There are many excellent Catholic brick-and-mortar colleges these days, and several good online programs. Nonetheless, few students discover the tremendous heritage of Western civilization, and, for various reasons, only a tiny percentage of all Catholics will attend a faithful Catholic college or university. This is why the Aquinas Institute, thanks to a generous grant from the Midwest Theological Forum and with the cooperation of Wyoming Catholic College, has created a new online Great Books discussion program: to give all students easy access to the beginnings of a traditional liberal education, especially students who may need to fulfill core requirements at another university and would rather learn from faithful Catholic teachers.

The Great Books Core is a fully accredited two-year course of studies in Humanities, Philosophy, and Theology. The program is based on two simple ideas: Great Books and real-time conversations.

First, the Great Books. The transformative power of original texts cannot be emphasized enough. At a typical college or university, students are not given the opportunity to delve deeply into perennial questions but are rushed into a specialization for the sake of finding a job.  But when students grapple directly with the minds that shaped our world, they discover that they can think deeply about reality: knowledge is not only about power, and thinking does not have to be left to experts. Further, they discover that they can join the great conversation of the Western world: they are not second-rate citizens but full heirs of all past ages.

Of course, students cannot break into the Great Books all on their own, but that is where our second principle comes in: real-time conversations. We believe that the best way to join the great conversation of the ages is through a live give-and-take with teachers and fellow students. Many minds working together bring out how rich the text is, how capable of supporting multiple lines of thought, how applicable to the most various of circumstances. Moreover, real-time conversation contributes to a traditional liberal arts formation: the effort to put thought into words exposes fallacies, sparks new insights, and hones rhetorical skill, while the need to respond helpfully and convincingly to others fosters the habit of attentive listening. What would our world look like today if more citizens possessed the ability to dialogue with insight and charity?

To see our curriculum, click here or download our Catalog. This fall, we will offer three courses: “Gods and Heroes in Ancient Greece,” “Tools of Philosophy,” and “Salvation History I”. Students will read Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Scripture, and more, with an excellent, international faculty. For more details, click here.

We are nearing the end of July, and registration for fall courses closes on August 31st. When you read this announcement, would you do us a favor? Please spread the word. Share the link to this post on social media, and on your blog if you have one. Tell friends. You could make all the difference for a young and hungry mind.