I majored in Classical Archaeology and History at Dartmouth. As I sat in the courtyard behind Greenfield Library on the St. John’s College campus, I began tuning in to a conversation on my left. A professor and student were talking about Herodotus as they sat face-to-face. I pulled up the St. John’s reading list for its Great Books curriculum on my iPhone. Yes, there on the Freshman Year of Study is Herodotus’ Histories. This important work of classical literature focuses on the victory of the Greek city-states against the mighty Persian empire during the fifth century BCE.
Suddenly, I was back in the classroom again, reading, pondering, and discussing the foundational texts of Western civilization. The reading list at St. John’s College “includes classic works in philosophy, literature, political science, psychology, history, religion, economics, math, chemistry, physics, biology, astronomy, music, language, and more.” Amid the historic buildings and stately grounds of a compact campus, generations of St. John’s students have been wrestling with the eternal questions of human existence. The answers to these questions might help solve some important problems we face today.