As schools seek to put flesh and bones on the liberal arts, expressing and experiencing rhetoric within their academic spaces and scholastic calendar, one powerful means is imitation and reenactment. History as a modern discipline tends to take an exclusively analytical view, where the student is investigating the past. While remaining critically aware, our students need to collectively conjure the past, enter its greatest moments and imitate its courageous actors. Rhetoric students in classical and medieval times spent much energy reliving pivotal moments. Some of their exercise required that they imagine alternative scenarios or new motives as they rewrote or recreated the moments n various forms. Our students need to apply their rhetorical theory while engaged in similarly challenging and inspiring historical scenarios. This seminar will consider how to design such school-wide events by providing two examples: a ninth grade reenactment of the Nicene Council and a set of eighth grade speeches imitating historic speeches while debating the merits of Greece and Rome (called the Forum et Agora). These events present students with genuine rhetorical, emotional and theological challenges as they tackle the complexities of the entire scenario and engage their whole persons for the benefit of their school community.
Christopher Perrin is the publisher of Classical Academic Press, a consultant to classical, Christian schools and the Director of School Development with the Classical School Foundation. Chris has taught at Messiah College and Chesapeake Theological Seminary and Served as headmaster of Covenant Christian Academy in Harrisburg, PA from its founding in 1997 until 2007. He received his BA in history from the University of South Carolina, his M.Div. and PhD from Westminster Theological Seminary. Chris and his wife Christine live in Camp Hill, PA with their three children Zoe, Noelle and Noah.
Jesse Hake spent his childhood in Kaohsiung, Taiwan with missionary parents. The oldest of nine siblings, Jesse’s education included a missionary school (students from 18 counties), a Connecticut public school, and home school (junior high and high school). Jesse has a B.A. in history (with a philosophy minor) from Geneva College and a masters in Reformation history from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Teaching for the first time at the Chelsea School in Silver Spring, MD (serving mostly students from inner city DC with language-based leaning disabilities), Jesse grew to love the vocation and was offered the position of middle school principle. Jesse has also taught college courses in history, world religions and philosophy. He came to know and respect classical education while working at CCA for the past five years where he has taught primarily history, rhetoric, theology and literature. This past year, he took a position in the administration at CCA as Dean of Community Life. Jesse and his wife Elizabeth have a young daughter and son with whom they enjoy taking walks, reading aloud, and caring for small pets.