The Abolition of Man: A Book Study

with Dr. Steve Turley

Many scholars and organization have rated C.S. Lewis’s book The Abolition of Man as one of the top-ten, most important books written in the twentieth century. Lewis himself considered this book his favorite out of all his works. Any classical educator or leader should be familiar with Lewis’s criticism of modern education (particularly its relativism and rejection of objective value) and his argument for the preservation of the traditional, classical model of education that seeks to cultivate just virtues and affections in the souls of students so that they become fully human and men with—rather than without—chests.

In this concise course, Dr. Steve Turley (humanities educator at Tall Oaks Academy in Delaware and professor of aesthetics at Eastern University) introduces and explains Lewis’s insights into education, beginning with a clear overview and then taking us chapter by chapter through the book. He concludes with a lecture showing how many of Lewis’s predictions about education have proved prescient and accurate. Turley also notes how the renewal of classical education is a reason for optimism, as many classical educators, schools, and homeschools are returning to the older way of education that Lewis advocates.

This is a fitting course for any educator or leader who wants to more deeply understand the philosophy of the classical approach to education while also grasping the ways in which so much of modern education has deteriorated by rejecting the ideals of knowable and universal truth, goodness, and beauty. Viewers will also enjoy the discussions that follow each lecture feabolition-of-manaturing Dr. Christopher Perrin and Dr. Turley.

This course is also available on Dr. Turley’s own teaching website, www.TurleyTalks.com.

Students of this course should secure and read a copy of The Abolition of Man. We encourage you to read each chapter in the book prior to Dr. Turley’s corresponding lecture.

This course begins with an introductory overview of The Abolition of Man, then presents lectures on each of the chapters in the book, followed by a conclusion. After each lecture, there is also a recorded, brief discussion between Dr. Christopher Perrin and Dr. Turley.

  • Lecture 1: Introduction to The Abolition of Man
  • Lecture 2: Men without Chests
  • Lecture 3: The Way
  • Lecture 4: The Abolition of Man
  • Lecture 5: Illustrations of the Tao
  • Lecture 6: Conclusion: The Continuing Pertinence of Lewis’s Insights into Education

Steve Turley (PhD, Durham University) is a theologian, social theorist, classical Christian educator, and prize-winning classical guitarist. He is the author of The Ritualised Revelation of the Messianic Age: Washings and Meals in Galatians and 1 Corinthians and Awakening Wonder: A Classical Guide to Truth, Goodness & Beauty. Steve blogs on the church, society and culture, education, and the arts at TurleyTalks.com. He is a faculty member at Tall Oaks Classical School in New Castle, DE, where he teaches theology, Greek, and rhetoric, and is a professor of fine arts at Eastern University. Steve lectures at universities, conferences, and churches throughout the U.S. and abroad. His research and writings have appeared in such journals as Christianity and Literature, Calvin Theological Journal, First Things, Touchstone, and The Chesterton Review. He and his wife, Akiko, have four children and live in Newark, DE, where they together enjoy fishing, gardening, and watching Duck Dynasty marathons.

Introduction

C. S. Lewis remains one of the most prominent intellectuals, writers, and theologians of the twentieth century. Born in Belfast on November 29, 1898, Lewis spent much of his childhood and young adulthood immersed in reading, education, and the fantastical worlds of his imagination. He experienced World War I and II first hand, both as an infantryman and lieutenant, and later as a BBC broadcast host reaching out to the British public. He attended Oxford University as a student and went on to teach English and literature at Magdalen College, Oxford, and Magdalene College, Cambridge. It was during his time in Oxford that Lewis converted from atheism to Christianity. He made his home at The Kilns in Oxford, living there with his wife, Joy Davidman, until her death in 1960. Lewis died on November 22, 1963, at the age of 64.

 

Images from the Life of C. S. Lewis 

 

Books by C. S. Lewis

Lewis wrote over thirty books during his lifetime. Several of these developed from his famous university lectures and radio broadcasts, such as The Abolition of Man and Mere Christianity, respectively. Lewis is  known world-wide as the author of his classic children’s fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia. To others, he is best known as an author of theological books concerning Christianity, faith, love, and sorrow; these include The Screwtape LettersThe Great DivorceThe Four Loves, and A Grief Observed. He is also the author of a science fiction trilogy including Out of the Silent PlanetPerelandra, and That Hideous Strength.

 

                    

Please Note: ClassicalU is currently developing a certification to accompany our course offerings. The certification credit component of this course is now active but also undergoing refinement and testing.

To obtain a certification credit for this course, simply complete the quiz that follows each presentation in the course, and then also take the certification test at the end of the course. The quizzes are designed to ensure that you have understood the essential content of each presentation, and they can be taken more than once if necessary. The cumulative certification test at the end of the course is given as a pass/fail test and requires that you upload one short essay (of 600-750) demonstrating your understanding this course. When you have completed the course, a certificate that you can print or email will magically appear under the “My Courses” section of this website.

For this course the essay assignment is:

In approximately 600-750 words, describe why it is important not only to instruct students—but to cultivate their affections so that they love the true, good, and beautiful.

Please allow approximately 2 weeks for essay submissions to be reviewed.

By taking the course for certification credit, you also will be on your way to obtaining a Level 2 certification.

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