A liberal education–is dangerous

On the top of my reading pile this week is Gregory Wolfe’s book Beauty Will Save the World. It’s on the top not only because it’s worthwhile, but because I get only three weeks with it before it returns to its home, mysteriously referred to only as E.P.L.

In the chapter “Christian Humanism: A Faith for All Seasons,” Wolfe quotes the scholar Erasmus:

“‘I absolutely dissent,’ Erasmus wrote, ‘from those people who don’t want the holy scriptures to be read in translation by the unlearned–as if, forsooth, Christ taught such complex doctrine that hardly anyone outside a handful of theologians could understand it, or as if the chief strength of the Christian religion lay in people’s ignorance of it.”

Erasmus may be talking about the Bible, but the same can be said of Plutarch. Or of Charlotte Mason’s books.

Last night we watched a first-season episode of Downton Abbey, where Lord Grantham was bemoaning the fact that his chauffeur had such extreme (and dangerous) political views. When Lord G. hired the man, a couple of episodes back, he invited him to make use of the law and history books in his library. I guess Lord G. didn’t really expect a chauffeur to understand them…or use them.

(Also in last night’s episode, the young ladies were told by their grandmother that they had no right to an opinion until they were married, and then their husbands would tell them what their opinions should be.)

Music is meant to be played; stories are meant to be told; and if education is a life, it’s meant for anyone willing to listen. Like the banquet in the parable, some who “earned” their way in didn’t care to come; the door needs to stay open for the rest.

 

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