syllabus ever written under the rationale and purpose of any given course of study: “to teach the student to think critically about . . . .” You fill in the blank.
Now if you were to ask fifty modern educators to define what critical thinking skills actually are and how they are to be taught and instilled in the minds of students, you’re sure to get fifty different answers, if you’re lucky to get any at all, which has led Martin Cothran of Memoria Press fame to state: “Critical thinking skills is a hoax.”
And it is. “Critical thinking skills” is a Siren song that woos society—parents, students, and teachers alike—into believing that there is an ultimate purpose, a goal in mind that is beneficial to society to what is being taught and learned. That point, that goal is to think and to think critically.
But this raises a question: To think critically about what? In other words, how can one teach, let alone learn, “critical thinking skills” when it can’t be certainly defined? And how can one think critically about a given thing when the nature of things, when universals and objectivity are at the outset denied? The answer is straightforward: You can’t. For this kind of thinking fosters the mentality that questions, differs, probes, and disagrees, but in a relativistic fashion. It thinks critically about proposed answers because it doubts that there are any real answers at all.
In this way modern education’s “critical thinking skills” becomes nothing other than the equivalent to saying, “Hi, how are you?” when seeing someone you know in passing. It just sounds good, and no one really wants the truth, especially if your answer is anything other than “fine.” That is why it’s an aphorism, a catchphrase that means whatever each individual teacher, parent, or student thinks is good and right. It’s an ambiguous term that allows for equivocation, and it explains why it is so popular. Because everyone is able to import his own meaning.
And so that is why we teach logic. It is the classical educator’s definition of and method for teaching real critical thinking skills. But if this is the case, then that means we must know what logic is, what real critical thinking skills are, and then what good, what benefit, it is to have them.
What Is Logic?
The best definition of logic, I think, comes from James Nance, logic instructor at The Logos School in Moscow, Idaho. He is not the only one to say this, but he has put into one sentence. Logic is the science and art of reasoning well. As a science, logic teaches the student to observe the human mind as it reasons so as to discover the laws and rules that govern the mind that reasons well. As an art, logic teaches the student to apply those laws in different situations, whether in speaking, listening, reading, or writing.
There are two main branches of logic: informal logic and formal logic. Informal logic teaches the defining of terms, the informal logical fallacies, and common sense reasoning. As classical educators, you are more than likely already teaching informal logic as you teach the liberal arts. You define terms, setting limits around words and concepts, so that these may be apprehended by the mind and applied elsewhere. You may have even discussed some of the informal logical fallacies, like circular reasoning or begging the question,ad hominem,post hoc ergo propter hoc, etc.
But formal logic is where the rubber really hits the road. Formal logic is the study of the form of arguments, their structure. Formal logic can also be divided into two branches: inductive and deductive. Inductive logic is the logic of the experimental and observational sciences and criminal forensics. It deals with arguments of likelihood and probability. It makes conclusions from specific facts or experience, but the conclusions of inductive arguments go beyond the premises because it states something about the whole of a thing by only observing some of the evidence. That is why it deals with likelihood and probability. Inductive arguments are either strong or weak, depending on how well the evidence supports the conclusion; how much evidence you have for the whole.
Deductive arguments, on the other hand, are either valid or invalid. If valid, the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises. If the premises are true, the conclusion must be true. The categorical (Aristotelian) syllogism is the most common form of deductive arguments. The classic example is “All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore, Socrates is mortal.” The argument is then changed into symbols so that it can be analyzed and proven valid or invalid by various rules, Venn diagrams, and counter examples. And so the syllogism above would become: All M is P. All S is M. Therefore, All S is P. The M stands for the middle term. The S stands for the subject of the conclusion, and the P stands for the predicate of the conclusion.
This is what Logic is. But what’s the value of teaching Categorical (Aristotelian) logic? What good, what benefit, is it to have this type of logic.
What Good Is Logic?
(What follows is based upon Peter Kreeft’s "Socratic Logic.")
You may be wondering: “What can I do with logic?” The answer is that logic can do something with you. Logic builds the mental habit of thinking in an orderly way. It gives us order. A course in logic does this, even if every detail learned is forgotten (which it won’t), just as learning Latin will make us more habitually aware of the structure of language even if you forget every particular Latin word and rule.
No course is more practical than logic, for no matter what you are thinking about, you are thinking, and logic orders and clarifies thinking. No matter what the content of thought is, it will be clearer when it has logical form. The principles of thinking logically can be applied to all thinking and to every field.
As mentioned earlier, logic studies the forms, the structures of thought. Thought has form and structure, too. Thought is not like a blank screen that receives its form only from the world that appears on it, as a movie screen receives a movie. A course in logic will show you the basic forms, the basic structures and the basic laws and rules of thought. It will help you put things into its proper order.
Second, logic has power: the power of proof and thus persuasion. Any power can be either rightly used or abused. The power of logic is rightly used to win the truth and defeat error; it is wrongly used to win the argument and defeat your opponent. Argument is to truth as fishing is to fish, or war to peace, or courtship to marriage.
The power of logic comes from the fact that it is the science and art of argument, of reasoning well. As Thomas Good wrote in his 1677 text, A Brief English Tract of Logick, “Logick hath its name from logos ratio, because it is an Art which teacher Reason and Discourse.” Or as Peter Ramus Martyr wrote in his 1574 book, Logicke, “Dialecticke, otherwise called Logicke, is an arte which teacheth to dispute well.”
Whether you use logic for right or wrong ends, it’s a powerful tool. No matter what our thought’s end or goal or purpose may be, it will attain that end more effectively if it is clearer and more logical. Even if you want to do something with logic rather than letting logic do something with you—even if you want to deceive others or toy with them—you need to know logic in order to be a successful sophist. You must be a real logician even to be a fake one.
We need authority as well as logic. But we need logic to test our authorities. We need authorities because no individual can discover everything autonomously. We all do in fact rely on human community, and therefore on the authority of others—parents, teachers, textbooks, experts, friends, history, and tradition—for a surpassingly large portion of what we know. And this is another reason we need logic: we need to have good reasons for believing our authorities, for in the end it is you the individual who must decide which authorities to trust. It is obviously foolish to buy from every peddler of ideas that knocks on your mind’s door. In fact, it’s impossible because they often contradict each other.
Which brings us to our next good: recognizing contradictions. One of the things you will learn in studying logic is exactly what contradiction means, how to recognize it, and what to do with it. Logic teaches us which ideas contradict each other. If we are confused about that, we will be either too exclusive, (that is, we will think that beliefs logically exclude each other when they don’t) or too inclusive, (that is, we will believe two things that cannot both be true).
When we consider two different ideas that seem to contradict each other, we need to know three things:
1) We need to know exactly what each one means. Only then can we know whether they really contradict each other or not.
2) And if they do, we need to know which one is true and which is false.
3) And we do this by finding reasons why one idea is true and another is false.
These are the three acts of the mind: understanding a meaning (simple apprehension), judging what is true, and reasoning. They are the answers to three questions: what is it, whether it is, and why it is. And these three acts of the mind are the three parts of logic that you learn in any logic course worth its salt.
Reading & Writing
Besides these fundamental goods, logic will help you with all your other courses, because logic will help you to read any book more clearly and effectively. And you are always going to be reading books. Books are the single most effective technological invention in the history of education. Peter Kreeft has said, “On the basis of over 40 years of full-time college teaching of almost 20,000 students at 20 different schools, I am convinced that one of the reasons for the steep decline in student’s reading ability is the decline in the teaching of traditional logic.”
Logic will also help you write more clearly and effectively, because clear writing and clear thinking are a packaged deal: the presence or absence of either one brings the presence or absence of the other. Muddled writing fosters muddled thinking, and muddled thinking fosters muddled writing. Clear writing fosters clear thinking, and clear thinking fosters clear writing. Common sense expects this, and scientific studies confirm it.
Even religion, though it goes beyond logic, cannot go against it; if it did, it would literally be unbelievable. And even though Maureen O’Hara inMiracle on 34th Street defined faith as, “believing what you know isn’t true,” we simply cannot believe an idea to be true once it has been proven to be false by valid logical proof. As Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, a proponent of Intelligent Design and author of Signature in the Cell and Darwin’s Doubt, has stated: “The heart cannot exult in what the mind rejects.” And so while it’s true that faith goes beyond what can be proved by logical reasoning alone, logic, however, can aid faith in at least three ways.
First, logic can often clarify what is believed, giving it order in the mind and defining it.
Second, logic can deduce the necessary consequences of what is believed, and apply it to different and difficult circumstances. (Romans 8 example).
Third, even if logical arguments cannot prove all that faith believes, they can give firmer reasons for faith than feeling, desire, mood, fashion, family or social pressure, conformity, or inertia.
There are even crucial social and political reason for studying logic. As Thomas Jefferson said, “In a republican nation, whose citizens are to be led by reason and persuasion and not by force, the art of reasoning becomes of first importance.” If only it were still so. But even the Declaration of Independence, as Dr. Mark Kalthoff, an LCMS layman and professor of History at Hillsdale College, has argued that the Declaration itself is not so much a declaration as it is an argument; a statement of reasons, a very long syllogism, for revolution. This can only happen where logic is known and used.
Our last reason for studying logic is the simplest and most important of all. It is that logic helps us to find truth, which is worth knowing for its own sake. Logic helps us do this by 1) demanding that we define our terms so that we understand what we mean, and 2) by demanding that we give good reasons, arguments, and proofs.
Truth is worth knowing for its own sake because it fulfills and perfects our minds, which is part of our very essence; what makes us distinctly human. Truth is to our minds what food is to our bodies.
In Book IV of his Ethics, Aristotle puts forth three reasons for pursuing truth and three corresponding “sciences” (in the older, broader sense of the word meaning “rational explanations through causes”). He called the three kinds of sciences 1) “productive sciences,” 2) “practical sciences,” and 3) “theoretical sciences.”
The productive sciences study the world to learn about it so that we can change it, improve it, and make things out of it. The end of the productive sciences is to produce things. This includes engineering, medicine, auto-making and repair, cooking, etc.
The practical sciences study ourselves so that we can change and improve our own lives, our behavior, our activities. The end of the practical sciences is to put knowledge into practice, into action. This includes ethics, politics, economics, etc.
The theoretical sciences seek to know simply in order to know, that is, to become bigger on the inside. The end of the theoretical sciences is to see more fully, to expand our understanding, and contemplate our place in this world. This includes physics, biology, theology, mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy. All these have applications and uses, but they are first of all aimed at simply knowing and understanding the truth, even if there is no immediate practical or productive application.
Theoretical science is the task of the classical educator because the original meaning of a liberal arts education was this: the study of the truth for its own sake, not only for the sake of what you can do with it or what you can make with it. The term liberal arts comes from Aristotle. He said that just as a man is called free when he exists of his own sake and a slave when he exists for the sake of another man, so these studies are called free (liberal or liberating) because they exist for their own sake and not for the sake of anything else.
Logic will prove useful in many ways, but its most important use is simply to help you see more clearly what is true and what is false. Logic alone can’t tell you what is true. It will only aid you in discovering what is true. You also need experience—through books, lectures, investigation, observation—to get your premises, and logic can then draw your conclusions.
And a life full of discovering the truth and knowing the truth is what we, as classical educators, seek to instill in our students. And since logic helps us discover this, that is why we teach it, not only as a part of other subjects, but as a subject in itself.
Pastor Jason Braaten serves as Logic insturctor at Wittenberg Academy.
Why America needs Classically Educated Confessional Lutherans
Teaching Logic I: What is Logic and Why Do WE Teach It?
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At Wittenberg Academy, we pursue the good, the true, and the beautiful because we value those things which endure. In keeping with this philosophy, we highly recommend that students use printed books and readings as much as possible. Our instructors supply information so that families may purchase necessary books or print off copies of readings. At the same time, we recognize the financial sacrifices that many families already make to provide an excellent education for their children. For this reason, we also offer options for using web or other electronic copies of readings, most of which are available free of charge. Since the choice to use print, electronic, or combined means for readings will not limit a student’s participation in classes, each family may utilize the option deemed best-suited for them.
Pastor Jason Braaten
A Statement from Our
Board of Directors
Pastor Braaten grew up in New Lenox, Illinois, a small community southwest of Chicago on I-80. He has a BA in Theological Languages and Philosophy from Concordia University Chicago, an MDiv from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, with part of his instruction taken at Westfield House, Cambridge, England, and is working toward a STM in Historical Theology from Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne.
Pastor Braaten shepherds Immanuel Lutheran Church, Tuscola, Illinois. He lives in Tuscola with his wife, Lauren, and five children, Oliver, Jonathan, Wilhelmina (Willa), Simon, and Marguerite (Maggie).
In his free time, he enjoys gardening and reading. When asked why he is excited to teach for WA, he said, “It’s exciting to be part of an opportunity to give Lutherans both Classical and Lutheran education at the high school level via the Internet.”
Tuesdays with Tallmon and Friends 2020
On the Road with Wittenberg Academy
Upcoming travels (All depenedent on the status of COVID-19)
Higher Things Missouri July 7-10
NW Missouri State University
Higher Things Michigan July 21-24
Grand Rapids, MI
Issues, Etc. Making the Case Conference July 24-25,
Concordia University Chicago
When: Classes will be held Tuesday evenings, 7-8 p.m. Central, from June 9- August 18
Who: All learners (Please consider mature content will be discussed)
Readings: C.S. Lewis' Space Trilogy
You can sign up to join here
By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Stay, stay at home, my heart, and rest;
Home-keeping hearts are happiest,
For those that wander they know not where
Are full of trouble and full of care;
To stay at home is best.
Weary and homesick and distressed,
They wander east, they wander west,
And are baffled and beaten and blown about
By the winds of the wilderness of doubt;
To stay at home is best.
Then stay at home, my heart, and rest;
The bird is safest in its nest;
O’er all that flutter their wings and fly
A hawk is hovering in the sky;
To stay at home is best.
If you feel so moved, a GoFundMe account has been set up for the Wolf family. Please keep the family in your prayers.
Our beloved Aaron Wolf passed away suddenly on Easter Sunday. It is a devastating loss to his family and a terrible loss to Chronicles, The Charlemagne Institute, and the conservative cause.
In his mid-forties, Aaron is survived by his incredible wife Lorrie, their six children, and his mother and father.
He was a man of abounding goodness as father, husband, and Christian. Readers of Chronicles know that he was also a tenacious defender of Western Civilization and the lives of the unborn and most vulnerable. He made Chronicles possible through his industry as an editor, seeing the magazine through to production every month. His generosity toward colleagues, writers, and even strangers was unstinting, and he bettered the lives of everyone who knew him. Aaron set a benchmark for us all.
Aaron Wolf Family Memorial Fund
Did You miss your opportunity to pick up a t-shirt at a conference this summer?
Did you get one and want another?
If so, we have great news for you!
You can now purchase Wittenberg Academy t-shirts year round online! They will also be available at the conferences listed in the 'On the Road with WA' page.
WABC Presents: Out of the Silent Planet
WABC recently discussed Perelandraby C.S. Lewis. Perelandra is the second of the Space Trilogy, a lesser known set of books than Lewis's Narnia series. This novel, the second in the Space Trilogy, follows the story of Elwin Ransom, a linguist who is chosen for a unique mission after being taken to Mars (Thulcandra) by two colleagues in the first installment, Out of the Silent Planet. Perelandras ees a revisit to antelapsarian Eden as Ransom battles evil forces to prevent a fall into sin on the planet Venus, known as Perelandra in the Space Trilogy series. Our WABC session followed the basic storyline of the novel, pausing in particular to meditate on the nature of evil and demonic possession; specifically on how the villain, Weston, invites satanic forces into himself, thus pushing him over the edge of humanity and into the abyss of evil. We further discussed how events in the later part of the novel reflect our beliefs on the Divine Service and man's relationship to God; that is, that God Himself serves us rather than we ourselves needing to strive to be worthy of God.
Mrs Emily Cockran serves as Philosophy and Paideia B instructor at Wittenberg Academy. She was the host at March;s WABC meeting.
Wittenberg Academy's 4th Annual Family Retreat
Wittenberg Academy held their 4th Annual Family Retreat on April 25-27, 2019. The Rev. Dr. Thomas Korcok spoke on the liberal arts. We were blessed to have many families that enjoyed three days of fun, fellowship, and worship. We hope to see everyone again next year!
Next year's Retreat will be held on April 22-24, 2021.
Click here to register for Wittenberg Academy's 2021 Family Retreat
With the times being what they are, Wittenberg Academy has made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s family retreat at Camp Okoboji in Milford, Iowa. The health and safety of those families signed up to participate is our top priority.
However, there is good news to give you here! Registration for our 2021 Family Retreat is now open! Visit our website here for more information and click the button below to register. Dr. Gregory P. Schulz will be our plenary speaker in 2021 discussing the Word.
We are sorry not to see you this year, but we hope to see you all next year in good health!
Blessings in Christ,
A point of confession
2019-20 Academic Year Dates
Michaelmas: September 3-November 22
2020-21 Academic Year Dates
Michaelmas: September 8-November 25
Christmas: November 30- March 5
Easter: March 8- May 28
Trinity: June 7- August 27
"For if we wish to have excellent and able persons both for civil and Church leadership. we must spare no diligence, time, or cost in teaching and education our children, so that they may serve God and the world. We must not think only about how we may amass money and possessions for them. God can indeed support and make them rich without us, as He daily does. But for this purpose He has given us children and issued ths command: we should train and govern them according to His will. Otherwise, He would have no purpose for a father and a mother.Therefore, let everyone know that it is his duty, on peril of losing the divine favor, to bring up his children in the fear and knowledge of God above all things (Proverbs 1:7). And if the children are talented, have them learn and study something. Then they ma be hired for whatever need there is."
~ The Large Catechism, Part I: The Fourth Commandment, 172-174
from Kloria Publishing
These publications are available for order on
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