Joshua Gibbs

Joshua Gibbs teaches great books to high school students at Veritas School in Richmond, Virginia. He is the editor of FilmFisher and has two daughters, both of whom have seven names. You can find him on Twitter @joshgibbs. 

Joshua Gibbs Oct 10, 2014

My Dear Wormwood,

Our patient has only recently become a Christian, and over the coming weeks, we should expect him to make some genuine progress in overcoming certain sins in which he has dabbled over the course of his life. He may have struggled with theft up until this point, or telling lies, or anger, or drunkenness. If you see him enjoy some victory over these vices, do not be discouraged. Chances are good that, despite his minor successes, one particular sin will continue to trip him up.

Joshua Gibbs Sep 29, 2014

In The Abolition of Man, Lewis suggests that virtue is learned that we might control our appetites. We have a desire for food and sex and pleasure, and those desires need limitations or else we find ourselves ever-minded of earthly things and neverminded of heavenly things. Chastity gives shape to a man’s desire for sexual pleasure, courage sets boundaries on a man’s desire for physical safety. Of course, virtue is far more than this, but is it at least this.

Joshua Gibbs Sep 17, 2014

Most school buildings are small enough, and most student populations are large enough, that at some point you will hear even your best students complaining about your incompetence. Or else your students will hear you complain to your colleagues of their lousy test work. When we secretly overhear those under us or over us complain about us, the temptation to use that discreetly gained information for our own advantage (or an opportunity for self-justification, or a finger-wagging lesson) is often quite strong.

Joshua Gibbs Sep 4, 2014

High school is that time when much of the natural child-like faith of childhood is laid aside, hopefully to be regained later, and a season of doubt and inquisition begins. If we learn nothing else from the rate of attrition in American church attendance over the twentieth century, especially among those in college, we should at least know and confess to have done a poor job responding to this doubt.

Joshua Gibbs Aug 28, 2014

It is easy to be cynical about the meteoric rise of Christianity in the fourth century. Great historians of Late Antique Christianity like RA Markus and Peter Brown ballpark the Christian population at ten percent of the total Roman population just before Constantine and close to eighty percent by the time of Theodosius— and less than a century sits between the two emperors.

Joshua Gibbs Aug 19, 2014

Special thanks to Grant Horner, whose idea about delaying the syllabus inspired this article.

Joshua Gibbs Aug 2, 2014

Any classics teacher who has laid open the typical patristic commentary on the Odyssey, especially the account of Odysseus being tied to the mast of his ship, has likely encountered students who ask, with either chagrin or ennui, “Isn’t he reading a little too deeply into all of this?” Often enough, the mast of Odysseus’ ship is interpreted as the Cross, and the man of tricks is reckoned safe from the song of heretics because he fastens himself to the Wood.

Joshua Gibbs Jul 26, 2014

“While there are many theological matters upon which I heartily disagree with Peter Leithart, he is yet one of the finest literary critics writing…” is not the first line of this article. This is the most important thing I have learned from Peter Leithart. The second most important thing I’ve learned from Peter Leithart is not to talk about myself. As you can already tell, I have some work to do.

Joshua Gibbs Jul 12, 2014

The idea that man is a microcosm is old enough to have gathered a diverse collection of interpretations (some pedestrian, some quite exotic) unto itself. In The Wisdom of the World, Remi Brague gives a survey of these interpretations, touching on ancient paganism, Greek philosophy, as well as Medieval Christian, Jewish and Muslim thinkers. For some, the microcosmic nature of man was a purely physical reality.

Joshua Gibbs Jul 10, 2014

Scripture uses a number of metaphors to describe the Christian life. Christians are like athletes who need to run so as to win the race. Christians are like soldiers, armed in virtue and piety. Christians are like aliens, whose citizenship in heaven is attained not by birth but by faith, hope and love. In the first millennium of Church history, though, the Christian imagination was captivated by nautical metaphors. The Christian was often thought a sailor, the Church a ship, and all of life a voyage into the heart of God.