High School - Great Books Program

Syllabus

 

The information immediately following is applicable to all eight semesters (i.e. 8 courses) of the Great Books Program, followed by an individual syllabus for each course. Please see the contact page for contact information to reach the program directors and your moderators.

 

 

GREAT BOOKS PROGRAM COURSES
Course Title

Sequence/
Semester
Syllabus Great Books of the Ancient Greeks I 1
Syllabus Great Books of the Ancient Greeks II 2
Syllabus Great Books of the Ancient Romans 3
Syllabus Great Books of the Ancient Romans to the Early Middle Ages 4
Syllabus Great Books of the High Middle Ages to the Renaissance 5
Syllabus Great Books of the Renaissance to the Enlightenment 6
Syllabus Great Books of the Enlightenment to the Modern Era 7
Syllabus Great Books of the Modern Era 8

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Course #1, Title: Great Books of the Ancient Greeks I

Course Materials: Students will need either to purchase, borrow or download the books assigned for the weekly readings (see Reading List below for book list). These are all great classics and may be obtained from your library or on the internet, or may be purchased from the bookstore at greatbooksacademy.org (where you may also view the editions we recommend [but do not require]). Additionally, students will need to read the weekly poem contained in the semester Study Guide, and the Study Guide itself for this semester. The Study Guides and books may be obtained from the bookstore, internet address above. Students will also need access to a personal computer with modem for internet access, and any simple microphone (usually $10-20) for use with their computer. Macintosh computers sometimes work and sometimes do not work with our online live-audio discussion software, so to be assured of ability to participate in the discussions students with Macs must have access to another computer.

Location: Cyberspace/Distance Education (via live-audio internet, and correspondence); see Contact page for contact information.

Length: 15 Weekly Seminars each semester.  Oral exams are scheduled individually in December.

Objective: To familiarize students with the Great Books of the ancient Greeks from Homer through Herodotus (see the reading list below), why these books are considered great books, and how the Great Books of the Ancient Greeks relate to and influence our lives today.

Learning Outcome: Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to: discuss, reference and in varying measure understand the specific works studied; better exercise the liberal arts of reading, writing, speaking, listening and thinking; have a deeper understanding of the persisting questions of human existence; integrate the contributions of various disciplines studied towards understanding such questions; have a more broadly-based liberal education derived from the period works studied; investigate careers and pursue career changes by being exposed to several disciplines; take part in the ongoing intellectual dialogue about the great ideas contained in the most influential books of Western civilization, often called the Great Conversation, by which contemporary life is knowingly or unknowingly governed; function more effectively as a member of a democratic society with independent judgment.

Instruction: Major topics (see Topics, above) covered in the course inevitably are those which have been of enduring interest to great authors throughout classical and Western civilization even to our day, often called “the great ideas” such as: justice and freedom; intelligence and character; war and peace; happiness and wisdom. Methods of instruction include extensive reading, oral and written testing, essay preparation, and weekly online classroom participation in discussions with other students who have read the same text that week.

Credit Recommendation: In the lower division baccalaureate/associate degree category or in the upper division baccalaureate degree category, 6 semester hours in Liberal Arts, Literature or Great Books which also may be delineated as 3 credit hours in Literature and 3 credit hours in Philosophy or Critical Thinking.
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Course #2, Title: Great Books of the Ancient Greeks II

Course Materials: Students will need either to purchase, borrow or download the books assigned for the weekly readings (see Reading List below for book list). These are all great classics and may be obtained from your library or on the internet, or may be purchased from the bookstore at greatbooksacademy.org (where you may also view the editions we recommend [but do not require]). Additionally, students will need to read the weekly poem contained in the semester Study Guide, and the Study Guide itself for this semester. The Study Guides and books may be obtained from the bookstore, internet address above. Students will also need access to a personal computer with modem for internet access, and any simple microphone (usually $10-20) for use with their computer. Macintosh computers sometimes work and sometimes do not work with our online live-audio discussion software, so to be assured of ability to participate in the discussions students with Macs must have access to another computer.

Location: Cyberspace/Distance Education (via live-audio internet, and correspondence); see Contact page for contact information.

Length: 15 Weekly Seminars each semester.  Oral exams are scheduled individually in May.

Objective: To familiarize students with the great ideas contained in the original works written by the greatest ancient Greeks (not covered in the first semester course) from Plato through Hippocrates, which are foundational to classical and Western civilization (see course syllabus for specific titles and authors studied).

Learning Outcome: Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to: discuss, reference and in varying measure understand the specific works studied; better exercise the liberal arts of reading, writing, speaking, listening and thinking; have a deeper understanding of the persisting questions of human existence; integrate the contributions of various disciplines studied towards understanding such questions; have a more broadly-based liberal education derived from the period works studied; investigate careers and pursue career changes by being exposed to several disciplines; take part in the ongoing intellectual dialogue about the great ideas contained in the most influential books of Western civilization, often called the Great Conversation, by which contemporary life is knowingly or unknowingly governed; function more effectively as a member of a democratic society with independent judgment.

Instruction: Major topics covered in the course are those which have been of enduring interest to authors throughout classical and Western civilization, often called “the great ideas,”such as justice and freedom; intelligence and character; war and peace; happiness and wisdom. Methods of instruction include reading, oral and written testing, essay preparation, and weekly online classroom participation in discussions with other students.

Credit Recommendation: In the lower division baccalaureate/associate degree category or in the upper division baccalaureate degree category, 6 semester hours in Liberal Arts, Literature or Great Books which also may be delineated as 3 credit hours in Literature and 3 credit hours in Philosophy or Critical Thinking (5/05).

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Course #3 Title: Great Books of the Ancient Romans

Course Materials: Students will need either to purchase, borrow or download the books assigned for the weekly readings (see Reading List below for book list). These are all great classics and may be obtained from your library or on the internet, or may be purchased from the bookstore at greatbooksacademy.org (where you may also view the editions we recommend [but do not require]). Additionally, students will need to read the weekly poem contained in the semester Study Guide, and the Study Guide itself for this semester. The Study Guides and books may be obtained from the bookstore, internet address above. Students will also need access to a personal computer with modem for internet access, and any simple microphone (usually $10-20) for use with their computer. Macintosh computers sometimes work and sometimes do not work with our online live-audio discussion software, so to be assured of ability to participate in the discussions students with Macs must have access to another computer.

Location: Cyberspace/Distance Education (via live-audio internet, and correspondence); see Contact page for contact information.

Length: 15 Weekly Seminars each semester.  Oral exams are scheduled individually in December.

Objective: To familiarize students with the great ideas contained in the original works written by the ancient Romans, from Virgil through Galen.

Learning Outcome: Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to: discuss, reference and understand the specific works studied; exercise the liberal arts of reading, writing, speaking, listening and thinking; have an understanding of the persisting questions of human existence; integrate the contributions of various disciplines studied towards understanding such questions; have a broadly-based liberal education derived from the period works studied; investigate careers and pursue career changes by being exposed to several disciplines; take part in the ongoing intellectual dialogue about the ideas contained in influential books of Western civilization (often called the Great Conversation); function more effectively as a humanistic member of
society.

Instruction: Major topics covered in the course inevitably are those which have been of enduring interest to authors throughout classical and Western civilization even to our day, often called “the great ideas” such as: justice and freedom; intelligence and character; war and peace; happiness and wisdom. Methods of instruction include reading, oral and written testing for grading, essay preparation, and weekly live audio classroom participation in discussions.

Credit Recommendation: In the lower division baccalaureate/associate degree category or in the upper division baccalaureate degree category, 6 semester hours in Liberal Arts, Literature or Great Books which also may be delineated as 3 credit hours in Literature and 3 credit hours in Philosophy or Critical Thinking (5/05).

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Course #4, Title: Great Books of the Ancient Romans to the Early Middle Ages

Course Materials: Students will need either to purchase, borrow or download the books assigned for the weekly readings (see Reading List below for book list). These are all great classics and may be obtained from your library or on the internet, or may be purchased from the bookstore at greatbooksacademy.org (where you may also view the editions we recommend [but do not require]). Additionally, students will need to read the weekly poem contained in the semester Study Guide, and the Study Guide itself for this semester. The Study Guides and books may be obtained from the bookstore, internet address above. Students will also need access to a personal computer with modem for internet access, and any simple microphone (usually $10-20) for use with their computer. Macintosh computers sometimes work and sometimes do not work with our online live-audio discussion software, so to be assurred of ability to participate in the discussions students with Macs must have access to another computer.

Location: Cyberspace/Distance Education (via live-audio internet, and
correspondence); see Contact page for contact information.

Length: 15 Weekly Seminars each semester.  Oral exams are scheduled individually in May.

Objective: To familiarize students with the great ideas contained in the original works written by the ancient Romans and writers through the early Middle Ages, from Plotinus through Dante.

Learning Outcome: Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to discuss, reference and understand the specific works studied; exercise the liberal arts of reading, writing, speaking, listening and thinking; have an understanding of the persisting questions of human existence; integrate the contributions of various disciplines studied towards understanding such questions; have a broadly-based liberal education derived from the period works studied; investigate careers and pursue career changes by being exposed to several disciplines; take part in the ongoing intellectual dialogue about the ideas contained in influential books of Western civilization (often called the Great Conversation); and function effectively as a humanistic member of
society.

Instruction: Major topics covered in the course inevitably are those which have been of enduring interest to great authors throughout classical and Western civilization, often called “the great ideas”. Methods of instruction include reading, oral and written testing for grading, essay preparation, and weekly live audio classroom participation in discussions.

Credit Recommendation: In the lower division baccalaureate/associate degree category or in the upper division baccalaureate degree category, 6 semester hours in Liberal Arts, Literature or Great Books which also may be delineated as 3 credit hours in Literature and 3 credit hours in Philosophy or Critical Thinking.
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Course #5, Title: Great Books of the High Middle Ages to the Renaissance

Course Materials: Students will need either to purchase, borrow or download the books assigned for the weekly readings (see Reading List below for book list). These are all great classics and may be obtained from your library or on the internet, or may be purchased from the bookstore at greatbooksacademy.org (where you may also view the editions we recommend [but do not require]). Additionally, students will need to read the weekly poem contained in the semester Study Guide, and the Study Guide itself for this semester. The Study Guides and books may be obtained from the bookstore, internet address above. Students will also need access to a personal computer with modem for internet access, and any simple microphone (usually $10-20) for use with their computer. Macintosh computers sometimes work and sometimes do not work with our online live-audio discussion software, so to be assured of ability to participate in the discussions students with Macs must have access to another computer.

Location: Cyberspace/Distance Education (via live-audio internet, and correspondence); see Contact page for contact information.

Length: 15 Weekly Seminars each semester.  Oral exams are scheduled individually in December.

Objective: To familiarize students with the seminal ideas contained in the original works written by great authors in the High Middle Ages to the Renaissance, from Chaucer through Montaigne.

Learning Outcome: Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to discuss, reference and analyze the specific works studied; exercise the liberal arts of reading, writing, speaking, listening and thinking; have a deeper understanding of the persisting questions of human existence; integrate the contributions of various disciplines studied towards understanding such questions; have a more broadly-based liberal education derived from the period works studied; investigate careers and pursue career changes by being exposed to several disciplines; take part in the ongoing intellectual dialogue about the ideas contained in the most influential books of Western civilization, sometimes called the Great Conversation; function more effectively as a humanistic and thoughtful member of society.

Instruction: Major topics covered in the course inevitably are those which have been of enduring interest to great authors throughout classical and Western civilization, often called “the great ideas” (justice and freedom; intelligence and character; war and peace; happiness and wisdom). Methods of instruction include reading, oral and written testing for grading, essay preparation, and weekly live classroom participation in discussions via the internet with other students and at least two moderators.

Credit Recommendation: In the lower division baccalaureate/associate degree category or in the upper division baccalaureate degree category, 6 semester hours in Liberal Arts, Literature or Great Books which also may be delineated as 3 credit hours in Literature and 3 credit hours in Philosophy or Critical Thinking.
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Course #6, Title: Great Books of the Renaissance to the Enlightenment

Course Materials: Students will need either to purchase, borrow or download the books assigned for the weekly readings (see Reading List below for book list). These are all great classics and may be obtained from your library or on the internet, or may be purchased from the bookstore at greatbooksacademy.org (where you may also view the editions we recommend [but do not require]). Additionally, students will need to read the weekly poem contained in the semester Study Guide, and the Study Guide itself for this semester. The Study Guides and books may be obtained from the bookstore, internet address above. Students will also need access to a personal computer with modem for internet access, and any simple microphone (usually $10-20) for use with their computer. Macintosh computers sometimes work and sometimes do not work with our online live-audio discussion software, so to be assured of ability to participate in the discussions students with Macs must have access to another computer.

Location: Cyberspace/Distance Education (via live-audio internet, and
correspondence); see Contact page for contact information.

Length: 15 Weekly Seminars each semester.  Oral exams are scheduled individually in May.

Objective: To familiarize students with the seminal ideas contained in the original works written by great authors in the High Middle Ages to the Renaissance, from Shakespeare through Pascal.

Learning Outcome: Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to discuss, reference and analyze the specific works studied; exercise the liberal arts of reading, writing, speaking, listening and thinking; have a deeper understanding of the persisting questions of human existence; integrate the contributions of various disciplines studied towards understanding such questions; have a more broadly-based liberal education derived from the period works studied; investigate careers and pursue career changes by being exposed to several disciplines; take part in the ongoing intellectual dialogue about the ideas contained in the most influential books of Western civilization, sometimes called the Great Conversation; function more effectively as a humanistic and thoughtful member of society.

Instruction: Major topics covered in the course inevitably are those which have been of enduring interest to great authors throughout classical and Western civilization, often called “the great ideas” (justice and freedom; intelligence and character; war and peace; happiness and wisdom). Methods of instruction include reading, oral and written testing for grading, essay preparation, and weekly live classroom participation in discussions via the internet with other students and at least two moderators.

Credit Recommendation: In the lower division baccalaureate/associate degree category or in the upper division baccalaureate degree category, 6 semester hours in Liberal Arts, Literature or Great Books, which also may be delineated as 3 credit hours in Literature and 3 credit hours in Philosophy or Critical Thinking.
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Course #7, Title: Great Books of the Enlightenment to the Modern Era

Course Materials: Students will need either to purchase, borrow or download the books assigned for the weekly readings (see Reading List below for book list). These are all great classics and may be obtained from your library or on the internet, or may be purchased from the bookstore at greatbooksacademy.org (where you may also view the editions we recommend [but do not require]). Additionally, students will need to read the weekly poem contained in the semester Study Guide, and the Study Guide itself for this semester. The Study Guides and books may be obtained from the bookstore, internet address above. Students will also need access to a personal computer with modem for internet access, and any simple microphone (usually $10-20) for use with their computer. Macintosh computers sometimes work and sometimes do not work with our online live-audio discussion software, so to be assured of ability to participate in the discussions students with Macs must have access to another computer.

Location: Cyberspace/Distance Education (via live-audio internet, and correspondence); see Contact page for contact information.

Length: 15 Weekly Seminars each semester.  Oral exams are scheduled individually in December.

Objective: To familiarize students with the seminal ideas contained in the original works written by great authors in the Enlightenment to the Modern Era, from Locke through De Tocqueville.

Learning Outcome: Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to discuss, reference and analyze the specific works studied; exercise the liberal arts of reading, writing, speaking, listening and thinking; have a deeper understanding of the persisting questions of human existence; integrate the contributions of various disciplines studied towards understanding such questions; have a more broadly-based liberal education derived from the period works studied; investigate careers and pursue career changes by being exposed to several disciplines; take part in the ongoing intellectual dialogue about the ideas contained in the most influential books of Western civilization, sometimes called the Great Conversation; function more effectively as a humanistic and thoughtful member of society.

Instruction: Major topics covered in the course inevitably are those which have been of enduring interest to great authors throughout classical and Western civilization, often called “the great ideas” (justice and freedom; intelligence and character; war and peace; happiness and wisdom). Methods of instruction include reading, oral and written testing for grading, essay preparation, and weekly live classroom participation in discussions via the internet with other students and at least two moderators.

Credit Recommendation: In the lower division baccalaureate/associate degree category or in the upper division baccalaureate degree category, 6 semester hours in Liberal Arts, Literature or Great Books, which also may be delineated as 3 credit hours in Literature and 3 credit hours in Philosophy or Critical Thinking.

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Course #8, Title: Great Books of the Modern Era

Course Materials: Students will need either to purchase, borrow or download the books assigned for the weekly readings (see Reading List below for book list). These are all great classics and may be obtained from your library or on the internet, or may be purchased from the bookstore at greatbooksacademy.org (where you may also view the editions we recommend [but do not require]). Additionally, students will need to read the weekly poem contained in the semester Study Guide, and the Study Guide itself for this semester. The Study Guides and books may be obtained from the bookstore, internet address above. Students will also need access to a personal computer with modem for internet access, and any simple microphone (usually $10-20) for use with their computer. Macintosh computers sometimes work and sometimes do not work with our online live-audio discussion software, so to be assured of ability to participate in the discussions students with Macs must have access to another computer.

Location: Cyberspace/Distance Education (via live-audio internet, and correspondence); see Contact page for contact information.

Length:  15 Weekly Seminars each semester.  Oral exams are scheduled individually in May.

Objective: To familiarize students with the seminal ideas contained in the original works written by great authors in the Modern Era, from Thoreau through Einstein.

Learning Outcome: Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to discuss, reference and analyze the specific works studied; better exercise the liberal arts of reading, writing, speaking, listening and thinking; have a deeper understanding of the persisting questions of human existence; integrate the contributions of various disciplines studied towards understanding such questions; have a more broadly-based liberal education derived from the period works studied; investigate careers and pursue career changes by being exposed to several disciplines; take part in the ongoing intellectual dialogue about the ideas contained in the most influential books of Western civilization, sometimes called the Great Conversation; function more effectively as a humanistic and thoughtful member of society.

Instruction: Major topics covered in the course inevitably are those which have been of enduring interest to great authors throughout classical and Western civilization, often called “the great ideas” (justice and freedom; intelligence and character; war and peace; happiness and wisdom). Methods of instruction include reading, oral and written testing for grading, essay preparation, and weekly live classroom participation in discussions via the internet with other students and at least two moderators.
 

 

TOPICS
Students sometimes want to know in advance what topics will be covered in the Great Books Program and discussed in the online seminars. The nature of any serious study of great books is that it will lead students into various areas of interest, just as it does the online seminar discussions. Beginning with the work (listed below) the entire class read that week, the discussions frequently begin on one topic and bring in topics from previous discussions and from relevant events of our time, resulting in their gradual integration. Thus to predict in advance the precise topics for the week in neither possible nor desirable, lest the result be a dampening and inappropriate artificial restriction of the conversation. Nevertheless, Dr. Adler collected the most important topics discussed in the great books, nearly all of which we inevitably discuss in one or another of the seminars, and divided them by category, which are listed below.

TOPICS BY CATEGORY

TRANSCENDENTAL
Beauty Being Good and Evil
Same and Other Truth

ETHICS
Beauty Being Courage
Desire Duty Equality
Good and Evil Happiness Honor
Justice Prudence Same and Other
Sin Temperance Truth
Virtue and Vice Wealth Wisdom

POLITICS
Aristocracy Citizen Constitution
Custom and Convention Democracy Equality
Family Government Justice
Labor Liberty Monarchy
Oligarchy Progress Punishment
Revolution Slavery State
Tyranny And Despotism War and Peace

LIBERAL ARTS
Definition Dialectic Hypothesis
Idea Induction Language
Logic Mathematics Reasoning
Rhetoric

METAPHYSICS
Angel Being Cause
Chance Change Equality
Eternity Fate Form
God Infinity Matter
Metaphysics Nature Necessity and Contingency
One And Many Opposition Principle
Quality Quantity Relation
Same and Other Space Time
Universal and Particular World

ANTHROPOLOGY AND PSYCHOLOGY
Animal Desire Emotion
Experience Habit Immortality
Judgment Knowledge Life and Death
Love Man Memory and Imagination
Mind Opinion Pleasure And Pain
Prophecy Sense Sign and Symbol
Soul Will

PHYSICS
Astronomy and Cosmology Cause Chance
Element Infinity Mathematics
Matter Mechanics Nature
Quality Quantity Relation
Space Time World

SUBJECTS
Art Education Evolution
History Language Law
Logic Mathematics Mechanics
Medicine Metaphysics Philosophy
Physics Poetry Religion
Rhetoric Science Theology

 

 

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