Why Do We Read Pagan Classics?

October 13, 2015

“There is too much to learn from Homer, Plato, Virgil, Shakespeare and Hemingway not to study them.”

It is not uncommon to receive inquiries from parents–of both current and prospective students—as to why we teach the pagan classics and learn about the ancient pagan gods at Heritage Classical Academy.

We are sensitive to these questions and (as good questions do) they force us to evaluate why we do what we do.

When answering these types of inquiries, the administrators, teachers, and I seek to answer with 2 affirmations:

  1.  Jesus Christ and the revelation of Him in the Holy Scriptures is the unassailable Truth.
  2.  Men and women who do not trust Jesus Christ can still discover truths and convey them in such a way that helps us understand the Truth more fully.

We must not throw out the baby of goodness, truth, and beauty with the bathwater of pagan authorship.  There is too much to learn from Homer, Plato, Virgil, Shakespeare and Hemingway not to study them.

Much more could be said on the topic, but Dr. Louis Markos—the keynote speaker of our upcoming Conference:  C.S. Lewis and Morality in Education—has already said it quite well.

Here is an excerpt from his article, the entirety of which can be found at the link below:

“I . . . contend that our understanding of the written and incarnate Word of God can be enriched and enhanced by wrestling with the pagan classics. God speaks to us in many ways and through many mediums, and, though Scripture should act as the touchstone against which all such communications are to be measured, we must not allow any “puritan” suspicions of the moral value and doctrinal status of humanistic pursuits to prevent us from accessing these messages from our Creator.”

Why Christians Should Read the Pagan Classics by Dr. Louis Markos