Paradise Lost for Beginners
Fridays, 1:45 - 2:50 PM (EST)
Online | Zoom
September 2 - December 9, 2022
$325 | Student
$265 | Auditor
Multi-class discounts available (see "Pricing").
“Paradise Lost for Beginners” is a fourteen-week class entirely devoted to John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost. Paradise Lost is far more than a dramatized account of the first three chapters of Genesis. It is a profound investigation of mankind’s purpose, the Devil’s lies, and God’s love. Milton’s Satan is neither the horned figure from children’s cartoons, nor a far-fetched supervillain whose exploits are beyond credibility, but a realistically drawn sinner whose thought life exposes the psychology of temptation and evil. So, too, Milton’s Adam and Eve are not inaccessible myths, but flesh and blood human beings who interact with one another in a believable, compelling manner.
Overly academic approaches to Milton spend too much time on seventeenth century English politics, esoteric theories that Satan is the hero of Paradise Lost, and specious attempts to connect the author’s biography with obscure references in his work. However, "Paradise Lost for Beginners" is a class for readers who want to grapple with Milton’s claims about temptation, virtue, and the good life. At the end of this class, students and auditors will appreciate the beauty of the poem’s most compelling and tragic passages, understand the most important themes in Paradise Lost, and enjoy the richness of Milton’s psychological insights into the human condition.
This class is suited to high school students and adults alike.
Note: The reading load for this class is fairly light. I suspect most students will only need an hour a week to complete the reading assignments.
“Paradise Lost for Beginners” is a 65-minute class and meets on Friday afternoons from 1:45 to 2:50 PM EST. The class will run from September 2 through December 9 and include 14 sessions in all. (NOTE: Class will not meet November 25, the day after Thanksgiving)
Gibbs Classical courses are offered at two different levels: Student and Auditor.
Student Level | Students will have entry into Friday Zoom classes, as well as access to recordings of class videos and the class Canvas page, where students may ask questions (of one another or Mr. Gibbs) and carry on discussions about the reading.
Students will be assigned two essays, one in the middle of the semester and the other at the end of the semester. Students are not required to complete the essays but may do so if they choose. The essays should be a minimum of 1200 words long and will receive written feedback which will be returned to students and parents. Students have the option to resubmit their work for additional feedback.
Auditor Level | Auditors will receive recordings of the class videos delivered by email every Saturday. The Auditor Level does not come with a Canvas login. It is ideal for anyone whose schedule does not allow attendance on Friday afternoons and who does not plan on doing any written work for the class. During the 14-week session, Joshua will offer two hour-long open Zoom sessions for auditors only on a weekday evening (dates will be provided by email at the beginning of the course). During these optional session, auditors are invited to discuss the reading or ask questions.
Student Level Pricing:
1 class - $325
2 classes - $600
Auditor Level Pricing:
1 class - $265
2 classes - $500
Gibbs Classical courses are open to students aged 15 and above. Adults and college students are welcome.
No make-up sessions will be given in the event of a student absence, but recordings of the class will be available for all students.
Class will begin each Friday with the assumption that students have already done the reading which is being discussed.
All emails exchanged between students and Mr. Gibbs should be copied to a parent. All emails sent from Mr. Gibbs to individual students will be copied to parents. No private conversations between underage students and Mr. Gibbs will take place.
Students are expected to use their real names and unmodified backgrounds when in class Zoom sessions.
Students will be clearly informed of due dates for the two papers. It is the responsibility of the student to turn in work. If a student does not turn in work, Mr. Gibbs will not remind or hound the student to do so, neither will parents be notified.
Students are expected to be courteous and polite to one another in class. They are also expected to represent and defend their opinions with dignity and common sense. Disagreement between students will happen, but this is simply part of discussing politics and philosophy like mature adults. If one student’s feelings are hurt by another student, it does not necessarily mean anyone has been mistreated or that an apology is warranted.
Refund policy: A full refund is offered for anyone who decides to drop the class before the start date. A 50% refund is offered for anyone who drops the class before the second class meeting.
Late start policy: If there is space available, students and auditors may join the class after the start date but will not receive a discounted rate.