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  • Devin O'Donnell

Wait...where are we going? (Week 2 of 2021)

A fitting question as we begin another year, but it's so easy to lose sight amid the turbulence of inertia and beginning on a new year. And when faced with this question at different times in the year, we can (hopefully) recall our conversation on the first day of school. I asked what the purpose of coming to school was. We came to two conclusions: (1) that our education cannot merely be utilitarian (to get a job, so we can buy stuff); and (2) that the purpose of our education at The Oaks is not to get a high-paying job but to more freely glorify the Lord, walk in His ways, and delight in His will for our lives.


Our schooling is not unlike a journey or a voyage, and it's challenging to remind our students not simply of the destination but of those things that they should've learned, whether that's in proper etiquette of the bathroom to how the comma works to what is the product 7 and 9. In this way, Plato's depiction of education as "anamnesis" fits the experience of beginning a new school year. For Plato, "anamnesis" was a coming out of "the cave" of ignorance and re-remembering of what was forgotten when the pre-existent soul entered the prison house of its material body. For us, it's leading our kids out of the cave of summer, where everything was forgotten and where they now have to relearn. Lord, help us.


Here's the agenda for this week:

  1. Prayer & Catechism

  2. Collect late work

  3. Silent reading: "Interpreting the Old Testament" by Leithart

  4. Discuss reading and review Hermeneutics Notes (9/24): Fourfold Reading (Medieval Exegesis)

  5. Augustine says there are "signs" and "things" in the text-world

  6. "Things" are themselves

  7. "Signs" have significance beyond themselves and point to something else

  8. Wisdom is required in knowing how discern meaning

  9. What are the layers of "signs"?

  10. Grammatical / Historical – "What literally happened?"

  11. What do the words say happened? What is the surface-level "story" of the event? (Some of this work has already been done because you're reading a translation; but what about the translation?!)

  12. Allegorical / Analogical – "Where is Christ?"

  13. Where do we see "Messiah" that fulfills all the promises in the Law and Prophets?

  14. Moral / Tropological – "What does it mean for me?"

  15. How should I behave? / What should I do now?

  16. Eschatological / Anagogical — "How does it end? / Where is the church?"

  17. Think of how things are fulfilled, or of its meaning in "heavenly / spiritual" realm

  18. We will consider the following things, which are signs in Scripture (Characters, images, events):

  19. The Temptation of Christ (Matthew 4:1-11)

  20. Jeremiah 29:11

  21. Jerusalem

  22. wine, bread, thorns, water, etc.

  23. Begin Hesiod

  24. Review packets on Hesiod and Conventions of Epic Poetry

  25. Continue to read in Hesiod (up to line 770)

  26. Oramus, et nunc dimittis


The literal/historical backwards to the past, the allegoric forwards to the future, the tropological downwards to the moral/human, and the anagogic upwards to the spiritual/heavenly


HW Review:

  1. Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.

  2. Pray, that you may not stumble.

  3. Work on Hesiod Packet

  4. Begin drawing a "Family Tree" of the gods

  5. Prepare for Harkness discussions as you read


Consider this image of our Lord and the disciples. How often did they have questions about which Christ had reassured them multiple times over?

Jesus Calls Andrew and Peter. National Art Museum, Washington, D.C.





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