The Quarterly Newsletter of Wittenberg Academy
The Ninety-Sixth Thesis
Chaplain's Corner- p. 6
The Holy Vocation of Teacher
Rev. Larry Beane
On the Value of a Teacher
What We're Reading: - P. 31
Featured Teacher -P. 26
On the Road with Wittenberg Academy- p. 27
Poetry- p. 28
Elixir George Herbert
Scholar Spotlight: From Our Students p. 8-23 Rhetoric II speeches
Socrates taught Plato.Plato taught Aristotle.Aristotle taught Alexander the Great.Jesus taught the disciples.Lois and Eunice taught Timothy.Moses taught the Israelites.God taught Moses.The Great Commission contains the command to teach.A glance at the Table of Duties in Luther’s Small Catechism reveals teaching and learning relationships at every turn. The exhortation to teach and the desire to be taught are frequent in Scripture.Teachers, it seems, are part of God’s plan this side of heaven.
Despite what some educational theorists might tell you, all knowledge does not reside in you just waiting to be massaged or incantated out.If all knowledge does not reside in us, number one, we do not know what we need to learn and number two, we need someone to teach us not only what we need to learn but that which is to be learned.Simply stated, because we are not God, we need to be taught.We need to be catechized and taught the Scriptures.We need to be equipped and trained to serve our neighbor.Teaching is required for all of these things.
So many things in our world are instructive.One might argue that anything has the potential to be instructive.Therein lies the problem.If everything is instructive, how do we, who know not everything, know what instruction is to our benefit and to our harm?Furthermore, how do we, who know not everything, grasp the nuances of the content to be learned?Let us consider this from another perspective.
God’s Word is instructive.Why, then, does God provide pastors?Might it be because Romans 10:17 is true?If the Word of God is to be taught in its truth and purity, may we also consider so strongly the need for teachers in other training to serve our neighbor.
The self-made man is not lauded as the ideal in Scripture.In fact, the self-made man often falls prey to his own flesh in one way or another given the lack of outside checks on the desires of the flesh.In fact, so often in Scripture the antidote for the desires of the flesh comes in the form of a teacher.Consider, for example, David and God’s provision of Nathan in the curbing of David’s flesh.Flesh that fears, loves, or trusts anything above God is in need of curbing.In fact, uncurbed flesh is in no condition to love God and serve neighbor.As much as the self-made man may seem the ideal, it is just a cover for uncurbed flesh.
This process of curbing the flesh, otherwise known as education, takes time and care as does anything worth doing.Education is more than checking items off a list.Education is formation.Teachers bring a nuanced approach to learning that an inanimate text alone cannot accomplish.This nuance allows formation to be personal and to bring students along in their formation, keeping the uniqueness of each student in mind.These uniquenesses are human and should be cared for by humans.
Consider, finally, Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8.If ever we might question the value of a teacher, this beautiful account of a teacher and a learner gives us the very answer to our question in their questions:
Philip: “Do you understand what you are reading?”
Eunuch: “How can I, unless someone guides me?”
Because of our fallen world and our fallen flesh, we need teachers, not only to curb our flesh, but also to guide us in truth as they impart knowledge.God does not command and not provide the means for fulfilling that command.Thanks be to God for His provision for our learning through teachers as laid out in the Table of Duties. +JCB
Mrs. Jocelyn C. Benson serves as Wittenberg Academy's Head Teacher.
From the Head Teacher's Desk- p. 3
On the Value of a Teacher
Mrs. Jocelyn C. Benson
2019 Witttenberg Academy Family Retreat Memories
and 2020 Family Retreat Announcement- P. 32-33
Registration is Open
for the Easter 2019-20 Term!
On the value of a teacher
2020-21 Registration Opens 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
The Holy Vocation of Teacher
“The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” (John 11:28)
Martha said this to comfort her sister Mary upon our Lord’s arrival after their brother Lazarus had died. “Teacher” (Rabbi) is how our Lord’s disciples typically addressed him. Even the word “disciple” means “student.” Of all of the relationships that God could have chosen to work through for our redemption, of all of the ways God the Son could have come to sinners, of all of the vocations God could have taken as incarnate Savior – He chose to be a teacher.
If we want to know the world around us, if we desire knowledge, if we seek after the truth – we need to be taught. We need teachers.
One of the requirements of pastors is that they be “able to teach.” St. Paul says this three times to Timothy (1 Tim 3:2, 2 Tim 2:2, and 2 Tim 2:24). Even our Lutheran confessions speak of preaching as teaching (Augsburg Confession 14). When our Lord turned the disciples into apostles by sending them forth to “make disciples of all nations, baptizing…” He adds “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt 28:20).
But teaching about the kingdom of God is not only for pastors. Indeed, most of our teachers of the faith are lay people – beginning with our parents, who teach us about Jesus. Indeed, Luther himself teaches parents how to teach the faith to their children, in the words of the Catechism, “As the head of the family should teach them...”
And other members of our family teach us: grandparents, aunts, uncles, even our siblings. And teaching extends beyond the faith. For we come into this world as a blank slate, and as Luther says repeatedly in the 95 Theses (and which is the motto of Wittenberg Academy), “Docendi sunt Christiani” (Christians are to be taught.” And we are likewise taught many things – for good or ill – by our friends, by what we watch on television, by books, by our entertainment, and observing the example of others. Especially as children, we are surrounded by teachers, both formal and informal.
Teachers teach us the truths of God’s Word, how to tie our shoes, how to read, how to do math, how to speak, how to write. Teachers teach us how to manage a back account, how to do our jobs, how to take care of a home, how to raise children, how to care for elderly parents, how to take care of our aging bodies. Teachers teach us our whole lives long. They are often older than we, but not always. Sometimes our teachers are little children. Often our teachers don’t even know that they are teaching us. The Lord teaches us until the day we die, and He calls people to do so.
And so teaching is a holy vocation sanctified by God – whether our teachers are teaching us the Word of God or how to change oil in a car. And for us Lutherans, the school teacher has traditionally been one of the most honored of professions among us, and rightfully so. From its inception, the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod has seen teaching as a holy calling, holding it in great esteem, and taking great pains to provide excellent training. Our forebears established colleges to train teachers – often alongside future pastors – so that the godly work of teaching is done in a way that makes Christ the center of all that we teach and all that we learn.
We should reflect with great joy upon the teachers that our Lord has placed in our lives – formal and informal. And we do well to look for opportunities for both teaching and learning, no matter where we are in life’s journey. Perhaps we are called to some form of the teaching vocation. And certainly, if we are called to be parents, we are called to be teachers. And some of us are called to the formal teaching profession. Whatever kinds of teachers we are, we must look to Christ and to the grace of God.
For our ultimate destination in our journey is eternal life, and thanks be to God that our Lord is our Teacher! “The teacher is here and is calling for you.” Amen.
Pastor Larry Beane serves as Chaplain and a Paideia instructor for Wittenberg Academy.
Have you ever had a dog as a family pet? People say that a dog is a “man’s best friend” because dogs are loyal and faithful to their humans. Some dogs like to protect their humans. Dogs also like to obey their humans. When you come home from work in the evening the dog is so happy to see you because he missed you. When you are sad or if you had a rough day, your dog will climb up next to you and cuddle with you. Humans and dogs have a special relationship. Dogs are friends and they love us just as much as we love them.
In The Odyssey, Homer writes about Odysseus and his dog Argos.Odysseus went away to war and while he was gone Argos sat in a pile of dung and was covered in ticks. He did nothing because he was waiting for Odysseus to come home. Argos was a strong and a fast dog and he was also a good hunting dog, but he would not do anything until his master came home. It seemed like Argos didn’t have a purpose. When Odysseus finally came home, Argos wagged his tail because he was so happy to see his master. Argos was an old dog who was near death. Argos waited 19 years for Odysseus to return and after Argos saw his master one last time he died. Odysseus and Argos had a special relationship. Argos was loyal, a good companion, and a friend to Odysseus.
Another example of a dog and a human who had a special relationship is the story of a dog named Hachiko. Hachi’s owner always went to the train station and he took Hachi with him. When the owner came home Hachi would be waiting at the train station for him. Hachi’s owner suddenly died while teaching and never came home. Hachi kept waiting at the train station for nine more years until he himself died. Hachi was loyal to his master.
Dogs like to obey their masters.When a dog is obedient they get rewarded. They receive affection and love from their master. Dogs want to be obedient. The dog is under the authority of his master.The master provides care and safety for the dog. The master also gives the dog food, water and shelter. The relationship between a dog and a human has order.
After looking at how dogs and humans have special relationships, I wondered what the parallels were between dog and human relationships and the relationships between family members to one another. It is logical to draw parallels of love between humans and animals to love between family members because the parallels help us to see the love among family members in a new light.
The Fourth Commandment says, “Honor your father and your mother.” Luther asks, “What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not despise or anger our parents and other authorities, but honor them, serve and obey them, love and cherish them.” This is the first Commandment with a promise. The promise is, “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land, “ Exodus 20:12. The Fourth Commandment affects the family because children need to obey their parents. The parents are the authority and the children need to listen to them. The parents provide love and protection for their children. The children are under the authority of their parents. The parents provide care, safety, and protection for their children. When children are obeying their parents then there is order in the house. God created order in the world. There is order between a dog and a human and there is also order between parents and their children.
The question is how has the fall into sin influenced the relationships between man and animals and between family members? In The Principles Of Psychology, James William tells us another thing that happens between animals and humans is fear. There are some people who have a fear of animals and they don’t want to be around them or touch them. Sometimes parents don’t use the right kind of authority on their kids and sometimes kids don’t obey their parents. People are afraid because of sin. Genesis 9:2 says, “The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into your hand they shall be delivered.”
When Jesus comes back he will restore order and there will be order in the new world. Family relationships can work really well together but there is sin in this world so family relationships are not perfect. In the new world family relationships will be perfect and will work well together. Overall humans and dogs have very special relationships just like family members have very special relationships.
Miss Anna Schleuter is a senior at Wittenberg Academy.
Scholar Spotlight: Speeches from our Rhetoric II Students
You are probably all familiar with the terms memory, recollection, and imagination, rhetoric, and dialectic. Maybe you have not heard them used in the same sentence before; nonetheless, the relation of rhetoric to dialectic is very similar to the relation of memory to recollection. What does this similar relationship mean? What might memory or imagination have to do with rhetoric and dialectic?
First, we must discuss the relationship of rhetoric to dialectic. Richard Weaver briefly defines dialectic and rhetoric in his Cultural Role of Rhetoric, “Dialectic is abstract reasoning upon the basis of propositions; rhetoric is the relation of these terms to the existential world in which facts are regarded with sympathy and are treated with that kind of historical understanding and appreciation which lie outside the dialectic process” (Weaver). These two terms are different, but somehow they have a connection. Using Weaver’s words, “Rhetoric lies outside the dialectic process,” we might almost give up. How can they relate when one is said to use nothing of the other? Again, Weaver writes,“In the restored man dialectic and rhetoric will go along hand in hand as the regime of the human faculties intended that they should do” (Weaver). Here Weaver has made a profound statement that has connected both dialectic and rhetoric. What is the basis of their connection? Dialectic and rhetoric come together to create a beautiful, persuasive argument. By themselves they have no effect, but together they have created a masterpiece.
In the same way the relationship of memory to recollection shares a connection. This connection is much easier to see, for we sometimes use recollection and memory interchangeably. These words are not as interchangeable as we think, though. Aristotle says, “The persons that possess a retentive memory are not identical with those who excel in power of recollection; indeed, as a rule, slow people have a good memory, whereas those who are quick-witted and clever are better at recollecting” (Aristotle I 1). When we consider this, it seems as though recollection and memory are not related at all; however, we are trying to find the relation not destroy it. We have taken a step backwards in trying to find the relationship between memory and recollection.
Let us look more fully at the definition of memory. Memory is the act of remembering something which has taken place in the past. You cannot remember something from the future, and you would not say, “I remember the present,” for the present is happening right now. Therefore, we must conclude that our memory is of the past. The next question arises: What is qualified as past? We learn about the past all of the time, and we call it history. Can we remember “history?” We were not there at the Battle of Waterloo when Napoleon was defeated, a battle we would most likely remember. The only reason why we are familiar with such historical events to the point of remembering is because we have been told that the Battle of Waterloo was Napoleon Bonaparte’s defeat. We have no idea what the Battle of Waterloo would have looked like, but we can imagine the cannonballs echoing, the stench of blood, the faint red color of a soldiers uniform, and the feeling of a warm summer’s breeze. Even when we can’t remember feelings or experiences such as these, we can imagine them. A memory is a faculty of the mind that exists due to the affection of either perception or conception. (Aristotle). “Memory is the state of presentation, related as the likeness to that of which it is a presentation; … it has been shown that it [memory] is a function of the primary faculty of sense-perception, of that faculty whereby we perceive time” (Aristotle I 3). As we can see from Aristotle, memories occur when we remember and are able to “present” based on the faculty of the mind having to do with time.
Recollection, on the other hand, is a restoring of a consciousness of something that was previously there, but had disappeared. Although this looks like a recovery of memory, we must remember that memory has to do with sense-perception as the faculty of the mind. Aristotle says, “Recollecting always implies remembering, and actualized memory follows”(Aristotle I 692). This does not mean however that when learning something twice you recall it from a previous time. Rather, as Aristotle says, “Recollecting must imply in those who recollect the presence some spring over and above that from which they originally learn” (Aristotle I 692). This means that recollection is to go beyond remembering; it is the seeking of something that would come from an order. As you remember that order, the recollection comes from the order. “Whenever we are recollecting we are experiencing certain of the antecedent movements until finally we experience the one after which customarily comes that which we seek” (Aristotle I 193). To summarize, when we recollect ourselves experience all of the “order” by starting closer to the beginning, most likely what we remember the most, from there we follow the ordered process in which to find that which we were originally seeking. Recollection is, therefore, an inference. Unlike memory, recollection is only shared as a human faculty. In order for recollection to work, though, you must have some sort of memory. Recollection requires a memory, and from the memory comes an inference about the thing from which you are seeking.
After defining the terms of memory and recollection let us look at the relationship of the two. Memory is the faculty of the mind that relies on time and sense-perception. Recollection is the faculty of the mind that has to do with inference and relies on memory. So what is the relationship? We see the relation of memory to recollection in the faculty of the mind. Without memory it makes it harder for recollection to function as it should. The two depend upon each other. Have we taken two steps forward?
Now, we have seen the relationship of memory to recollection and the relationship of rhetoric to dialectic. But, where is the connection between these two relationships? Both relationships have to do with the faculties of the mind. Recollection to inference, memory to sense-perception, rhetoric and dialectic go together as the regime of human faculties. This brings us to the next connection between the two. Both share the similarity that rhetoric and dialectic are dependent on each other and recollection is dependent on memory.
Miss Olivia Thoelke is a student at Wittenberg Academy.
Scholar Spotlight (Cont.)
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Rhetoric II Speeches (Cont.)
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I want you to take a moment and imagine a virtuous person. Likely what comes to mind is someone who has many admirable traits. Perhaps someone who is kind, smart, caring, brave, successful, and so on. This is the person that everyone wants to be around and to be like. According to Aristotle a virtuous person would be one who is confident but not arrogant, smart but not confusingly so, brave but not reckless, humble but not shy… and so forth with any other admirable trait. All that to say, there is a measure of measuredness in the Aristotelian ideal of a virtuous person.
So, what is virtue? In the classical educational sense, virtue is the ethical science which has to do with one’s character. It is not a matter of checking off certain boxes to become virtuous, but it is an engrained character trait. There is no rulebook for being virtuous. In other words, strive to be good, and doing good things will follow. Good actions follow from virtue, they aren’t the means of obtaining it. As Aristotle said, “All virtue is summed up in dealing justly.”
But what does doing good things have to do with virtue? For Aristotle, anything is good to the extent that it fulfills its purpose, and bad to the extent that it fails to do so. The function of a knife is to cut, so a knife that doesn’t cut is a bad knife. The function of a house is to provide shelter, so a house that fails to provide shelter is a bad house. The function of a plant is to grow and produce, so a plant that doesn’t grow or have flowers is bad at being a plant.
Man is no different. One of man’s functions is to grow and reproduce like any other animal or plant, but man is also the rational animal. Ergo, man also has the function of getting along in the complex social network. A man who doesn’t get along is just bad at being a person. This is found in Book I of Nichomachean ethics where Aristotle says, “We state the function of man to be a certain kind of life, and this to be an activity or actions of the soul implying a rational principle, and the function of a good man to be the good and noble performance of these, and any action is well performed when it is performed in accordance with the appropriate excellence.” In other words, a man, like anything else according to Aristotle, is good when he fulfills his purpose. Who fulfills their purpose well? A virtuous man. In some sense, that is the nature of being virtuous to Aristotle.
So we’ve established that virtue has something to do with being or doing good. And that good, for a person, relates to succeeding at his function, as a rational creature, of living according to a “rational principle” as Aristotle said. With that background in mind, let us move on to Book 2 of Nichomachean ethics where Aristotle begins to specifically treat with virtue.
What does it mean to be virtuous? According to Aristotle, and I quote, “Virtue means doing the right thing in relation to the right person, at the right time, to the right extent, in the right manner, and for the right purpose.” How vague can you get, right? But that’s the whole point Aristotle was trying to make about virtue being a part of one’s character. There is no one set standard of virtue which works for every situation. Virtue is the character traits that lead to expedient behavior in any situation. Virtue is knowing how to act in any given scenario. As such, virtue must be learned through experience, it can’t be taught in a textbook. Virtue is simply being good at being a person; rightly fulfilling the bill of a rational creature.
Thus far we have discussed virtue as far as virtuousness goes, that is, the general term of how one acts well. Now we move into a more categorical examination of the virtues themselves that are embraced by a virtuous person.
Virtues can be thought of as being the midpoint between two extremes. A virtue shifted to far to either side, having too much of it or having too little, becomes a vice. Much like the saying that, “The best lie is two degrees from the truth,” a vice is two ticks away on either side of a virtue. Aristotle called this view of virtue the golden mean. He writes: “Virtue is the golden mean between two vices, the one of excess and the other of deficiency.” Let me give you some examples. Aristotle’s twelve virtues are Courage, Temperance, Liberality, Magnificence, Magnanimity, Ambition, Patience, Friendliness, Truthfulness, Wit, Modesty, and Justice.
So, what is the nature of the virtue of courage according to Aristotle? Courage is the midpoint, the golden mean, between the vice of cowardice and the vice of recklessness. Say you are walking down the street and you see someone getting mugged. The courageous thing to do would be to run to the rescue, right? According to Aristotle, not exactly. If the mugger is unarmed, comparable in height, weight, strength, and fighting ability, then yes, the courageous thing to do is to go tackle the guy and return the old lady’s purse. If, on the other hand, the mugger is a hulking behemoth with a gun, the former action errs to the side of recklessness and calling the proper authorities is the right, and courageous, course of action.
Likewise, magnanimity, or in other words, generosity, is the mean between the vice of extravagance and the vice of miserliness. It is not generous to pick up the check for the table when you’re broke, nor is it generous to inconvenience others by your stinginess.
Ambition is the mean between the vice of obsession and the vice of laziness. The 30 year old man living in his parents' basement errs toward having too little ambition, while Hitler erred on the side of having too much. (Now Hitler had plenty of other problems too but that’s beside the point of this example.)
Modesty is the mean between the vice of excessive pride or arrogance and viceful shyness. The arrogant braggart who everyone thinks is a jerk has erred towards too little modesty. And one who doesn’t take credit for his accomplishments and lets other people walk all over him isn’t fulfilling modesty properly either, but to the opposite extreme.
Even truthfulness Aristotle would say is the mean between two vices, brutal honesty, and not saying what needs to be said. You shouldn’t walk up to someone and say how ugly you think they are any more than you should withhold something they need to know. Truthfulness also entails breaking bad news with grace, offering constructive rather than hurtful criticism, and so on.
The same thing could be said for any of the remaining virtues. These examples show why Aristotle’s definition of virtue, namely that, “Virtue means doing the right thing in relation to the right person, at the right time, to the right extent, in the right manner, and for the right purpose,” is so vague. The golden mean of virtue depends heavily on each individual situation.
In conclusion, according to Aristotle, finding the golden mean, the right extent of moderation in all circumstances, is the defining trait of a virtuous person..
Mr. Adam Maurer is a student at Wittenberg Academy.
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.
A Statement from Our
Board of Directors
Today I am going to address the importance of a well-balanced education, focusing specifically on music. It is important to educate our children well; if they receive a good education, they will grow into sensible citizens. This serves the neighbor and supports the state. Because the capacity to learn exists naturally, according to Plato, we should engage that gift and educate them well. Plato defines education as, "The training given by suitable habits to the first instincts of virtue in children; when pleasure, friendship, pain, and hatred are rightly given to their souls not capable of understanding their nature."
Plato believed that there were two parts of education: gymnastics and music. He included literature and other arts in the study of music. Gymnastics improves the body, and music improves the soul.
However, we should not follow either study to an extreme: the study of music alone produces a soft temper, but the study of gymnastics alone produces a hard character. A pure athlete becomes a savage, acting like an uneducated brute. Societies who focus only on producing athletic abilities only injure bodies and stunt children’s growth. When this cold character is correctly educated, however, it gives courage. Someone who studies music alone is melted and softened beyond what is good for them. When this softness is correctly educated, it gives gentleness in moderation. These two principles (gymnastics and music) should be drawn tighter or relaxed until they are in harmony with each other. A harmonious soul, with a good balance of gymnastics and music, is both temperate and courageous. The harmony of the soul, according to Plato, is virtue. Pure virtue has more power over the mind and produces preference for the law. Children who are well-educated in virtue will be well-balanced people and obedient citizens. Attachment to moral principles leads to what is morally good.
Plato wrote in The Republic that music should be taught before gymnastics. It is better to learn about the world gradually, rather than going directly from darkness to the light. This introduces children to the world of learning, rather than throwing knowledge, (which they probably cannot comprehend,) into their small minds. Plato said that “The character is being formed and the desired impression is more readily taken.” (321) Children are more easily influenced in their early years, because they have not learned from anyone else. Attachment to moral principles leads to what is morally good. That is why it is important to teach them well; this knowledge will aid them for the rest of their lives.
So, should children actually practice the art of music or just study it? Well, according to Aristotle, children should learn music, “Only until they are able to feel delight in noble melodies and rhythms, and not merely in that common part of music...” (546) Imagine how different our society today would be if children pursued music until delight came naturally! Music departments would thrive, not struggle to keep the interest alive. There would be less common ignorance as to the nature of this art.
Figures and melodies which express the virtue of body and soul are good. What good can be separated from pleasure? Can we agree that music is one of the most pleasant things in life? Part of this pleasure comes in relaxation; we can always count on music to be there for us and help calm the soul. This proves music’s influence on the soul and one’s character! Because it has this healing ability, children should learn it and become familiar with this blessing. As Aristotle said, “The pleasure given by music is natural, and therefore adapted to all ages and characters.” (545) Music also inspires enthusiasm, an emotion which is the ethical part of the soul. That’s a whole different rabbit trail for another time...
When men hear imitations, such as the rhythms and tunes of music, their feelings move. Different music influences the soul with different feelings. Rhythm and melody imitate anger or gentleness, courage or temperance, and other character qualities. People also are affected differently by the same music, showing their different characters.
Music impacts the soul through the imitation of feelings. Rhythm and harmony find their way into the soul; they fasten themselves and impart grace to that individual. That grace affects someone’s character if they are well-educated. An uneducated brute would not know how to receive and cherish this grace. A well-rounded individual who knows music most often has a well-rounded character.
Music is important for citizens; I’d like to focus on it in regards to the lives of soldiers.All arts have an element of numbers and calculations. We don’t realize just how much math affects our daily lives. Because the arts indirectly teach arithmetic skills, soldiers should surround themselves with as many arts as possible. Plato wrote that soldiers ought to be familiar with numbers in order to understand military tactics. See? Gymnastics is not the only skill necessary to become a soldier! They need to sharpen their souls and minds, not just build their bodies.
Like many things, music can be handled the wrong way. We see the evil effect of music in our world today; the philosophers even recognized it in their day and age. A common example back then was the theater: it employed both good and bad taste in music and poetry. Today, it is hard to find a good radio station that plays appropriate and suitable songs! So many “artists” of today produce trash with language that should not be repeated anywhere. This is a good reminder to use the gift of music well.
The early church father Augustine valued the lessons of Homer and the soul’s study of music. He poured over books of eloquence; he said that they turned his vain thoughts to worthlessness and infused knowledge into his mind. Literature and theater made him feel the emotions of the characters, even though he knew they were not real. This is a real-life example of music’s power; Augustine felt the fictional emotions of fictional characters through the power of music! He wrote in The City of God that boys should read dramas as part of, “A liberal and gentlemanly education.” (154) He recognized the importance of musical studies in early education.
Plutarch also demonstrated the importance of a gymnastic and music education in his biography of Lycurgus. When Lycurgus was a young king, he developed a desire to reform the state from previous traditions. Foreign kings observed that his people, the Spartans, did not inherit the bad qualities of other cultures. Plutarch wrote, “Nor was their instruction in music and verse less carefully attended to than their habits of grace and good-breeding in conversation. And their very songs had a life and spirit in them that inflamed and possessed men’s minds with an enthusiasm and ardor for action”. (43) The Spartans focused on music just as much as they taught manners and correct behavior. And other kings noticed how well-rounded his people were; they applauded Lycurgus for the changes he brought to his people. The people’s attachment to moral principles led to what was morally good.
In conclusion, we do not want our children to grow up with, “Images of moral deformity”, as Plato wrote. (333) Children are formed by the virtues and the vices that we present to them; attachment to moral principles leads to what is morally good. Music, balanced with gymnastics, forms a character of virtue and should therefore be incorporated into children’s education.
Miss Joanna Leckband is a student at Wittenberg Academy.
After being tasked with writing of this philosophical paper, I found interest in the view of virtue and vice. There are religious aspects in virtue and vice. The Syntopicon examines virtue and vice in the theory of the theological virtues specifically in faith and disbelief, hope and despair, charity and the disorder of love.
Faith can be defined as the belief that because Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins and the fact that we have been baptized when we will die, we will go to heaven. The opposite of faith is when we simply do not trust in the promise that God has given to us. Isaiah writes in chapter seven verse nine, “And the head of Ephraim is Samaria, and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah. If you are not firm in faith you will not be firm at all.” We ask ourselves what does this mean? Isaiah is telling us here if we are not in strong our faith then we can not be sturdy in our other affairs. If we are prideful and arrogant and do not give thanks to God for our gifts we will not live. People who have faith will live. Habakkuk writes in chapter two verse four, “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.” What does Habakkuk mean by a person’s being puffed up he will not but who is righteous will live by faith? Habakkuk is saying here if we do not live faith we will not have the gift of salvation which is heaven but if we live by faith, then we will go to heaven. God tells us that we should not fear but believe in him. In Mark chapter five verse thirty-six he writes, “But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “do not fear, only believe.”
“What does Jesus mean by this? Jesus is telling us that we should not doubt him but have faith in him. Solomon tells us that when we believe in God we will comprehend virtue and we will dwell in God’s love. In the Apocrypha an Alexandrian Jew writes in the Wisdom of Solomon chapter three verse nine, “Those who trust in him will understand truth, and the faithful will abide with him in love, because grace and mercy are upon us in his holy ones, and he watches over his chosen.” Here an Alexandrian Jew is saying that if we put our trust in God, He will take care of us. God tells us if we do not believe we will be chastised. An Alexandrian Jew writes in the wisdom of Solomon in chapter three verses ten and eleven, “But the ungodly will be punished as their reasoning deserves, who disregarded the righteous man and rebelled against the Lord; for whoever despises wisdom and instruction is miserable.” The Alexandrian Jew is speaking here that the people who do not trust in God will go to hell. How does faith and unbelief relate to virtue and vice? Faith relates to virtue because having faith in God is moral whereas disbelief is immoral.
Hope can be defined as having faith in things we do not yet see and despair is where we no longer have hope in the things to come. Hope can be compared to virtue because to hope is good. Despair can be associated with vice because it is immoral to no longer hope in the things to come. In Psalms chapter thirty-three verses eighteen and nineteen it says, “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that he may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine.” David is telling us here that the people who put their hope and trust in God, he will save them from their sins. When we have trials in this life we need to put our hope in God. David writes in Psalm verse five, “Why are you cast, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” What does David mean here in this passage? David is telling us that when we have troubles in this life we should hope in God and praise him for the many blessings he has given to us. God is our fulfillment so we should hope in him. Jeremiah writes in Lamentations chapter three verse twenty-four, “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” Jeremiah is telling us here that our Lord is our all thus we should hope in him.
Charity can be defined as showing love and giving grace to others because we have been given many blessings by God first. The disorder of love is when we put ourselves first before God instead of helping our neighbor. Charity can be compared to virtue because it is what God calls us to do. Moses writes in Leviticus chapter nineteen verses seventeen and eighteenl“You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest your incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” What does Moses mean here? Moses is telling us here we should not loath our brother, but instead show love towards him. We need to hold fast and love God. Joshua writes in chapter twenty-three verse eleven ,“Be very careful, therefore, to love the Lord your God.” What does Joshua mean when he writes this? Joshua is telling us that we need to be alert and love God. David writes in Psalms chapter thirty-one verse twenty-three, “Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride.” David is telling us here that God saves the faithful from harm and sorrow whereas the unfaithful he does not save.
We can see through the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity are all virtues. On the other hand we see vices of disbelief, despair, and disorder of love.
Miss Anna Thoelke is a student at Wittenberg Academy.
TWT2019: Week 3: Focus on Perspicuity & Vivacity
Once one understands the significance to Enlightenment rhetorical thought of "Faculty Psychology," the centrality of both perspicuity and vivacity makes sense. In his effort to conduct a "scientific" or methodical examination of how one expresses oneself with clarity, but also with profundity, where complex ideas are at play, it follows for Campbell that the ideas must be bothlivelyand also treated withperspicuity. Campbell defines them in the following manner: Perspicuity is the opposite of nonsense; vivacity is "the lively idea" (as opposed to the "tired one"). Perspicuity is, therefore, for Campbell, a combination of plausibility, good sense, and verisimilitude, clearly communicated. The ratiocinative faculty requires that, to be grasped intelligibly, ideas have a ring of truth and that they "jibe" with good sense. Reason, in other words, entertains only so long the "counter-intuitive" before it rejects as nonsense whatever silliness is brought before it. When it comes to persuasion, however, appeals to reason are insufficient to move the hearer to action, and the end of persuasionisaction.
In order to bring the ideas into "real contact" with the mind and emotions of the hearer, the ideas must be made "lively." That is to say, by masterful use of "tropes and metaphor and figures of speech" the orator makes his or her ideas come alive in the mind of the audience. Now, anyone who has studied rhetoric with yours truly will immediately recognize in the above observations a key component of rhetorical studies conceived from a Christian perspective. If rhetoric is speaking the truth to one's neighbor, to move the neighbor toward The Good, for his improvement, the vocational and ethical implications, indeed, the importance in terms of Christian Liberty, are all obvious. Serving the neighbor, expecting nothing in return, is the essence of Christian living. Serving the neighbor by discussing Truth, perspicaciously and in a lively manner, is key tomovingthe neighbor. Anyone who's studied rhetoric with yours truly also realizes how much stock I put in the thought of Richard M. Weaver! To quote one of my favorite Weaver essays,
Rhetoric moves the soul with a movement which cannot finally be justified logically. It can only be valued analogically with reference to some supreme image. Therefore when the rhetorician encounters some soul ?sinking beneath the double load of forgetfulness and vice" he seeks to re-animate it by holding up to its sight the order of presumptive goods. This order is necessarily a hierarchy leading up to the ultimate good. All of the terms in a rhetorical vocabulary are like links in a chain stretching up to some master link which transmits its influence down through the linkages ("The Phaedrus and the Nature of Rhetoric").
Over the next two weeks we will learn from Campbell some of the "nitty gritty" of how one skillfully, masterfully, intentionally affects this "movement of the soul." Preliminaries have done, we are now "at table." In the next two "courses" we will enjoy "
Dr. Tallmon serves as Rhetoric instructor at Wittenberg Academy. This article is the third of a series explaining Dr. Tallmon's summer seminar on rhetoric.
Life Science, Physical Science, Anatomy & Kinesiology, and Faith & Science
Mrs. Erika Mildred
On the Road with Wittenberg Academy
Wittenberg Academy Family Retreat April 23-25, 2020
Issues, Etc. Making the Case Conference June 12-13
Concordia University Chicago
Mrs. Mildred lives in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She receives Christ’s gifts at Faith Lutheran Church in Plano. Erika earned her B.A. and Lutheran Teachers Diploma from Concordia University, Chicago, IL. Over the years, she has been privileged to work with children of all ages as a classroom teacher for grades 7 – 12, a high school girls’ varsity basketball coach, a personal and group tutor, an online educator, a day school principal, and a home school mom of two girls. Mrs. Mildred has been involved with the Consortium for Classical Lutheran Education (CCLE) since 1999, has served on the CCLE board since 2013, and has been the board’s treasurer since 2015. Most recently, she has completed the requirements to obtain her Classical Lutheran Educator Certification through the CCLE. Her favorite parts of teaching are those “aha moments,” when a concept clicks or a connection is made. She states, “Building confidence and a love for learning in students are gifts to them that last a lifetime; it is a privilege from God to impart those things to His children.”
By George Herbert
Teach me, my God and King,
In all things Thee to see,
And what I do in anything
To do it as for Thee.
Not rudely, as a beast,
To run into an action;
But still to make Thee prepossest,
And give it his perfection.
A man that looks on glass,
On it may stay his eye;
Or it he pleaseth, through it pass,
And then the heav'n espy.
All may of Thee partake:
Nothing can be so mean,
Which with his tincture--"for Thy sake"--
Will not grow bright and clean.
A servant with this clause
Makes drudgery divine:
Who sweeps a room as for Thy laws,
Makes that and th' action fine.
This is the famous stone
That turneth all to gold;
For that which God doth touch and own
Cannot for less be told.
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
For February the Wittenberg Academy Book Club read Out of The Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis. It is the first in a science fiction trilogy. In this work, the main character Ransom, a Cambridge philologist, is kidnapped by an old school mate and another scientist, Weston, and taken to another planet, Malacandra. When they reach Malacandra, Ransom escapes his captors and takes refuge with the hrossa, the poet race on the planet. Ransom works to learn their language and customs. When Ransom encounters the other humans again, Weston explains his interplanetary goals for humanity.
During our time, we discussed the stylistic similarities between Out of the Silent Planet, The Screwtape Letters, and Lewis' other fiction works; the differences between fantasy and science fiction; and how Lewis' science fiction compared to that of H.G. Wells, who was often referenced in the text; and the creator of Malacandra, Oyarsa.
Another idea that was discussed in more detail was how Lewis' new language compared to Tolkein's Elvish from Lord of the Rings. The consensus reached was that Lewis used the hrossa's language to show the intelligence and rationality of the other life forms. This was emphasized by the choice of the other intelligent Malacandrian races to use the hrossa's language as it was the most descriptive, complete, and expressive.
We also discussed Weston's plans to establish an additional home for humanity beyond Earth. Weston's goal is to ensure that humans will never die out, and he is willing to exterminate as many as necessary to ensure living space for his kind. Weston bases his ideas of human superiority on the vast civilization and building projects on Earth. Oyarsa hears Weston's plans and realizes that although he tried to kill Ransom and did kill a hrossa, Weston does have a sort of nobility as his objectives don't directly benefit him, but rather those to come after. Oyarsa describes Weston as "bent but not broken."
The evening was enjoyed by several students, and the meeting was recorded. If you are interested in watching our thoughts, reach out and the recording will be made available.
Mrs. Rebecca McCreary serves as Quadrivium instructor at Wittenberg Academy. She was the host at February'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 23-25, 2020.
Registration is now open for the 2020 Wittenberg Academy Family Retreat!
When: April 23-25, 2020
Who: The Rev. Dr. Gregory P. Schulz
Cost: $300 per family (Includes room & board)
Registration closes April 9, 2020.
WE hope to see you there!
A point of confession
2019-20 Academic Year Dates
Michaelmas: September 3-November 22
Christmas: November 25- February 28
Easter: March 2- May 22
Trinity: June 1- August 21
"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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