Why Study the Great Books?

In his introduction to his translation of Athanasius's  On the Incarnation,  C. S. Lewis wrote, "Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books."

Here's what CLRC Great Books students have to say about the importance of reading, discussing, and wrestling deeply with the Great Books:

"[The Great Books] have stood the test of time because of their excellence in uncovering the human spirit.  [They] are compelling and intensely relatable. 

[Studying the Great Books] has constantly forced me to change my perspective and question my beliefs.  A kind of "trial by fire" for the mind leads the reader to a deeper sense of maturity, and a deeper appreciation for literature, and the arts in general. 

Great Books has been, for me, a point to ground myself at, a place that the reader can see that others struggle and have struggled with the same ideas and problems that we have today. 

The whole of the Great Books has shown me how close and connected humanity is, even through pain and trial. "

For the complete text of this student's essay, CLICK HERE.

"When we [read the Great Books], we see a pattern relating people’s happiness in life to where they place their focus. Specifically, when people are self-absorbed, they tend to be unhappy. When people focus their energy on others, and step outside of themselves, they find true fulfillment. The great books of Western culture show us that the good life is achieved by actively striving to serve other people."

For the complete text of this student's essay, CLICK HERE.

"By reading the 'Great Books' we gain the insight and knowledge of our ancestors and begin to understand how we have been formed. These books are our guide through life by giving us morals, understanding, and perspective beyond ourselves.

These fundamental themes of Western Culture help us come to a better understanding of how our society was formed, and help us understand the problems and issues we face in our daily lives.

The Great Books do not discuss beliefs and ideas that are “ancient”, but rather ones that transcend time and culture, are part of our lives today, and likely will be as long as humanity endures."

For the complete text of this student's essay, CLICK HERE.