Wisdom matters.

As an honors student, you'll read and discuss an extensive list of notable works from the Western intellectual tradition—we refer to these as the "Great Books." Through seminar-style reading discussions, you'll refine your abilities to ask and answer questions, communicate insights and deepen your understanding of the Christian worldview.

Sample Reading Schedule

Here's a preview of the types of literary works, authors and topics you can expect to discuss with passionate, high-achieving students and our expert faculty.

IDS-140: Honors I—Antiquity

Readings from Antiquity provides foundational understanding of mythical and philosophical themes at the root of Western civilization. This includes texts such as:

  • "The Epic of Gilgamesh"
  • Selections from Homer's "The Iliad"
  • Plato's "Phaedo"
  • Plato's "Apology"
  • Selections from Plato's "Republic"
  • Selections from Aristotle's "Nicomachean Ethics"
  • Euripides' "Medea"
  • Euclid's "Elements of Geometry"
  • Book of Judith from the Apocrypha

In conjunction with the readings, you'll examine related topics, current events and ethical issues such as euthanasia, virtues and oral history using interdisciplinary problem solving approaches, context lectures, emerging documentation and problem-based learning.

IDS-141: Honors II—Late Antiquity/Early Medieval

Readings from Late Antiquity to Early Medieval follows the full transformation and integration of Christian civilization—good, bad and ugly, with particular interest on the life of the mind and the imagination for the believer. This includes texts such as:

  • Plutarch's "Lives of Famous Greeks and Romans"
  • Augustine's "Confessions"
  • Augustine's "On Christian Doctrine"
  • Boethius' "The Consolation of Philosophy"
  • Thomas Aquinas' "Summa Theologica"
  • Dante's "Inferno"
  • Julian of Norwich's "Divine Shewings"
  • Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales"

In conjunction with the readings, you'll examine related topics, current events and ethical issues such as personality, human sexuality and the problem of evil using interdisciplinary problem solving approaches, context lectures and problem-based learning.

IDS-240: Honors III—Renaissance/Enlightenment

Readings from Renaissance to Enlightenment will show the fusion of humanistic ideas and trajectories in science, politics, philosophy and theology. This includes texts such as:

  • Machiavelli's "The Prince"
  • Thomas More's "Utopia"
  • Luther's "95 Theses"
  • Selections from Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion"
  • Hooker's "39 Articles of Anglicanism"
  • Selected essays by Montaigne
  • Hobbes' "Leviathan"
  • Bacon's "Novum Organon"
  • Shakespeare's "King Lear"
  • Descartes' "Discourse on Method"
  • Pascal's "Pensées"
  • Rousseau's "Discourse on Inequality"

You'll examine related topics, current events and ethical issues such as culture making, ecclesiology and family systems using interdisciplinary problem solving approaches, context lectures and problem-based learning.

IDS-241: Honors IV—Modernity

Readings from Modernity show the displacement of theistic visions by thorough-going revisions of human knowing and acting. This includes texts such as:

  • Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations"
  • Wollstonecraft's "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman"
  • Locke's "Second Treatise on Civil Government"
  • Jefferson's "Declaration of Independence"
  • Selections from Lamarck's "Natural History of Animals"
  • Selections from Malthus' "Principles of Political Economy"
  • Finney's "Lectures on Revival"
  • David Strauss' "Life of Jesus"
  • Lobachevski's "Theory of Non-Euclidean Geometry"
  • Audubon's "Birds of North America"
  • Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address"
  • Marx's "Communist Manifesto"
  • Darwin's "Voyage of the 'Beagle'"
  • Nietzsche's "Beyond Good and Evil"
  • Kuyper's "Calvinism as Life-System"

You'll examine related topics, current events and ethical issues such as just war, diplomacy and evolution using interdisciplinary problem solving approaches, gamification, emerging documentation and problem-based learning.

IDS-340: Honors V—Late Modernity/Post Modernity

A seminar of the great books covering the 20th and 21st century from writers such as Churchill, Carsen and Derrida. This includes texts such as:

  • Derrida's "Of Grammatology"
  • Levi-Strauss' "The Raw and the Cooked"
  • Polanyi's "Tacit Knowledge"
  • Einstein's "Special Theory of Relativity"
  • Heisenberg's "The Uncertainty Principle"
  • Flannery O'Connor's "The Collected Stories"
  • Selected speeches given by Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Alexander Solzhenitsyn's "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich"