The Great Conversation is a longstanding dialogue about universal experiences, historical events, and philosophical ideas. Contained in what are known as the Great Books, this dialogue encapsulates the questions that have been asked and answered since the beginning of time and has shaped every aspect of Western civilization. In The Great Conversation courses, we engage the dialogue using a chronological and integrated approach to benefit from the context that each genre (literature, history, theology and philosophy) provides for the others. We do not study these writings from a supposedly neutral perspective, but rather from the context of the biblical worldview. The ultimate goal is that, as students learn to love what is good, true, and beautiful in these works, they will grow in their love of God and neighbor.

The Great Books are delightful, but also demanding. The Great Conversation courses aim to provide a foundation for life-long study of these works. School of Logic students become familiar with the great stories, events and ideas of the time through close reading. As they grow in their knowledge of the works, students will have the opportunity to examine and engage the ideas they encounter from a biblical perspective. School of Rhetoric students continue the habit of close reading and examination of the main ideas while cultivating deeper skills of thinking, integration, and expression. As they grow in their ability to express a topic with eloquence and relevance, students will become more effective in impacting the broader culture for Christ by speaking the truth in love for God and neighbor.

The Great Conversation 1

Students engage the Great Conversation at its beginning by learning some of the earliest and most beautiful stories ever written, along with the major events and ideas of ancient Mesopotamia, Israel, Greece and Rome. Along with several Bible books, students will study the work of Homer, Herodotus, Livy, Virgil and others. The course also includes several novels by C.S. Lewis whose stories bear many connections with the themes found in the Bible books and ancient works. Students will cultivate the skill of close and thoughtful reading as they listen in on the initial portion of the Great Conversation. They will be encouraged to weigh the experiences, events, and ideas they encounter in light of biblical truth. Aimed at School of Logic students, class discussions and writing assignments will provide opportunities for students to articulate their understanding of authors’ works and contrast ideas with the teaching of Scripture.

Please note that this course is considered to be a “School of Logic” course and will not earn high school credit.

2020-2021 TGC 1 Book List

The Great Conversation 2

Students encounter The Great Conversation as it unfolded during the Middle Ages through a study of some the most influential works of the medieval times and some works inspired by this period. The course covers the period from the fall of Rome to the death of Elizabeth I and focusses on medieval England due to the influence and connections with US history and culture. Students will continue to see how, in works of history, philosophy, theology and literature, people have grappled with the big questions of life. They will be encouraged to weigh the experiences, events, and ideas they encounter in light of biblical truth. Aimed at School of Logic students, class discussions and writing assignments will provide opportunities for students to articulate their understanding of authors’ works and contrast ideas with the teaching of Scripture.

Please note that this course is considered to be a “School of Logic” course and will not earn high school credit.

2020-2021 TGC 2 Book List

The Great Conversation 3

Students study some of the most influential writings and events that shaped the modern world, beginning with the Protestant Reformation. Students will continue to develop their ability to both thoughtfully read a great book and to discuss its main ideas and questions with others. Aimed at School of Rhetoric students, class discussions and writing assignments will provide opportunities for students to listen to, examine and meaningfully engage the ideas they encounter from a biblical worldview.

2020-2021 TGC 3 Book List 

The Great Conversation 4

Covering the same time period as The Great Conversation 1, level 4 takes the student deeper into the works of many of the same authors. Homer, Plato, Livy and Virgil are some of the thinkers whose works are explored on a new level. Taught alongside several books of the Bible, the primary source writings demand that students interact with brilliant minds of the ancient world. Through class discussion and writing assignments, School of Rhetoric students will increasingly shape their own rhetorical skills and more eloquently critique the Graeco-Roman worldview through the unchanging truths of Scripture.

2020-2021 TGC 4 Book List

The Great Conversation 1+4

This course is designed for students who begin The Great Conversation courses in ninth or tenth grade and can benefit from a survey of ancient works before moving on to the upper levels of The Great Conversation. As a combination of levels 1 and 4, TGC 1+4 will examine key works of the ancient world in order to interact with some of the brilliant minds of the ancient world.  As with the other levels of The Great Conversation, students will increasingly shape their own rhetorical skills and more eloquently critique the Graeco-Roman worldview through the unchanging truths of Scripture.

Prerequisites: Students must be enrolled in 9th grade or higher with no prior exposure to The Great Conversation series.

2020-2021 TGC 1 + 4 Book List

The Great Conversation 5

Students encounter The Great Conversation as it unfolded during the Middle Ages through a study of some the most influential works of the medieval times. The course covers the period from the fall of Rome to the death of Elizabeth I and focuses on medieval Europe. Students will continue to see how, in works of history, philosophy, theology and literature, people have grappled with the big questions of life. They will be encouraged to weigh the experiences, events, and ideas they encounter in light of biblical truth. Aimed at School of Rhetoric students, class discussions and writing assignments will provide opportunities for students to acknowledge the voices that have contributed to the Great Conversation and begin to add their own compelling Christian voice.

Prerequisites: Minimum age of 14, with exceptions granted.

2020-2021 TGC 5 Book List

The Great Conversation 6

Covering the same period as The Great Conversation 3, this course is designed for upper level School of Rhetoric students and provides a walking tour of the people, ideas, and books from the Modern Era that have brought us to our present day. Using various works of theology, philosophy, and literature, students will consider how the ideas of the Enlightenment and Romanticism gave way to different manifestations of materialism, socialism and existentialism in the 20th century. Specific emphasis is given to how God’s word of truth and the person and work of Jesus Christ provide the interpretive lens for God’s people to navigate this new world in a way that is for our good and His glory. Class discussions and writing assignments will provide opportunities for students to acknowledge the voices that have contributed to the Great Conversation and begin to add their own compelling Christian voice.

Prerequisites: Minimum age of 14, with exceptions granted.

2020-2021 TGC 6 Book List

Please note that The Great Conversation 1 & The Great Conversation 2 are considered to be “School of Logic” courses and will not earn high school credit.  The others all earn 2.5 credits, 1 in history, 1 in literature and 0.5 in theology, and they will be displayed on the transcript as three separate courses.