ACCS recommends these books related to classical Christian education:

  • The Lost Tools of Learning“, Dorothy Sayers
  • Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, Douglas Wilson
  • The Seven Laws of Teaching, John Milton Gregory
  • Repairing the Ruins, edited by Douglas Wilson
  • The Case for Classical Christian Education, Douglas Wilson


Optional titles:

  • The Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis
  • Education, Christianity, and the State, J. Gresham Machen
  • Foundations of Christian Education, Louis Berkof, Cornelius Van Til
  • Of Education, John Milton
  • On Christian Doctrine, Augustine
  • Ideas Have Consequences, Richard Weaver
  • On Secular Education, R.L. Dabney
  • The Paideia of God, Douglas Wilson
  • Why Johnny Can’t Read, Rudolf Flesch

Chris Schlect, history instructor at New Saint Andrews College recommends the following:

1. Quintilian, Institutes of OratoryQuintilian wrote in the first century A.D. He epitomizes Roman education, and his pedagogical ideas were generally followed in the Middle Ages.

2. Cassiodorus Senator, Institutiones, or Institutes of Divine and Human Readings. The preferred edition is titled An Introduction to Divine and Human Readings, translated by Leslie Webber (New York: Octagon Books, 1966).  Cassiodorus flourished in the mid 500’s, and was secretary to Ostrogothic King Theodoric. He founded a monastery, and his educational program, which he outlines in this work, would become the pattern for studious pursuits in monasteries throughout Christendom.  It was his influence that turned monasteries into centers of learning.  He pioneered the idea of the “Scriptorium,” and monks thereafter devoted themselves to copying and preserving texts and libraries. To this we owe much of the classical heritage that we continue to enjoy today (including the text of the Bible), because medieval scribes copied and preserved the ancient manuscripts. To fulfill a learned monk’s calling as a scribe or as a commentator on Scripture or the Church Fathers, Cassiodorus believed that a certain program of education was prerequisite.  This program was what we know as the Seven Liberal Arts.

3. Martianus Capella, The Marriage of Philogy and Mercury. The preferred edition is Martianus Capella and the Seven Liberal Arts (two volumes), translated and introduced by Stahl, Johnson and Burge (New York, Columbia University Press, 1971) Capella describes the seven liberal arts in highly allegorical style, which made it appealing to later mediaevals despite the fact that Martianus wasn’t a Christian.  He wrote at the turn of the 5th century (contemporary of Augustine) in Carthage (near Augustine). His book is no doubt influenced by the same culture of education in which Augustine was trained, and which the latter advanced in a Christianized form in his famous treatise, On Christian Doctrine.

4. Augustine, On Christian DoctrineAugustine, a Christian through and through, argues that there is much value in the excellent liberal education that dominated the pagan Roman world (e.g. Logic, Rhetoric). However, he takes great pains to preserve the antithesis between belief and unbelief, and so he urges his vision for a classical education that is distinctly Christian.