Classical education strives to teach students how to think, rather than what to think. Taking this into consideration, a primary source book designed for a Classical curriculum should strive to cultivate the intellect and character of the whole student. To accomplish this goal, Thales Key Texts: The Medieval World contains a wide range of texts covering the whole of medieval history, from the fall of Rome to the Age of Exploration and the major events, institutions, and movements in between. As an educational resource, Thales Key Texts aims to help students cultivate critical thinking skills, develop a genuine love of learning, promote the values needed to be a responsible and empathetic citizen, and provide a survey of the foundations of Western culture.
The major authors included in this volume range from St. Thomas Aquinas, Maimonides, Machiavelli, the anonymous poet of Beowulf, and many more! Each entry offers an opening question designed to spark the student’s interest in the topic, a paragraph explaining the background of the author and the context of the work itself, and suggested questions for classroom discussion or written composition. The texts themselves vary from 1 to 6 pages in length, so that they may provide adequate material for a homework assignment, class discussions, and formal Socratic Seminars.
In addition, chapters are devoted to the art work of the medieval and of the Renaissance that utilize the interactive features available in ebooks. Such art works include mosaics and rose windows from medieval cathedrals, and the paintings of Renaissance masters like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael. Each image contains text boxes imbedded into the image itself that, when tapped, explain relevant vocabulary words and important details about the painting. Every time students click on the appropriate text box, the image zooms in to explain that feature to students in a manner that literally opens up the immense possibilities of a Classical education. As Isaac Newtown said that great men stand on the shoulders of giants, Thales Key Texts aims to preserve the giants of the Western canon, so that students may stand upon their shoulders and survey with confidence the world in which they live.