Wisdom Literature for Beginners

Spring 2023

14-Week Session

Fridays, 1:45 - 2:50 PM (EST)

Online | Zoom

January 13 - April 28, 2023

$325 | Student 

$265 | Auditor

Multi-class discounts available (see "Pricing").

COURSE DESCRIPTION

Many people are intimidated by the idea of reading ancient works of philosophy. When standing in book stores, we have all pulled dense philosophical texts from the shelf, thumbed through to the middle, and thought, “I wish I understood this kind of thing.” However, every ancient philosophical text is not the same. Many old philosophy books are—with a little help—quite doable for the common man (and the common high school student).

"Wisdom Literature for Beginners" is a class which centers around two of the greatest philosophy books ever written: The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius and Ecclesiastes. When most people think of philosophy, they think of theories, ethics, abstractions, and hypothetical scenarios. However, the greatest philosophical texts are not theoretical and not all that abstract. They have more to do with making careful observations about how people tend to work, how the mind works, and how the heart moves from one emotion to the next. Both The Consolation of Philosophy and Ecclesiastes are far more concerned with human nature than with difficult theses about “the good.” By the time the average human being is just fifteen or sixteen, they have experienced enough to begin piecing together what happiness is, what sort of happiness is sustainable, and why some people make themselves miserable.

By the end of this class, students will be able to speak comfortably about wisdom, what it is, why it is necessary, why it is humbling, and why so few people find it. "Wisdom Literature for Beginners" is suitable for high school students and adults alike.

Note: If you are afraid of getting behind in the reading, take heart. This class is particularly light in terms of reading. I wager that each week will require no more than 30 minutes of reading.

 

BOOK LIST

The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius

Ecclesiastes (English Standard Version)

COURSE DATES

“Wisdom Literature for Beginners” is a 65-minute class and meets on Friday afternoons from 1:45 to 2:50. The class will run from January 13 through April 28 and include 14 sessions in all.

(NOTE: Class will not meet April 7 or April 14)

COURSE LEVELS

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. 

PRICING

Student Level Pricing:

1 class - $325

2 classes - $600

Auditor Level Pricing:

1 class - $265

2 classes - $500

CLASS POLICIES

  • 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.  

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