Classics and Early Christian Literature


major-classics & early christian literature

The study of Greek and Latin literature has endured for over two thousand years, as Horace predicted when he wrote about his own poetry in Odes, III, 30, “Exegi monumentum aere perennius” (I have built a monument more lasting than bronze). Throughout the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the modern age up to the nineteenth century, Latin in particular was the essential language of scholarship in the West. To study the Latin and Greek classics now is to continue a tradition that, while no longer the assured possession of every learned person, still brings the student into a fellowship with the greatest thinkers and artists of the past in a way no other field of study can achieve. Ave Maria University offers a major in Classics and Early Christian Literature, with concentration in Latin.

The Classics and Early Christian Literature Major is a rigorous academic program designed to develop proficiency in the Latin and Greek languages, to promote literary study across a broad range of authors, genres and subjects, and to instill an awareness of the Classical tradition and its profound influences. Acknowledging the deep presence and transformation of classical culture during the Christian era, the Department is committed to integrating the study of the literature of the Greek and Roman civilizations and the vast body of writings in Latin and Greek from the biblical, patristic and medieval periods.

Explore the Classics & Early Christian Literature Program

A major in Classics & Early Christian Literature is an excellent foundation for a successful career and for a life informed by the highest ideals of western and Catholic culture. The heart of the major is the study of the Greek and Latin languages through the close reading of works from various genres of ancient literature. We are proud that at AMU our students encounter not only the notable authors of pagan antiquity, but also the intellectual pillars and Fathers of the Catholic Church in the original Latin and Greek.

The fruits of this study are many: students gain access to the origins of western culture and society; they hone the skills of analysis, critical thinking, observation, accuracy, and careful writing, which are highly prized by employers and professional schools. The mastery of Latin and Greek grammar leads to a deeper understanding of English grammar, and the acquisition of a solid vocabulary in Latin and Greek enriches the understanding of countless English words. Students find that the classical languages are an excellent foundation for the study of modern languages, such as Spanish, French, and Italian.

According to The Princeton Review,

We can’t overestimate the value of a Classics major … according to Association of American Medical Colleges, students who major or double-major in Classics have a better success rate getting into medical school than do students who concentrate solely in biology, microbiology, and other branches of science … Furthermore, according to Harvard Magazine, Classics majors (and math majors) have the highest success rates of any majors in law school … Even furthermore, Classics majors consistently have some of the highest scores on GREs of all undergraduates.

Those who major in Classics at AMU have gone on to graduate degrees in Law, Medicine, Classics, and the Humanities; some have entered the seminary and religious life; others have undertaken careers in teaching (a resurgence of interest in classical education has led to a great need for Latin teachers at the primary and secondary levels as well as in homeschooling groups). For all these reasons, a Classics major is an excellent preparation for a career in business, politics, publishing, library science, diplomacy, government, or any occupation in which critical thinking and a superior command of language are prized.

Joseph Yarbrough, Ph.D.

Department Chair and Professor

joseph.yarbrough@avemaria.edu

In addition to the core curriculum, classics majors take the following courses

GREK 103 Elementary Greek

GREK 104 Intermediate Greek

LATN 203 Golden Age Prose

LATN 204 Golden Age Poetry

GREK 203 Greek Readings

LATN 304 Latin Church Fathers

LATN 310 Latin Prose Composition

Elective Options

LATN 403 Scholastic Latin Texts

GREK 403 Greek Poetry

LATN 404 Latin Epistolary Writing

LATN 415 Special Topics

GREK 415 Special Topics

See the Academic Catalog for course descriptions

Careers

A major in Classics & Early Christian Literature is an excellent foundation for a successful career and for a life informed by the highest ideals of western and Catholic culture. The heart of the major is the study of the Greek and Latin languages through the close reading of works from various genres of ancient literature. We are proud that at AMU our students encounter not only the notable authors of pagan antiquity, but also the intellectual pillars and Fathers of the Catholic Church in the original Latin and Greek.

The fruits of this study are many: students gain access to the origins of western culture and society; they hone the skills of analysis, critical thinking, observation, accuracy, and careful writing, which are highly prized by employers and professional schools. The mastery of Latin and Greek grammar leads to a deeper understanding of English grammar, and the acquisition of a solid vocabulary in Latin and Greek enriches the understanding of countless English words. Students find that the classical languages are an excellent foundation for the study of modern languages, such as Spanish, French, and Italian.

According to The Princeton Review,

We can’t overestimate the value of a Classics major … according to Association of American Medical Colleges, students who major or double-major in Classics have a better success rate getting into medical school than do students who concentrate solely in biology, microbiology, and other branches of science … Furthermore, according to Harvard Magazine, Classics majors (and math majors) have the highest success rates of any majors in law school … Even furthermore, Classics majors consistently have some of the highest scores on GREs of all undergraduates.

Those who major in Classics at AMU have gone on to graduate degrees in Law, Medicine, Classics, and the Humanities; some have entered the seminary and religious life; others have undertaken careers in teaching (a resurgence of interest in classical education has led to a great need for Latin teachers at the primary and secondary levels as well as in homeschooling groups). For all these reasons, a Classics major is an excellent preparation for a career in business, politics, publishing, library science, diplomacy, government, or any occupation in which critical thinking and a superior command of language are prized.

❀❀❀

For those looking for jobs in teaching Greek or Latin, the American Classical League hosts a placement service here. Recent university-level job openings can be found at the American Philological Association’s website here.


Andrew Dinan, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Classics

Education: B.A., University of Notre Dame; M.T.S., John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage & Family; Ph.D., Catholic University of America
Office: Henkels 2050
Office Phone: (239) 280-1619
Email: andrew.dinan@avemaria.edu

Bradley Ritter, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Classics

Education: B.A., University of Florida; M.A., University of California, Berkeley; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley
Office: Canizaro Library 218
Office Phone: (239) 280-1667
Email: bradley.ritter@avemaria.edu

Joseph Yarbrough, Ph.D.

Chair of the Department of Classics and Assistant Professor

Education: B.A., Valparaiso University; M.St., University of Oxford; Ph.D., Cornell University
Office: Henkels 2051
Office Phone: (239) 280-1627
Email: joseph.yarbrough@avemaria.edu