Joshua Gibbs

Joshua Gibbs is an author, lecturer, and teacher of classical literature at Veritas School in Richmond, Virginia. He is the author of How To Be Unlucky, Something They Will Not Forget, and Blasphemers. His wife is generous and his children are funny.

Joshua Gibbs Jan 28, 2020

It is hard to explain classical education swiftly and accurately, though I think it is enough to say one or two true things about it that will intrigue people enough to look further. Here are four ways of explaining the gist of classical education, none of which is longer than a hundred words. If you only have a thirty second elevator ride to describe classical education, you need not persuade anyone to do anything other than take a second look at it later with sympathy and intrigue. 

Joshua Gibbs Jan 25, 2020

Despite their omnipresence and omnipotence, I believe that schools and universities are living through the last days of grades. Within a generation, I expect report cards and transcripts, numerical grades and letter grades, dean’s lists and honor rolls will be widely despised, disparaged, and moving hastily toward a summary demise. The abolition of grades will not be an isolated movement within the realm of education alone, but part of a much larger cultural trend which is already at work in the world.

Joshua Gibbs Jan 17, 2020

A student opens a copy of Euclid’s Elements and a dark spirit emerges from the pages of the book.

Teacher-Genie: I am the teacher-genie. I will grant you one educational wish.

Student: What? Really?

Teacher-Genie: Really.

Student: I can have whatever I want?

Teacher-Genie: That’s the deal.

Student: I want an A in Geometry class.

Teacher-Genie: It is done. You have an A in Geometry class.

Student: Whoa. Awesome. This is fantastic news. Now I’m at the top of my class.

Joshua Gibbs Jan 12, 2020

Plato, Solomon, Blessed Augustine, Boethius, Dante, Edmund Burke… My favorite intellectuals died hundreds or thousands of years before I was even born. Teachers of classic literature do not often grieve the deaths of their heroes. The centuries have already grieved them for us. A man becomes aware of Plato with a little sadness built into his admiration. For stodgy traditionalists, backward-looking conservatives, and lovers of old books, a dry-eyed sadness eternally permeates our hearts. To put it simply, our heroes do not die, at least not on our watch.

Joshua Gibbs Jan 9, 2020

What is it about teenagers? The joking and giggling. The chattiness. Their curious tendency to walk right into you.

After fifteen years of teaching, I have finally discovered the perfect metaphor for the teenage spirit. It comes from a passage in Rhetoric where Aristotle remarks of young people, “…nature warms their blood, as though with excess of wine.” In other words, young people exist in a state of perpetual tipsiness.

Joshua Gibbs Jan 7, 2020

Gibbs: Could I ask you about something you said in your speech at the sports banquet last night?

Coach: Of course.

Gibbs: While speaking of the girls baseball team, you said, “I have never seen greater Christian maturity, self-sacrifice, love, courage, and determination than I saw from our young ladies on the field this year.”

Coach: Absolutely.

Gibbs: That is remarkably high praise.

Coach: It is.  

Joshua Gibbs Dec 31, 2019

Growing up, I often heard it said, “Evangelicals do everything the world does— they just do it ten years later and ten times worse.” There is some truth to the idea so far as music and graphic design is concerned; however, having paid close attention to Christian culture and secular culture over the last twenty years, I actually think it more often the case that secularists are mugging evangelicals.

Joshua Gibbs Dec 30, 2019

Teacher: I have heard that you don’t believe a book should be taught until it is a hundred years old. Is this true?

Gibbs: Not exactly. I don’t believe a book should be taught in a classical Christian high school until the author has been dead for a hundred years.

Teacher: What about World War II, though?

Gibbs: I take it you believe World War II should be taught in classical Christian high schools.

Teacher: Absolutely.

Gibbs: Why?

Joshua Gibbs Dec 22, 2019

Father: I want to ask you a tough question. You can be honest with me. Please don’t answer as an employee of this school, but as a teacher. Is it too late for my son to become classical?

Gibbs: What do you mean “become classical”?

Joshua Gibbs Dec 21, 2019

“People who cannot bear to be alone are generally the worst company.”

-Albert Guinon

Intellectuals are unanimous in their praise of solitude and loneliness. Apart from regular bouts of loneliness and frequent recourse to solitude, the mind atrophies. But why? In Episode 12, I discuss my own failing ability to “be alone,” and the somewhat drastic steps I have taken of late to regain my love of solitude and become better company to my friends.