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The Early Church Fathers and Classical Education


Wes Callihan


Presented at the CiRCE National Conference 2023.

Many Christian educators struggle to define the proper attitude of Christians toward “pagan” literature and the worldview it espouses. But we don’t need to reinvent the wheel. The great Christian writers of the first eight hundred years of church history – the “undivided age” of the church – lived in the culture that produced that material, and they described nearly unanimously the faithful Christian attitude toward it. While the idea of “plundering the Egyptians” is a good start, these early Fathers had a clearly developed foundation for that idea. They had much to say and we need to listen carefully since they are our ancestors in the faith and have handed on such treasures of wisdom. This talk will lay out the main presuppositions behind the position of these fathers on using and being discerning about the classics.