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 Mar 1, 2017

A late winter fantasy.

God created all things through separation. Water from water. Man from rib. Light from darkness. St. Augustine taught the separation of light from darkness was the fall of the unholy angels, whom God separated from His righteous servants after a war in heaven. The separation of darkness from light was thus a restoration of peace. From the midst of clamor and upheaval, man asks again if a separation of light and dark might restore peace.

Joshua Gibbs Mar 1, 2017

A spectre is haunting classical education— the spectre of chronological snobbery. In the last several months I have written a handful of essays articulating and defending the special privilege classical education affords to very old things, and accusations of chronological snobbery occasionally follow. These accusations come not only from casual observers of classical education, but from classical theorists, as well.

Joshua Gibbs Feb 24, 2017

My students break the little rules. They do not like to tuck in their shirts. They are like pack-a-day smokers in class, their hands itching to untuck those shirts. They rush outside for lunch, untucking their shirts and sighing deeply as that untucked nicotine hits their blood. They try to get away with untucking their shirts in class, in the halls. When I tell them their shirts are untucked, they feign looks of surprise as they slowly crane their necks down towards their flapping hems, and say, “Oh, I didn’t know.

Joshua Gibbs Feb 23, 2017

On Tuesday, secondary students were excused from their last class of the day and learned to square dance in the gymnasium instead. Rarely have I seen them all smile so broadly and enjoy one another’s company with such zeal. I sat in the stands and watched them reel and revolve for an hour. They were missing a theology class, a philosophy class, but what did it matter? Dancing is incarnate cosmology.

Joshua Gibbs Feb 21, 2017

Why is it so painful to listen to people talk about Jesus in Christian films? When people are saved on celluloid, I cringe. However, I love seeing flesh and blood human beings turn from their wickedness and live. What gives?

Joshua Gibbs Feb 20, 2017

King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women besides Pharaoh’s daughter—Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians and Hittites. They were from nations about which the Lord had told the Israelites, “You must not intermarry with them, because they will surely turn your hearts after their gods.” Nevertheless, Solomon held fast to them in love. He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray.

Joshua Gibbs Feb 15, 2017

Consider the following: 

“…will God incense his ire/For such a petty Trespass, and not praise/ Rather your dauntless virtue…?”

-Satan speaks to Eve in Book IX of Paradise Lost

"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it. Resist it, and your soul grows sick with longing for the things it has forbidden to itself, with desire for what its monstrous laws have made monstrous and unlawful."

-Lord Henry to Dorian Gray in Wilde's novel

Joshua Gibbs Feb 10, 2017

“Did I miss anything?” asks the student who was absent yesterday. Many teachers are apt to sigh at such a question and respond with sarcasm, “No. We did absolutely nothing of value yesterday.” Especially snarky teachers might reply, “No, and neither did we.”

However, “Did I miss anything?” is an entirely fair question. While teachers often take the question for an insult, it is actually very polite. “Did I miss anything?” is an abbreviation. The full version of the question is, “Did I miss anything I couldn’t figure out on my own?”

Joshua Gibbs Feb 9, 2017

On occasion, students (or the teacher) simply hate a classic text. Despite noble efforts to the contrary, the teacher cannot bring them around to it. The last page is finished with a groan, the book slammed shut with disdain, and the class declares the work a waste of time. In such moments, the teacher must act and speak decisively. He cannot say, “Win some, lose some,” and go on to the next book. He must defend the value of reading the book.  

When the class hates a text, the teacher ought to say something like this:

Joshua Gibbs Feb 6, 2017

I. A student once asked me if I thought it was okay for high schoolers to fall in love. I replied, “As long as the love isn’t requited and the student tells no one about it, I don’t see a problem with a high schooler falling in love.” I may have added some other caveat about the love slowly tearing the lover apart on the inside. I was only half-joking.