Seek Truth and Transcend Meaning: Patrick Henry College’s Literature Minor

Seek Truth and Transcend Meaning: Patrick Henry College’s Literature Minor

Do you love to read the great books, write stories, and study famous authors? No need to change your major, simply add a Literature Minor. Part of what makes Patrick Henry College (PHC) distinct is its ability to provide students with a broad liberal arts education that allows them flexibility in what they can study.

Literature Program

The Literature minor at Patrick Henry College touches on a variety of historical, philosophical, and artistic perspectives. It has a flexible 15-credit requirement that is divided between nine credits of Literature Electives, Genre, and Major Author classes as well as six chosen credits from the courses Literary Theory & Criticism, American Literature, and English Literature I and II.

The objectives of a minor in Literature at Patrick Henry College are to be able to identify great works of European and American Literature, apply important statements of literary theory and criticism in the Western tradition, enhance writing skills through critical and imaginative responses to literary texts, and integrate the aesthetic, moral, and philosophical principles of literary works into a Biblical worldview.

Why Do a Minor at Patrick Henry College?

Patrick Henry College’s minor in literature presents a lot more flexibility of credits and subject material than a major is able to afford. Because of PHC’s classical christian liberal arts education, students can study a wide variety of subjects that provide them flexibility in their chosen areas of interest.

Students in the Government major might love politics and policy, but also have an interest in C.S. Lewis. By adding a literature minor, students are able to have the unique benefits of taking an in-depth class on specific authors while getting credit for it and learning in their subject area of interest.

Patrick Henry College uniquely designs its educational model to give students in-depth knowledge on a broad range of topics and allow them flexibility in specializing in their respective fields of interest. This is a key component of PHC’s tradition of a high-quality liberal arts education.

Learn to Seek Truth

Why is studying literature important? The answer is tied to Patrick Henry College’s philosophy of education. As articulated by Robert Littlejohn and Charles Evans: The purpose of Christian education is always twofold…We want our students to grow spiritually, intellectually, and socially, and we want them to foster similar growth in society.

But what is the most conducive environment for growth? The narrative of history points to wisdom and knowledge as pillars of human flourishing. But how does one acquire these? Patrick Henry College believes that knowledge can be found in reading the Great Books of Western Civilization in order to understand truth from varying perspectives and better support one’s understanding of the world. According to Littlejohn and Evans:

To be of any earthly good, a person must understand the world around him and recognize what it needs. He must be capable of discerning between what is true and good and beautiful in society and what is not, and he must be empowered to make a difference through perpetuating the former. In short, he requires wisdom and eloquence. Our activist must understand himself to be the inheritor of a dependable tradition of wisdom (rooted in a transcendent, authoritative source) that he has the responsibility to steward and to articulate to his contemporary world.

Literature transcends meaning. The goal of reading a book is not to be merely entertained, but enriched. The Great Books are designed to take the reader on a journey—by the end of which their perception of the world will be more complete. If books are read merely for entertainment, their purpose is diminished into a test of boredom. If meaning is an ocean, literature is how one navigates it.

Patrick Henry College seeks to raise-up individuals who will lead our nation and shape our culture with timeless biblical values and fidelity to the spirit of the American founding. Thus, literature is crucial to the education of students because of its relevance and vital impact on informing one’s mind, body, and soul. Through its rigorous liberal arts curriculum, PHC seeks to provide academically excellent baccalaureate-level higher education with a biblical worldview.

A Unique Perspective to Patrick Henry College

Literature minors are not solely unique to Patrick Henry College. While other schools tend to lean toward Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) career paths, nearly every college and university offers a Literature program.

There are even some high-ranking schools that pursue the classical liberal arts model that Patrick Henry College seeks to imitate. The University of Chicago, which is famed for its liberal arts core, has a 45-credit core. The National Endowment for the Humanities, in a project designed to promote liberal education, proposed 50.

Patrick Henry College has an extensive core curriculum of 63 credits, this is what makes it distinct.

As to the spiritual element of PHC’s mission, there are other Christian schools that offer an education taught from a Christian worldview. However, few Christian colleges fully embrace a rigorous study of Western Civilization and what can be classified as “pagan works” to the degree that Patrick Henry College does.

Patrick Henry College was founded specifically to serve the best and the brightest of Christian homeschooled young people. Thus, the classical christian liberal arts education is at the heart of PHC’s educational philosophy and influences how students engage with literature.

Instead of merely reading from the greatest texts in Western Civilization, students can analyze, understand, and engage truth by having the benefit of an intentionally Christian approach to education. To learn how to be a great writer is to have read great writing.

Patrick Henry College seeks to present students with the opportunity to pursue knowledge through a wide variety of disciplines. However, engaging with great literature through a uniquely Christian perspective is the full realization of knowledge of the good, true, and beautiful.

Patrick Henry College’s motto is “for Christ and for Liberty,” and it seeks to embrace both imperatives through its literature minor by providing students with the opportunity to engage important texts with the benefit of a Christian worldview.

The study of literature unites all of Patrick Henry College’s objectives by exposing students to excellent writers, teaching them how to critically analyze works, and then cultivate their talents in a way that glorifies God with their words.



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