Wes Callihan

Wes Callihan LIVE? Yes please! (And a special offer)

Wes Callihan reading John of Damascus during Hill AbbeyWes Callihan, the author of the Old Western Culture curriculum, has been offering live classes through Schola Classical Tutorials since 1997. In addition to “Great Books I-IV” (corresponding to Old Western Culture years 1-4: The Greeks, The Romans, Christendom, and Early Moderns), Wes Callihan also teaches Homeric Greek, Rhetoric, Church History, and Astronomy.

A pioneer of the modern Classical education movement and a teacher of teachers, a live class with Wes Callihan is not something to be missed! He is known for his ability to bring the essence of the Great Books that shaped the Western world into story form, and create an environment of community and camaraderie among his student, who can live-chat questions during his lectures. As a generation of Schola graduates now demonstrate, the end result are students who leave his classes with the love of learning and the kernel of curiosity planted in their hearts and minds.


Schola Classical TutorialsAs a special promotion running SEPTEMBER 1st – 7th, receive 1 unit from The Greeks  FREE with any NEW course sign-up from Schola Classical Tutorials ($56 value)! Once you’ve signed up at the Schola website, send an email to info@romanroadsmedia.com with your unit of choice from The Greeks and we’ll send you the DVD set!

Enjoy Wes Callihan live AND have his teaching in DVD form!

In what way is Old Western Culture a "Christian Approach" to the Great Books?

crossOld Western Culture is a distinctly Christian course. The creators of the course believe in the inerrancy of Scripture, the Providence of God working in history, and that all truth is God’s truth wherever it may be found.

A Christian worldview is not “taught” as an afterthought, but assumed throughout and thoroughly integrated in the approach to the material. Below are two small excerpts from the course which demonstrate how this works itself out in Old Western Culture.


Platonic Heresies and the Church (excerpt from The Philosophers).

Why the Aeneid Mattered to Early Christians (and still matters today!)

The Bitterness of Achilles (excerpt from The Epics).

Does Old Western Culture present the perspective of a specific denomination?

Wes Callihan, the author, makes this statement:

I teach explicitly as a Christian and in the light of the historic, universal Christian faith. In nearly every class I make connections to that faith and to the radically
redemptive character of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of His Resurrection and of the church’s mission for individuals and nations. I affirm three things as most important:

  1. the Nicene Creed as a faithful summary of the Christian faith,
  2. the gospel as declared in John 3:16, Romans 10:9-13, and I Corinthians 15:1-4.
  3. the absolute necessity of Christian unity and love in the bond of peace as expressed in Galatians 5:22-23 and throughout I John.

I am largely in agreement with the major Reformational Protestant confessions, especially the Westminster Confession of Faith and the 39 Articles of the Church of England, but am deeply appreciative of and often sympathetic to the historic Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches.

None of this is required of students – the only spiritual requirements are a good attitude and a willingness to learn – but it should be expected that the teaching will clearly, explicitly, and regularly reflect a historical and classical Christian perspective.

If Old Western Culture is a Christian course, why does it include Pagan literature?

More on why you should study Pagan literature:
– Q&A with Wes Callihan: Why Should we Study Pagan Authors? (10 min video)
– Course Excerpt from The Philosophers: St. Paul alludes to Socrates (2:44 min video)

History: A Moral Requirement

The study of history is a moral requirement for Christians. 
Think of the Israelites who were required to remember the past. 
Think of Paul in the NT: ‘These things were written for our instruction.’

– Wesley Callihan, Porch of our Fathers

History: A Moral Obligation

Preparing Younger Kids for a Great Books Education

Preparing Younger Children for a Great Books EducationOne question that often comes up as we talk to parents of younger children is “How do I prepare my younger children for a Classical (Great Books) education?”

What a great question! There is a lot to consider: do my kids need to learn Latin and Greek, do they need to be learning ancient history now, do we need to study the Trivium (grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic) in elementary?

To help families with younger children, we’ve published a wonderful e-book by one of the top thought leaders and teachers in the world of classical, Christian education today – Wes Callihan, author of the Old Western Culture curriculum.

The e-book is called “How to Prepare Younger Children for a Great Books Education” and we would love to share it with you for free.  

Proclaiming Claudius Emperor

Claudius, the 4th emperor of Rome, had to be dragged out from behind curtains where he was hiding in order to be proclaimed emperor by the Praetorian Guard. A bookish man, preferring to write and study history, Claudius did not want to be emperor. After all, many of the previous emperors had been killed by rivals. It is said that Claudius, a partially crippled man from birth, accentuated his condition so as not to appear a rival to Caligula who had been killing other heirs. In the end, Claudius’ fears were not unfounded, for he was assassinated himself.

Taken from Lesson 1 (An Overview of Roman History) of The Aeneid, Unit I of The Romans in the Old Western Culture literature curriculum.

Proclaiming Claudius Emperor

Taken from The Aeneid, part I of The Romans, year 2 of the Old Western Culture literature curriculum for high school. Painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema. A.D. 1867.

A Tour of Wes Callihan's Personal Library

The Great BooksWes Callihan gives a tour of his personal library, located at his home (also known as Hill Abbey) in Potlatch, Idaho.

This tour also doubles as a mini-lecture on a philosophy of the “Great Books.” Wes explains why his collection is slightly different than Mortimer Adler’s Great Books set (University of Chicago Press).

Wes Callihan organizes his library chronologically by time period, in part so that he can brush his fingers through the “leafs of time.” Enjoy this tour!

YouTube version HERE.

A Chronological Confession of Faith

Guest post by Wesley Callihan

The Advent season marks the beginning of the church year. As my pastor said once, one of the most important things we can learn in our celebration of the seasons of the church year is the basic truth that calendars are not silent – they always tell a story. Calendars are not neutral. The question is, what story do they tell? Or to ask it another way, who is the Lord of time and does our answer show in the way we mark the passing of time?

Philip Schaff, one of the greatest of modern church historians, says about the church calendar that it centers on and elevates the the person and work of Jesus Christ and His glory. It developed as a yearly representation of the main events of the gospel history; the birth, passion, and resurrection of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, as well as an exhibition of the life of the Christian church, its founding, growth, and consummation, as a whole and in its individuals, from regeneration to the resurrection of the dead. 

“THE CHURCH YEAR IS, SO TO SPEAK, A CHRONOLOGICAL CONFESSION OF FAITH; a moving panorama of the great events of salvation; a dramatic exhibition of the gospel for the Christian people. I

“THE CHURCH YEAR IS, SO TO SPEAK, A CHRONOLOGICAL CONFESSION OF FAITH; a moving panorama of the great events of salvation; a dramatic exhibition of the gospel for the Christian people. It secures to every important article of faith its place in the cultus of the church, and conduces to wholeness and soundness of Christian doctrine, as against all unbalanced and erratic ideas. It serves to interweave religion with the, life of the people by continually recalling to the popular mind the most important events upon which our salvation rests, and by connecting them with the vicissitudes of the natural and the civil year.”

Though the Scriptures contain no warrant for the festivals of the church year (neither does it contain anything that would forbid them so long as they are not presented by the church as binding on the conscience of the believer),

Saints and Feasts of Church Calendar

Saints and Feasts of Church Calendar, circa 1500. Unknown painter

the Old Testament patterns of religious practice are a precedent, and the necessity of at least some kind of Christian worship and public life demands that we think about how we mark the passing of time. The Anglican/Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer says in its preface that the church year and other extra-Biblical practices of the church are not binding on the conscience but legitimate uses of the church to promote faith.

Unfortunately, the church calendar became so overlarded with saints days and other festivals in the middle ages that the Reformation leaders felt the necessity of restoring an earlier simplicity, but there was never any question of abandoning the church year entirely, as that would simply hand over the keeping of cultural time to the unbelieving world.

Written by Wesley Callihan, originally appearing in Scholegium, Vol. 1.2

Refuting the Syncretistic View of the Great Books | Wes Callihan

What is the source of truth? Wes Callihan explains the error of some proponents of the great books, who seek to find truth in a syncretistic approach to the Great Books.

Why are the great books valuable to read? Is it because in them we find truth? Wes Callihan rejects the notion that we find truth in a syncretistic approach to the great books, yet explains why they are still valuable to read, study and enjoy. Among other things, they point us to truth, even though they are not the source of truth.

Why are the great books valuable to read? Is it because in them we find truth? Wes Callihan rejects the notion that we find truth in a syncretistic approach to the great books, yet explains why they are still valuable to read, study and enjoy. Among other things, they point us to truth, even though they are not the source of truth.