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Wisdom and Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Learning Paperback – April 12, 2006

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Wisdom and Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Learning + Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning: An Approach to Distinctively Christian Education (Turning Point Christian Worldview Series) + Repairing the Ruins: The Classical and Christian Challenge to Modern Education
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (April 12, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581345526
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581345520
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.5 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #533,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Wisdom and Eloquence is an indispensable contribution to the literature of classical Christian education."
E. Christian KopffAssociate Director, Honors Program; Director, Center for Western Civilization

"Evans and Littlejohn have written a remarkable treatise on education-a readable, practical, and encouraging discourse that demystifies and clarifies the purpose of a liberal education."
D. Bruce LockerbieChairman, Paideia, Inc., Stony Brook, New York; Author, A Christian Paideia: The Habitual Vision of Greatness

"The authors explore not just the methods but the content of a good Christian education. The book is full of great ideas, but it is also practical, drawing from the authors' years of experience as classical teachers and administrators."
Gene Edward Veith Jr., Provost and Professor of Literature, Patrick Henry College; Director, Cranach Institute, Concordia Theological Seminary

"For followers of Christ, a true education is always concerned with who we are, even more than what we know. Littlejohn and Evans help today's Christians-especially parents-to understand the essence of true education. Wisdom and Eloquence is a book for our times, our churches, and our children. Read, learn, and be inspired."
R. Albert Mohler Jr., President and Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

About the Author

Robert Littlejohn’s career spans 25 years in K-12 and higher education, during which he has served in a variety of teaching and administrative capacities. Charles T. Evans is an executive consultant for Paideia, Inc. and coauthor of Wisdom and Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Learning

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By J. Johnson on December 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
Our authors have been involved in education for many years both public and private; Christian and "secular." They are associated with the Society of Classical Learning and speak with profound insight and experience. The strength of the book is the historical discussion of the Liberal Arts and their interaction with Miss Sayers' 1947 essay, "The Lost Tools fo Learning." In addition, they demonstrate the use of the Trivium among Christians of various ages over the past 2500 years of Western history. I don't agree with everything our authors say, but overall it is one of the best discussions in the neo-classical school movement.
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Format: Paperback
Many parents, lamenting the apparent demise of the public school system, have resorted to home schooling in an effort to revive what they perceive to be a quality education, the classical education. In light of spiraling dropout rates and the plummeting quality of education, it should be no great surprise that there has been a huge resurgence in interest of the classical Christian education, both with the parent and educator alike.

In 1947 Dorothy Sayers addressed a summer class held at Oxford in which she delivered a classic essay entitled "The Lost Tools of Education," outlining the possibility of reviving the lost art of the classical education. Robert Littlejohn and Charles T. Evans expound upon, while begging to differ some with Sayers, the basic premise of the classical education in their book (marvelously eloquent in its own right), Wisdom and Eloquence: A Christian Paradigm for Classical Learning.

The authors use the "trivium" as the stepping stone into their discourse on the merits of the classical education. The literal meaning of trivium is the threefold way or road," the three stages, in order, are grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric. Coming from a Christian worldview, Littlejohn and Evans continue on to delineate what they feel the classical education entails in the realm of liberal arts and sciences, mathematics and music, right on down to keyboard instruction. They continue on to explain how educators and parents can implement the educational strategies which once upon a time produced some of the great intellects of the world.

I found myself almost immediately discomforted with the overabundance of polysyllabic words in the text. It appeared to be written in an academic language meant to impress rather than instruct.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Luke Nieuwsma on July 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
I've just finished pouring over, underlining, and eagerly scribbling comments in this fantastic contribution to the classical, Christian conversation. These pages hold a brilliant vision for using the 7 liberal arts to produce students who think, who speak with eloquence, and who walk in wisdom. They also give practical advice to teachers and boards in loving and instructing students in a rigorous but not rigid pedagogy in a rich academic culture full of joy, and in having a defined vision and long-term plan for making a school succeed in its own community. Homeschoolers will also find much to inspire the shape of their family curriculum.

I did find myself disagreeing with the case the authors make against Dorothy Sayers' application of the Trivium as the grammar stage (teaching building blocks of knowledge K-6), the logic stage (teaching formal reasoning in the pert stage, 7-8), and the rhetoric stage (teaching formal rhetoric and skills of self-expression in high school 9-12). Our authors correctly point out that Sayers is not using the historical meaning of the Trivium, but I know from personal experience (as an ACCS graduate and a teacher at an ACCS school) that children do generally develop through Sayers' trivium of stages: the grammar/poll-parrot stage of chanting jingles and learning lots of info to the argumentative, analytical junior high years to the more polished, more adult and independent attitude. Sayers' Trivium is insightful, in other words, and it works. However, the authors do rightly point out that the Trivium (lingual grammar, analytical logic/argumentation, rhetoric/public speaking) is not necessarily a stepping stone which must be mastered first before going on to music, math, science, etc.

All in all, this book is worth your time and your money.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Regina Liggins on May 19, 2010
Format: Paperback
If you are not familiar with Classical education, don't start with this book. This book is great, but it is not for the beginner. "Wisdom and Eloquence" is written on a doctoral level (mostly for the educator). There is no reading fast and glossing over minor details, the details are never minor. When you pick up this book, be ready to study.

With that said, this book is beautiful, eloquent and convincing. In addition to the well laid out argument for Classical education, I was surprised to find my faith strengthened by the reasoning and scripture use of the authors. If you are a christian educator or a homeschooling parent with an understanding of Classical Education, read this book! You will never be the same!
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