🔒 Soul-Making Studies

I’ll admit to being biased here. Teaching a great books course at Columbia — I was a graduate student, my charges were freshmen — was the pedagogical experience of my life. I was never the same again, and I know that many of my students also weren’t, because they told me so, and because, decades later, some of them still tell me so. It confirmed me as a convert to the mission: to great books courses in particular, and to the humanities in general, as unique and indispensable parts of the undergraduate experience. So when that mission is attacked — or defended particularly well — I tend to pay attention. Lately, it’s been both. Last fall, Roosevelt Montás, a senior lecturer at Columbia and former director of its Center for the Core Curriculum, published Rescuing Socrates, a beautiful, powerful, personal argument on behalf of great books programs. Together with another

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