Friday, April 25, 2008

Book Review: The Great Tradition

The Great Tradition: Classic Readings on What it Means to Be an Educated Human Being is a heavy tome, both in its size and the material it covers, but it is an important contribution to the field of education. Richard Gamble has assembled excerpts of works on education from the past 2500 years. Beginning with Plato, and including such notables as Aristotle, Origen, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Milton, John Henry Newman, and T.S. Eliot, the writers offer their insights into what they feel is the true purpose of education, and how best to go about that aim. What is perhaps the most interesting feature of this collection is that many of these writers were struggling with the same educational issues we struggle with today. It is somehow comforting to learn that people 2000 years ago were equally concerned about the state of education and the proper way to raise children. "The Great Tradition" would be a great addition to a college class on educational theory. It also makes for valuable reading for anyone interested in the very important question of "what makes an educated human being?"

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