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Beauty in the Word

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  202 ratings  ·  28 reviews
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, ...more
Paperback, 178 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Angelico Press
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4.19  · 
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 ·  202 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Cindy Rollins
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, 2017, reread
This book is pure philosophy and a wonderful correction to the ages and stages model of classical education.
Apr 11, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Matt Bianco
May 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
May 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: education, religion
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
May 19, 2018 rated it liked it
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 ...more
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: education
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 ...more
Wendy Jones
Apr 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
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!
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!
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 ...more
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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.
Christina Jaloway
Apr 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The best book on Catholic education that I've read thus far.
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
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 ...more
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
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 ...more
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: education, 2019
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.
Brian Wirth
Jul 13, 2018 rated it liked it
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.'"
Jan 17, 2018 rated it liked it
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.
Kim Coleman
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Maybe the best book I’ve ever read on education. The best and most Christ centered interpretation of the Trivium I’ve ever seen.
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
Meh. 2.5 stars.
Ben Daghir
Jun 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
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
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education, philosophy
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 ...more
Courtney Clark
Mar 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: homeschooling, 2014, 2018
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 ;)
Oct 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I fell in love with this book at the Introduction. This is a necessary read for those unfamiliar with how to integrate the liberal arts into their lives. He walks you through with such insight that I was breathless at intervals. My mind palace has added more rooms and adornments from all of the beauty, Truth, and goodness laid out in this short book. I finished it then I picked it back up again and again. I just couldn't stop reading it over and over.
Rick Davis
Feb 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good, dense reading. Lost me a little in the Rhetoric chapter. Excellent footnotes and bibliography for book-list lovers.
May 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was my second time through. Still wonderful, still stretching, still full of new ideas to ponder and discuss.
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Stratford Caldecott MA (Oxon.), STD, was a Senior Contributor at The Imaginative Conservative, editor of the Humanum Review (online book review journal of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute), and co-editor of Second Spring and the UK/Ireland edition of Magnificat.

He had served as senior editor at Routledge, HarperCollins, T&T Clark, Sophia Institute Press, and as a commissioning editor for
“Today, in a world with instant access to Google, we rely on the electronic web to supply everything we need, from historical facts to word definitions and spellings as well as extended quotations. All of us who use a computer are aware of the shock of inner poverty that we suddenly feel when deprived (by a virus or other disaster) of our mental crutches even just for a day or a week. Plato is right: memory has been stripped from us, and all we possess is an external reminder of what we have lost, enabling us to pretend to a wisdom and an inner life we no longer possess in ourselves.13” 6 likes
“The central idea of the present book is very simple. It is that education is not primarily 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.” 4 likes
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