1 minute reading time (240 words)

Marshall McLuhan and The Classical Trivium

McLuhanMany people quickly associate the name "Marshall McLuhan" with his quip "The medium is the message."

Not as many are aware, however, that McLuhan held a doctorate from Cambridge University or that his dissertation, The Classical Trivium: The Place of Thomas Nashe in the Learning of His Time.

McLuhan mapped out the Trivium from its earliest days and through Augustine, Abelard, and Erasmus through to Thomas Nashe, following a structure of Grammar, Dialectics, and Rhetoric for each stage.

This work is not for the timid initiate, but it is replete with thought-provoking perspectives, references, and citations which ought not be overlooked. A sample:

"One can see here a typical instance of the problems which unavoidably arise when a Christian thinks that the disciplines which he has learned are fundamentally sound, but have to be transformed by grace. Thus St. Augustine felt that all of Cicero's doctrines had to be overhauled. He was in a position to do it; for with the great Christian orators of the four centuries before him, Roman eloquence was coming back to life in the purity of the Ciceronian ideal; not merely the written eloquence of Quintilian. The difference was that instead of addressing men to guide them toward the common good of the city as Brutus, Crassus, Cicero, and others had done, St. Augustine and the Christian orators resorted to eloquence to  guide Christians to God and the common good of the City of God."

Forbes: Whatever Happened to Common Core?
Hemingway's Reading List for a Young Writer (1934)
 

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Thursday, 19 July 2018

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