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What is a good education? What is it for? To answer these questions, Stratford Caldecott shines a fresh light on the three arts of language, in a marvelous recasting of the Trivium whereby Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric are explored as Remembering, Thinking, and Communicating. These are the foundational steps every student must take towards conversion of heart and mind, What is a good education? What is it for? To answer these questions, Stratford Caldecott shines a fresh light on the three arts of language, in a marvelous recasting of the Trivium whereby Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric are explored as Remembering, Thinking, and Communicating. These are the foundational steps every student must take towards conversion of heart and mind, so that a Catholic Faith can be lived out in unabashed pursuit of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful. Beauty in the Word is a unique contribution to bringing these bountiful aspects of the Real back to the center of learning, where they rightfully belong. If your concern is for the true meaning of education for your children, here is the place to begin.


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What is a good education? What is it for? To answer these questions, Stratford Caldecott shines a fresh light on the three arts of language, in a marvelous recasting of the Trivium whereby Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric are explored as Remembering, Thinking, and Communicating. These are the foundational steps every student must take towards conversion of heart and mind, What is a good education? What is it for? To answer these questions, Stratford Caldecott shines a fresh light on the three arts of language, in a marvelous recasting of the Trivium whereby Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric are explored as Remembering, Thinking, and Communicating. These are the foundational steps every student must take towards conversion of heart and mind, so that a Catholic Faith can be lived out in unabashed pursuit of the True, the Good, and the Beautiful. Beauty in the Word is a unique contribution to bringing these bountiful aspects of the Real back to the center of learning, where they rightfully belong. If your concern is for the true meaning of education for your children, here is the place to begin.

30 review for Beauty in the Word: Rethinking the Foundations of Education

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Rollins

    This book is pure philosophy and a wonderful correction to the ages and stages model of classical education.

  2. 5 out of 5

    ladydusk

    I cannot give this book any stars. Not because I'm upset to have read it in any way. Not because I don't think it's a valuable read for one in my "profession." But mostly because it was mostly beyond me. Oh, there were parts that I enthusiastically agreed with, that I understood quite well, but there were also parts where the underpinnings of philosophical and/or theological thought undid me thoroughly. It took me a long time to read - I was often intimidated by the Roman Catholic-ness of the wo I cannot give this book any stars. Not because I'm upset to have read it in any way. Not because I don't think it's a valuable read for one in my "profession." But mostly because it was mostly beyond me. Oh, there were parts that I enthusiastically agreed with, that I understood quite well, but there were also parts where the underpinnings of philosophical and/or theological thought undid me thoroughly. It took me a long time to read - I was often intimidated by the Roman Catholic-ness of the work. Not being in that faith tradition, it's often foreign and like jumping across slippery rocks to understand the implications that Caldecott was indicating. As a Reformed Protestant, his particular concern that liturgy trump scripture I found difficult to reconcile. This is a book to come back to, I suppose. I appreciate those who have wrestled with Caldecott's ideas ahead of me (like Cindy Rollins) and translated many of them (particularly Remembrance). I cannot rate it because I struggled with it so much over so long a time - 2+ years? and it's a short book. I'm glad I've read it. I'm almost more glad I've finished it. The deficiencies are all mine and I do recommend wrestling with it. I plan to do so again. Someday.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Steve

    There are moments of 2 stars but more of 4 stars over all. I liked the recasting of the trivium as Remembering, Thinking, Speaking. There are many other great moments, quotes and insights that make it so worthwhile. The downsides are more to do with the explicit Roman Catholicism, downgrade of Scripture, acceptance of evolutionary science, and openness to other religions arriving at the truth.

  4. 5 out of 5

    M.G. Bianco

    Stratford Caldecott has yet again proved to amaze me (again because I've already read his book, Beauty for Truth's Sake). His previous book focuses on the Quadrivium of the Seven Liberal Arts. This book focuses on the Trivium of the Seven Liberal Arts. The book is amazing because he reimagines--or, to use his words, "creatively reinterprets (Caldecott, 133)"--the Trivium in terms we're not used to thinking about it. Grammar he likens to mythos, remembering, truth, the Father, and that which is gi Stratford Caldecott has yet again proved to amaze me (again because I've already read his book, Beauty for Truth's Sake). His previous book focuses on the Quadrivium of the Seven Liberal Arts. This book focuses on the Trivium of the Seven Liberal Arts. The book is amazing because he reimagines--or, to use his words, "creatively reinterprets (Caldecott, 133)"--the Trivium in terms we're not used to thinking about it. Grammar he likens to mythos, remembering, truth, the Father, and that which is given. Dialectic he likens to logos, thinking, Goodness, the Son, and that which is received. Rhetoric he likens to ethos, speaking, the Beautiful, the Spirit, and that which is shared. Some of these likenings are easier to imagine, others take some work. He paints a beautiful picture, however, to make the task easier. He is a Catholic, and that comes out more in this text than the previous, but that's okay. He's not afraid to speak about things in terms of his Catholic thinking. So he warns us not to educate children to be too literal with the Bible, he wants liturgy (a shout-out to James K.A. Smith?) and catechesis to be a foundational element in that education, and objective truth to be assumed in it. The book is thought-provoking on many levels, and will ask you to reimagine your own thoughts about the Trivium, especially if your familiarity with it comes primarily from Dorothy Sayers' important essay. I do not think you will be disappointed should you make the time to read this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    As someone in the homeschooling trenches, I love a book that can help guide my vision while also giving me specifics on how to accomplish that vision. This book does that. It gave me new insights into the Trivium and the importance of directing my children's hearts toward God. Caldecott gives his own spin to Grammar, Dialectic and Rhetoric in a beautifully written way. The book incorporates a lot of wisdom. However much of the practical advice he gives (such as making sure children read and are r As someone in the homeschooling trenches, I love a book that can help guide my vision while also giving me specifics on how to accomplish that vision. This book does that. It gave me new insights into the Trivium and the importance of directing my children's hearts toward God. Caldecott gives his own spin to Grammar, Dialectic and Rhetoric in a beautifully written way. The book incorporates a lot of wisdom. However much of the practical advice he gives (such as making sure children read and are read the books and stories that are the foundation of our culture, obtain access to nature, practice art, etc.) is already incorporated into the days of most homeschoolers I know. Although the advice is nothing new, it's good to be reminded of the value of such activities. Also, Caldecott is Catholic and is primarily addressing Catholic educators, which I am not. But, as the author himself says, "We need not fear to recognize beauty in another person's beliefs." I am more bothered by his declaring the Bible to be subordinate to liturgy and his espousals of John Paul II's views on evolution.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Rider

    3.5 stars. I found much to mull over in this book, and some insightful ideas. However, I felt a lot of what Caldecott was trying to convey was not made accessible enough. Many of the points he expounded upon merely distracted me from the central purpose of the book - education - so that I didn't dwell on his points as relates to education specifically. I was also unconvinced by some of his connections and suggestions, and felt the book wanting of more practical suggestions for the implementation 3.5 stars. I found much to mull over in this book, and some insightful ideas. However, I felt a lot of what Caldecott was trying to convey was not made accessible enough. Many of the points he expounded upon merely distracted me from the central purpose of the book - education - so that I didn't dwell on his points as relates to education specifically. I was also unconvinced by some of his connections and suggestions, and felt the book wanting of more practical suggestions for the implementation of his ideas.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    So beautiful, and I basically underlined the whole book. It discusses the personalist philosophy that should be the foundation of education, specifically Catholic education, while leaving open the application for further development. Very interesting!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Cris

    I was really looking for authority and clarity in Caldecott but I have to say that I am disappointed. Yes, Caldecott brilliantly points out Simone Weil’s insight that the final end of education is to prepare people to to give loving attention to God in prayer. I could not agree more. He rightly points out that education needs the collaboration of two people, as Newman said in The Idea of a University, not individuals. He also says: Classical Education, the traditional Christian method, can be re I was really looking for authority and clarity in Caldecott but I have to say that I am disappointed. Yes, Caldecott brilliantly points out Simone Weil’s insight that the final end of education is to prepare people to to give loving attention to God in prayer. I could not agree more. He rightly points out that education needs the collaboration of two people, as Newman said in The Idea of a University, not individuals. He also says: Classical Education, the traditional Christian method, can be reduced into remembering, thinking and communicating. Does he mean to moderate the influence of books like Climbing Parnassus that would base education solely on Greek and Latin works with no modern works or of punitive systems? I think so, but he is not clear enough for the general public. Does he mean to say that biology is unimportant when he praised the use of imagination in Jesuit memory palaces? I doubt that. I rather think he means it to be a more organic process not just drill. Yet, he is not clear enough. (See what Aquinas said about the connection between facts and prudence.) Also, because he seems to spend most of his time speaking to the classical brick/mortar schools, he does not go in-depth enough into the problems of parents choosing secular or Waldorf education. After all, few Catholic schools are directed by people trying to get kids to contact spirits, even if the kids are using Waldorf techniques like drawing without lines and singing without tone. Yet if as he admits homeschoolers are becoming a cultural force, I wonder why he does not address himself more to parents. His caveats to unschooling are really not well connected and specific at all. (You can’t teach someone to draw without drawing something.) As I watch a myriad of my friends losing sight of the true focus of education, demanding more rigor or technology or freedom from things, I keep hoping authoritative sources will appear. Educational pundits are missing the boat by not educating the parents first.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Pettit

    "The central idea of the present book is very simple. It is that education is not primarily about the question of information. It is not even about the acquisition of information. It is not even about the acquisition of ‘skills’ in the conventional sense, to equip us for particular roles in society. It is about how we become more human (and therefore more free, in the truest sense of that word). This is a broader and a deeper question, but no less practical. Too often we have not been educating "The central idea of the present book is very simple. It is that education is not primarily about the question of information. It is not even about the acquisition of information. It is not even about the acquisition of ‘skills’ in the conventional sense, to equip us for particular roles in society. It is about how we become more human (and therefore more free, in the truest sense of that word). This is a broader and a deeper question, but no less practical. Too often we have not been educating our humanity. We have been educating ourselves for doing rather than for being (11). The task before us is not only to renew the foundations of education, but to rediscover our own relationship to Being (the secret of childhood), and our place in a cosmos that is beautiful in the Word (11-12)." I found this book inspiring, instructive, and beautiful throughout. Caldecott delightfully reimagines the classic Trivium, launching from the firm foundations of theology, philosophy, and anthropology. At every stage of the Trivium he includes the importance of music and poetry, imagination and curiosity, truth, goodness, and beauty, Father, Son, and Spirit.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Josiah

    For a book that's supposed to be about the Trivium, it isn't about the Trivium all that much. Half of it felt more like a defense of Roman Catholicism than a book on classical education. And while there were some things that I liked about the book, I came away unsure of what its main points are since it was really all over the place. I liked Caldecott's book on the Quadrivium, but if you're looking to understand the Trivium, Littlejohn's Wisdom and Eloquence or Clark's The Liberal Art's Traditio For a book that's supposed to be about the Trivium, it isn't about the Trivium all that much. Half of it felt more like a defense of Roman Catholicism than a book on classical education. And while there were some things that I liked about the book, I came away unsure of what its main points are since it was really all over the place. I liked Caldecott's book on the Quadrivium, but if you're looking to understand the Trivium, Littlejohn's Wisdom and Eloquence or Clark's The Liberal Art's Tradition are both better options. Rating: 2 Stars (Inconsistent).

  11. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Jones

    I’d rate this a 3.5, but rounded up on account of the many profound passages that I enjoyed. It’s quite possible that familiarizing myself with these concepts over the past 4 years has contributed to my lack of excitement while reading more of the same information on education; it was great for refreshing!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jayme

    This is a highly philosophical text, though it does try to recast the ages and stages model of classical education into something more practical and integrated--remembering, thinking, and communicating--as well as more noble--the education of the heart. It is not intended to be a curriculum model, however, but rather a philosophical framework, specifically for Catholic education; and it does assume some familiarity with philosophy and classical education on the part of the reader. If one can slo This is a highly philosophical text, though it does try to recast the ages and stages model of classical education into something more practical and integrated--remembering, thinking, and communicating--as well as more noble--the education of the heart. It is not intended to be a curriculum model, however, but rather a philosophical framework, specifically for Catholic education; and it does assume some familiarity with philosophy and classical education on the part of the reader. If one can slog through the highly theoretical bits and read with discernment the emphasis on Catholic dogma, the acceptance of evolutionary science (pp. 78-79, 102), the subordination of scripture to liturgy (p. 102), and the relativistic conception to faith (p. 117; though perhaps he is merely more Clementine than Tertullian in his approach), they will glean a bit of truth, beauty, and goodness from its pages.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Rick Davis

    The overt Roman Catholic perspective may be off-putting to some Protestant readers, as will the author's perspective on evolution. However, do not let these things deter you. This is one of the most beautiful, well-written, and thoughtful books on classical education I've ever read Anyone involved in a Christian, Classical school or homeschooling in a classical method ought to read it and think deeply on it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ryan

    Caldecott is a powerful voice, leading the resurgence of classical education in Catholic schools. A must-read for any parent/teacher interested in giving children an education that sets them free to become fully alive human persons... rather than today's standard trade-school mentality of producing valuable cogs in the state's economic wheel of consumerism.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Christina Jaloway

    The best book on Catholic education that I've read thus far.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    This is a book about how knowledge fits together and finds its consummation in the Triune God. In Professor Anthony Esolen's engaging preface he points out that the modern world argues endlessly about the education of children because it doesn't understand what a child is, or what a man is, or Who created them both. In this book Caldecott engages with Catholic theological aesthetics, theological anthropology, the history of educational philosophy, systematic theology, and classical philosophy al This is a book about how knowledge fits together and finds its consummation in the Triune God. In Professor Anthony Esolen's engaging preface he points out that the modern world argues endlessly about the education of children because it doesn't understand what a child is, or what a man is, or Who created them both. In this book Caldecott engages with Catholic theological aesthetics, theological anthropology, the history of educational philosophy, systematic theology, and classical philosophy all while leading the reader toward an integrated vision for the Trivium (grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric) and Quadrivium (Arithmetic, Geometry, Astronomy, and Music) in today's world. Stratford Caldecott is a fascinating author with wide-ranging interests and an engaging writing style. What is, perhaps, the boldest thrust of this book is the continual analogy-making. Grammar is not merely learning Latin verb charts; it is remembering, which is inseparable from both knowing and loving. Dialectic (logic) is not just learning how to argue; it is thinking about what is real by engaging in thankfulness to God. Rhetoric is not just about making stirring speeches; it is communing: the movement of the soul from oneself into another in a mutual act of love and communication. This book did not seem as brilliantly conceived and seamless as Caldecott's previous work on classical education, "Beauty as Truth," but it still contains many thought-provoking arguments and moments of intense beauty. I find his emphasis on the liturgy (VERY broadly defined) as the goal of all education to be incredible, as is his emphasis on beauty as a kind of joyful binding together of all other transcendental qualities. Now, what is left is the practical implementation of Caldecott's philosophy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Raffa

    There are many things to like about this book. It's discussion of education, of the trivium (grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric) is well done. It's assessment of our current educational philosophies that have failed our children over many years is spot on. And while it's heavy on a Roman Catholic philosophy of education, that is not what finally mares the book. What does is the allowance and acceptance of the theory of evolution by way of the quoted words of Pope John Paul II (See pages 78-79, 102 There are many things to like about this book. It's discussion of education, of the trivium (grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric) is well done. It's assessment of our current educational philosophies that have failed our children over many years is spot on. And while it's heavy on a Roman Catholic philosophy of education, that is not what finally mares the book. What does is the allowance and acceptance of the theory of evolution by way of the quoted words of Pope John Paul II (See pages 78-79, 102). While this is greatly disappointing, overall the book can be read with discernment to begin to grasp the necessary components of a truly "liberal arts education," and as educators how we can better train our children in the ways of truth, goodness, beauty, love, and finally in the way of Him who is singularly the way, the truth, and the life of all things.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vincent Stewart

    As I continue to work my way through the massive arsenal of books on the liberal arts tradition/ Classical Christian Education Beauty in the Word is an excellent thought-provoking read. Stratford writes from a Catholic religious perspective and while I don't line up with his Catholicism he certainly writes a lot of beautiful and challenging truths to reflect on. This book focuses on understanding what the Trivium (Grammar, Logic/Dialectic, Rhetoric) is. He takes great labors in revealing poetica As I continue to work my way through the massive arsenal of books on the liberal arts tradition/ Classical Christian Education Beauty in the Word is an excellent thought-provoking read. Stratford writes from a Catholic religious perspective and while I don't line up with his Catholicism he certainly writes a lot of beautiful and challenging truths to reflect on. This book focuses on understanding what the Trivium (Grammar, Logic/Dialectic, Rhetoric) is. He takes great labors in revealing poetically the way God has designed us to encounter it. The depth that Stratford goes into on tracing the historical, philosophical, theological and overall ontological meaning of the trivium is outstanding.

  19. 4 out of 5

    heather

    2.5-3. I am perhaps not the intended audience for this book. I was hoping to find a deeper analysis of the classical education model, particularly the Trivium, and found that, while interesting, it covered a lot of information and philosophy I already knew. It also spend more time than I thought it would applying this model to Catholic school education and/or parenting. While there were some gems for me to take with me as an educator and Christian, it was not as helpful or thought-provoking as I 2.5-3. I am perhaps not the intended audience for this book. I was hoping to find a deeper analysis of the classical education model, particularly the Trivium, and found that, while interesting, it covered a lot of information and philosophy I already knew. It also spend more time than I thought it would applying this model to Catholic school education and/or parenting. While there were some gems for me to take with me as an educator and Christian, it was not as helpful or thought-provoking as I had hoped, especially as society continues to reshape educational practice and question our ability to pursue truth.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Fr. Brian Wirth

    Good book with a solid philosophical foundation. However, I'd argue this book is more so a philosophical overview of classical education per se as opposed to a fix-all solution kit to the challenges faced in education today. "Only those who love can educate, because only those who love can speak the truth, which is love. God is the true teacher because 'God is love.'"

  21. 4 out of 5

    Stefani

    Probably my least favorite book I've read on classical education. There were some parts that I really enjoyed, but mostly it was just okay... which is a shame because I really really really wanted to like it. I'm sure some other people and personalities would like this much better than my favorite "classical ed book" (The Well-Trained Mind), so to each his own I guess.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stefanie

    This book was so highly philosophical I had a hard time following in places. There were a few gems and I appreciated that he didn't boil classical education down to 3 stages to follow but overall, I didn't really enjoy this read.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shawna

    I know that there was a lot in this book that I did not yet understand and that I will need to read it again (and again and...), but the principles are solid and I wish modern educators would take a look at what is being missed and the "why" behind what they are doing!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kim Coleman

    Maybe the best book I’ve ever read on education. The best and most Christ centered interpretation of the Trivium I’ve ever seen.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Leah Douglas

    A VERY mixed bag. Some parts excellent, some parts definitely not. Disappointing after how excellent BFTS was. Also far more Roman Catholic than BFTS was.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ben Daghir

    Caldecott provides an extensive theological and philosophical analysis regarding the essential reasons for an education rooted in God. It's through God that one comes to understand biology, health, geography, English, etc. and it's also through the latter that one also comes to know the Former. I appreciated this book for its philosophical content, argument, and analysis of philosophers and trains of thought throughout history. From John Paul II to Balthasar to Ratzinger to Augustine to Bonaventur Caldecott provides an extensive theological and philosophical analysis regarding the essential reasons for an education rooted in God. It's through God that one comes to understand biology, health, geography, English, etc. and it's also through the latter that one also comes to know the Former. I appreciated this book for its philosophical content, argument, and analysis of philosophers and trains of thought throughout history. From John Paul II to Balthasar to Ratzinger to Augustine to Bonaventure - the list of humble intellectuals were evident on every page. In terms of having applicable teaching ideas - this book is not designed for that type of "specificity." With regards to laying the groundwork, this book has toiled the fields, turned over some modern day stones, and planted the seeds. Now, just as nature reveals, the only source of nutrition and light must come from the Son.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Caldecott writes with the deep purposes of education ever in mind. His understanding of the importance of language and of the trivium are rich and full of insights. He makes clear that he is writing with Roman Catholic schools in mind, and at times this emphasis becomes so thick that his ideas will not be of significant use outside that tradition (for instance, the chapter of rhetoric that ends up dealing almost exclusively with the mass as the essence of rhetoric). Much to reflect upon and port Caldecott writes with the deep purposes of education ever in mind. His understanding of the importance of language and of the trivium are rich and full of insights. He makes clear that he is writing with Roman Catholic schools in mind, and at times this emphasis becomes so thick that his ideas will not be of significant use outside that tradition (for instance, the chapter of rhetoric that ends up dealing almost exclusively with the mass as the essence of rhetoric). Much to reflect upon and portions that certainly deserve revisiting.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Clark

    I first read this book as a lil wide eyed homeschool newbie. I understood 25% of it. That 25% was great, don't get me wrong. But I'm still glad I read it again, several years later. 😊 Old review: I read this in a boo club and while the book itself was great and I will highly recommend it to anyone pursuing a classical education for their children, I found the book club discussion even better ;)

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kristyn

    Good, dense reading. Lost me a little in the Rhetoric chapter. Excellent footnotes and bibliography for book-list lovers.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This was my second time through. Still wonderful, still stretching, still full of new ideas to ponder and discuss.

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