Friday, December 25, 2020

Ancient East Meets Modern West in Eastern Classics Program

Hannah Loomis at St. John's College, Santa Fe, on its Eastern Classics (EC) master’s program.

"In a college best known for a liberal arts Program based primarily on the study of great thinkers and writers of the West, a program focused entirely on the East may seem anomalous. However, the idea is as old as the Program itself. In the 1930s Program founders [Stringfellow] Barr and [Scott] Buchanan discussed whether St. John’s should be a great books of the West or a great books of the world program. ...

"It was their view that the books of the East and the West live within their own specific conversations, so rather than creating a combined program, the college chose to focus on the richness of the conversation within each tradition. And practically speaking, English translations of Eastern texts have only been available since about the 1980s (even more recently for language materials), so the Eastern program was not initially feasible. ...

"In 1992 the Graduate Institute launched a pilot program, and by 1994, the Eastern Classics program was officially a part of the Santa Fe campus graduate offerings. ...

"The EC program centers on foundational texts of India, China, and Japan. ..."
(via Jay Gold)

See "The Great Books of the East" by Wm. Theodore de Bary, et al., The Great Ideas Today 1987, p. 222.

(The Great Ideas Today was an one volume annual supplement published from 1961 through 1998 by Encyclpaedia Britannica, Inc., in connection with its Great Books of the Western World.)

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