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The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric
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The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  604 ratings  ·  65 reviews
Who sets language policy today? Who made whom the grammar doctor? Lacking the equivalent of l'Académie française, we English speakers must find our own way looking for guidance or vindication in source after source. McGuffey's Readers introduced nineteenth-century students to "correct" English. Strunk and White's Elements of Style and William Safire's column, "On Language, ...more
Paperback, 292 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by Paul Dry Books
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Average rating 4.09  · 
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Start your review of The Trivium: The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric
This dense, authoritative textbook takes all of Aristotle's teachings on logic, grammar, and rhetoric, and some of his teachings of poetics, adds some of the insights gained in the subsequent centuries, and presents it in a well-organized flow.

Sister Miriam Joseph (1898-1982) was an American nun who, inspired by a lecture by philosopher Mortimer J. Adler on the liberal arts, developed a course on the language arts at Saint Mary's College which she called "The Trivium." There being no
Roy Lotz
This book is either good or not good. This book is not good. Therefore, it is good.

For a long time I’ve been curious about older models of education. Although our knowledge of the world has no doubt advanced, I can’t help wondering if our education has done likewise. Read a newspaper or a letter from one hundred or so years ago, and it seems obvious that people were generally more literate and articulate back then. Of course, such impressions are not trustworthy; and there are a great many factors
May 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
If you can master this book it is worth more than any college education money can buy. The only reason this doesn't get five stars is because it's a bit on the difficult side. There are other books on the trivium that may be a bit easier to start with but this book has everything plus wonderful examples from the Bible to Shakespeare. After mastering this book you will easily distinguish truth from error. The trivium was how educated people from the classical age up through the 19th century. With ...more
Jul 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Serious Learners
Recommended to Paula by: PIG English & American Lit
I should preface this by saying that this is a textbook, used in the author's Freshman English classes. Yet, hers was never typical of such classes. She did not just teach the students a little grammar, she taught them how to think. I can imagine her classes must have been one of those grueling, interminable ordeals that students so love to bemoan while in the midst of it, but that they boast about after the fact. She studied under Mortimer J. Adler, so it comes as no surprise that she is well v ...more
Jun 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
My mind benefited more from this book than from all my years in public schools ... but does this really surprise anyone?
Peter Mcloughlin
When living in an age when one sees a lot of "LMAO" and "How r u". It is nice to dig into an old school grammar, logic and rhetoric book to see how language was once a fine art. This book is on three of the ancient liberal arts grammar, logic and rhetoric. It was written in the 1940s by a nun who goes over the three liberal arts of the trivium. No one in the middle ages could call themselves educated without a grounding in the seven liberal arts and the trivium of grammar, logic, and rhetoric we ...more
Sep 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book teaches two lessons: first, the humanities can, and should, have rigor associated with them; and second, it teaches how to obtain and apply that rigor. While the book requires some effort to read, for those interested in logic, grammar, rhetoric, and the liberall arts, the effort is richly rewarded.

The book opens with a dicssuon on the liberal arts and then moves to a discussion of the science of grammar. This grammar is not about subject-verb agreement and punctuation, it is about ho
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, education
Excellent book for anybody who wants to learn how to think. Clear and relevant. Covers most of the stuff we didn't learn in school lol - dumb modern education
The first steps toward understanding what you know.
Ioseph Bonifacius (Ioannes)
Mar 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: liberal-arts
A classic. Young catholics should certainly read this in order to think better and express themselves well. I read it in another book that today people who receive university degrees do not know how to express themselves, in the middle ages those who would study were very precise with their words and were very logical and rational in expressing something, that is what this book tries to accomplish.
Jan 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph

I would describe the Trivium as the art of learning because it teaches you to understand the nature and function of language so that you can organize your observations and thoughts in a matter that enables you to accurately express them to yourself and to others. The Trivium are the first three of the seven liberal arts and sciences and the Quadrivium are the remaining four. The three subjects which make up the T
Ann Michael
May 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
OK, this book may not be an 'easy read' and may not be everyone's cup of tea. Not a beach book.

Having noted the above, I want to add that anyone who is interested in logic, grammar, and how the two connect will find this book illuminating. Sister Miriam was a wonderful teacher, and this book is still sometimes used in college undergraduate classes to explain how Aristotelian logic works and how logic relates to rhetoric, grammar, argument.

She's remarkably clear. Her langu
Jan 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book more than any other reset my course and gave me the foundation I have long sought in order to learn everything else. It is less about her subjects, grammar, logic and rhetoric than a course in critical thinking. I am a lifelong fan of logic and reason and I had a pretty good grasp of that. But Sister Miriam's teaching enlightened me. I can now use it with more precision and express and persuade others more easily due to that precision. God Bless Sister Miriam.
Aug 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: women-writers, work
Worth reading for all the infromation about writing and word usage.
Davey Ermold
May 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was not at all what I was expecting it to be! I bought it in order to better understand the history and philosophy of teaching the trivium, especially as it related to primary and secondary education; however, the subtitle of the book was a greater indication of its true subject matter: "Understanding the Nature and Function of Language."

Indeed, "The Trivium" functions as a primer of sorts on grammar, logic, and rhetoric. While it can definitely serve as an introduction to
Samuel Maina
Jan 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy, education

This is a book that should be read very slow by any student of poetry and anyone who wants to be well versed with the language that is English. Especially more if you have plans to be a writer.

It is almost impossible to write about logic, rhetoric and grammar and not quote from the classical age. Those guys were worth their salt. True to say that life can only be understood backwards but lived forward.

I have had to read this slow (about a month) and I will
I rated this 4 stars for the intensity and depth of learning that can occur with this book. It reads more like a textbook. I'm glad I persevered and finished to the end. Difficult but worth it.
Zy Marquiez
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-reviews
In their How To Read A Book – The Classical Guide To Intelligent Reading [review here], Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren postulated that most published books out there will not be complex enough to teach the reader anything of true substance.

However, the authors also argued that there is a second tier of books “from which you can learn – both how to read and how to live.”[1] Am venturing to say that The Trivium is one of those books, from which an immense amount can be learn
May 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
Joseph's putative goal is to organize and explain norms within the three arts of the trivium: logic, grammar, and rhetoric. But because she oversimplifies, she's more likely to mislead than educate.

Her definitions use philosophical terms of art in a way that confuses without adding meaning. For example, she writes, "A word, like every other physical reality, is constituted of matter and form. Its matter is the sensible sign; its form is the meaning imposed upon it by convention." Here, she cram
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy, grammar, logic
A fantastic book. To the beginner it will seem very mysterious and even arcane, and put together strangely, but by a logic the book teaches, and so will seem sensible by the middle or before. The secret is that it's really a splicing together of Scholastic logic, basics of universal grammar from a book called Hermes and others, and rhetoric from Aristotle & some other places. So in a way it's half-baked, I mean it doesn't cover everything that you need to cover to understand all of what is i ...more
Lucas Magrini Rigo
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's a nice introduction to the Aristoteles arts. It gets quite technical on the grammar section, but the rethoric and logic sections are really enjoyable to read.
I went in unwarned of the school-tone of the book, so I didn't enjoy it that much, but I really took some good stuff out of it. For instance, people usually use Entimems to hide fallacies. Entimem is a Syllogism with an implicit premise, so you need to reveal it and double-check if it is correct.
Amber Scaife
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was ok
Well, that wasn't really what I was expecting. The title led me to believe it would be a cool discussion of the nature of language, but it's really just a grammar. And it reads like a grammar (i.e. not all that exciting). *shrug*

Post Note: Why do grammars have to be so dull?! Language is exciting and fun, so what can't the books explaining how they work reflect that? Yoicks.
James Wondrasek
Aug 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Feels like it was written to support an out-dated philosophy. But it is an old book written by a nun, so perhaps that should not be a surprise. Not much time was given to rhetoric, and the logic was pretty shallow if you have had any exposure to logic before.
Zeshan Sheikh
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 100-books
I wish I read it much earlier.
Austin Hoffman
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Impossibly thorough, this covers everything you could possibly want to know about the arts of the Trivium. Unfortunately, it sins by using endnotes.
Chad McCanless
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very different book to read but full of wisdom and knowledge. This is not a book you can read through in a few weeks. I recommend it.
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: summer-2017
Despite multiple reviews for this book that made it sound like EXACTLY what I was looking for, it really fell flat for me. Hopefully I'll "get it" when I try reading it again in the future.
Brian Fitzroy
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read so many rhetoric books before this that is was all review. This just goes to show what it's like being an autodidact—you read books out of order all the time.
Donna Anoskey
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
A classic, which I my opinion should be required reading for college students.
Christopher Rush
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Readers may at first suspect of the three titles this book contains, it has almost nothing to do with the first (The Trivium), a scant bit to do with the second (The Liberal Arts of Logic, Grammar, and Rhetoric), and spends almost all of its time on the third (Understanding the Nature and Function of Language). If such is the case, we are directed toward two possible conclusions: 1) Sister Joseph didn't really know much about the Trivium after all; or 2) we didn't really know much about the Triv ...more
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Sister Miriam Joseph Rauh, C.S.C., PhD (1898–1982) was a member of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. She received her doctorate from Columbia University and was Professor of English at Saint Mary's College from 1931 to 1960. She is the author of several books including The Trivium which is a text she developed as part of the core curriculum of Saint Mary's College. It discusses the medieval liberal a ...more
“Sister Miriam Joseph rescued that integrated approach to unlocking the power of the mind and presented it for many years to her students at Saint Mary’s College in South Bend, Indiana. She learned about the trivium from Mortimer J. Adler, who inspired her and other professors at Saint Mary’s to study the trivium themselves and then to teach it to their students. In Sister Miriam Joseph’s preface to the 1947 edition of The Trivium, she wrote, “This work owes its inception…to Professor Mortimer J. Adler of the University of Chicago, whose inspiration and instruction gave it initial impulse.” She” 0 likes
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