"The arts have the power to awaken the best part of the soul and lead it upward to the study of the best among the things that are” (Republic, VII.532c).
The great Greek philosopher, Plato, has been one of the biggest influences on classical education, even Christian classical education. Many have wondered what makes him so special, so influential. To understand Plato, people have turned to specific dialogues to try to get a grasp of what his project really was. In some cases, they have turned to a specific dialogue, like the Republic. In other cases, they have turned to a few shorter dialogues, like the Apology, Crito, and Phaedo. The CiRCE Institute’s Master Teacher Apprenticeship program uses Gorgias, Meno, and Phaedrus.
What We Will Do – Follow the ancient course
In this brand new Atrium offering, CiRCE Head Mentor Dr. Matthew Bianco will lead us through an overview of Plato and a close read of his most foundational dialogues: Alcibiades I, Gorgias, Phaedo, Cratylus, Theaetetus, Sophist, Statesman, Phaedrus, Symposium, and Philebus. It is this course that was used by the ancients and the early medievals as the course of understanding required to read and understand the rest of Plato’s dialogues, but more importantly, to know and understand ourselves and the world we live in.
Each dialogue is linked to a realm of understanding. In order, Plato, in these dialogues, is trying to help us understand the self, justice and the use of rhetoric, the soul, the nature of language, the nature of knowledge, the false pursuit of knowledge, leadership, love and beauty in the physical realm, love and beauty in the spiritual realm, and the nature of the Good, respectively.
How We Will Do It – For understanding then evaluation
We will consider each of the dialogues in themselves, and each of them as they pertain to how we understand ourselves and the world we live in, physically and theologically. Each month, we will discuss the entirety of the dialogue, trying to understand what Plato is saying, in the first call. The second call for each dialogue will be a follow-up evaluative discussion. Having committed to trying to understand the text in the first call, we can allow ourselves to consider whether we agree with it, what it means for us, whether we it’s right or not.
Who Should Do It - You
If you are a homeschooling parent or a brick-and-mortar school teacher that is teaching or will be teaching Plato, this is the perfect course for you. If you are the kind of person that just loves philosophy or the ancient world or Socrates and Plato, then this is the perfect course for you. If you are completely new to the ancients or philosophy or theology and just know that Plato is important but don't know why, then this is the perfect course for you. If you're not sure why you are reading this description right now, then this is the perfect course for you.
What You Will Need - Plato
To make sure you get all of the dialogues, and if you want the same translations with the same section numbering, it is recommended that you purchase Plato: Complete Works edited by John M. Cooper.
Join us in the 2022-2023 Atrium year, and together we can try to understand what being educated "in this way" means so that we too can welcome the truth when it comes.