Brian Phillips

Dr. Brian Phillips is the Director of CiRCE Consulting & the Headmaster of the CiRCE Academy.  He also serves as a pastor in Concord, NC, where he lives with his wife and their four children.

Brian Phillips Apr 10, 2013

Stratford Caldecott’s 160-page new book Beauty in the Word has proven difficult for me to finish, and I mean that as a sincere compliment. 

Brian Phillips Feb 8, 2013


There are, we generally believe, “math people” and “non-math people” – or to put a finer point on it, there are math people and there are “humanities people”.  The math people enjoy equations, technology, pocket protectors, and comic book conventions. The humanities people attend Renaissance festivals, enjoy Shakespearean insults, despise popular books, and often lurk in coffeehouses. At least, those are a few of the stereotypes.

Brian Phillips Jan 24, 2013


“Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost.” Dante’s Divine Comedy opens hauntingly with good reason - the poet had received a death sentence in his home city, Florence, and was faced with execution or exile.  When we understand this, his opening words could be deemed an understatement.

Brian Phillips Oct 5, 2012
For my Rhetoric II students, the class of 2013 at Covenant Classical School: I have taught rhetoric for years.  My syllabus is detailed, my scope and sequence nearly memorized.  No braggadocio intended, but I can teach much of the course without notes.  And, while in writing I try to avoid clichés like the plague, you could say that teaching rhetoric is “old hat” to me. Or perhaps it would be if not for my students.
Brian Phillips Oct 1, 2012
Need to get caught up on this series?  Read part one or part two.
“I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” – Jesus (John 17:15-16)
Brian Phillips Sep 25, 2012
Part Two
“Our situation today shows that beauty demands for itself at least as much courage and decision as do truth and goodness, and she will not allow herself to be separated and banned from her two sisters without taking them along with herself in an act of mysterious vengeance.  We can be sure that whoever sneers at her name as if she were the ornament of a bourgeois past…can no longer pray and soon will no longer be able to love.”

- Hans Urs von Balthasar

Brian Phillips Sep 17, 2012
Part One My journey into classical education mirrors the story of so many others.  I came across a catalog from a Christian classical publishing house, which led me to Dorothy Sayers’s essay “The Lost Tools of Learning,” which led me to internet searches, which led me to The Abolition of Man, and so on.  I was quickly drawn into the world of C.S. Lewis, including and beyond Narnia, to Middle Earth, to G.K. Chesterton, and so on.  Such are the nostoi (“return stories” or homeward journeys) of so many in the classical renewal.
Brian Phillips Sep 11, 2012
The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris

The Thinking Man sculpture at Musée Rodin in Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brian Phillips Aug 30, 2012
“Ethos is the in articulate expression of what the community values.  It includes the quality of relationships within the school, the traditions, the professional comportment, the approach to classroom management, the out-of-class decorum, the aesthetic personality of the school reflected in the student and faculty dress codes, the visual and auditory imagery, and the physical plant itself…Ethos is the way in which the school expresses (or doesn’t) truth, goodness, and beauty through the experiences of every person who enters our halls.”
Brian Phillips Aug 29, 2012
Part 1 The solid darkness of the spires stood in subtle contrast against the moon light.  Our hearts lifted slightly at the knowledge of the place,  so, wearily we put forth what energy we could to reach the gates. We escaped the Plague, but no one left the gruesome scene  unscathed; nearly half our city had fallen to the disease.  Yet, for some time, it seemed we had stolen away only to die in the wilderness.  Cutting through the face-high weeds and grass, we entered the clearing in front of the castle mote.