Queen of the Sciences: Recovering the Role of Theology in Classical Christian Education



In 1947, Dorothy Sayers delivered an address at Oxford University articulating a vision for the future of education. She began by enumerating the challenges that educators of her day were facing, challenges that may resonate with eerie familiarity for modern educators: they were inundated with prodigious responsibilities, both administrative and academic, and students were lacking a meaningful vision for the purpose of their education. They were simply exposed to a variety of disparate subjects and sent off into the world incapable of “disentangling fact from opinion and the proven from the plausible.”[1] As an antidote to what she perceived as the eroding state of education in her own context, Sayers proposed a retrieval of the medieval Trivium model of education. The Trivium was an educational paradigm that divided students’ education into three primary stages: Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric. Each stage was characterized, according to Sayers’ representation of it, by an idiosyncratic learning mechanism that determined the mode in which content was conveyed. Thus, in the Grammar stage, or “Poll-Parrot” stage as Sayers titles it, the student was trained according to their predilection and penchant for rote memorization. As the Grammar years neared their conclusion, the student came to develop a capacity for abstract thinking and began to exercise their developed capacity for disputation, hence entering the Dialectic Stage. Learning at this Dialectic stage was characterized by the facilitation of debate and discussion—capitalizing on an innate argumentativeness in early adolescence—and students were tasked to comprehend the fundamentals of proper dialectic. Upon graduating from this middle stage of their education, students enrolled in the final stage of the Trivium: Rhetoric. It is there that students were trained in the arts of eloquence, poetics, and persuasion. Those materials they first memorized, then concretized through disputation, were now being deployed as material for winsome spoken and written presentation. This model, Sayers forcefully argued, cultivated an individual who, although not necessarily inheriting a breadth of content knowledge, was properly trained to rigorously scrutinize and encounter any discipline.[2]

Sayers bemoaned in her address that “It is in the highest degree improbable that the reforms I propose will ever be carried into effect.”[3] Unbeknownst to her, however, Douglas Wilson, inspired by her essay, would go on to establish the Logos school in Moscow, Idaho in 1981 upon the principles of The Lost Tools of Learning. After ten years of successful management of the Logos School, Wilson published a book titled Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, which elucidated Sayers’ thesis, republished her essay, substantiated it with insights from other thinkers in educational theory, and published data that he interpreted as revealing the inadequate state of contemporary education. Following its publication, Wilson founded the Association for Classical Christian Schools and is credited with igniting the first wave of the Classical Christian movement in America.[4]

A Key Misinterpretation

In Sayers’ original illustration of the Trivium model, she featured the study of theology centrally and prominently in the pedagogical scheme. Theology, she argued, serves as a unifying foundation and orienting principle for all levels of the Trivium. It is the discipline “without which the whole educational structure will necessarily lack its final synthesis.”[5] For the Grammar students, then, this means the memorization of key, concise theological material such as the creeds, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Decalogue. At the Dialectic Stage, Sayers emphasizes the need for “dogmatic theology (i.e. the rational structure of Christian thought)” to investigate the theological data memorized in the Grammar stage and serve as a unifying ethical foundation to furnish content for discussion across disciplines.[6] And in the Rhetoric stage, she posits the role of theology, the “Mistress-Science,” as the key for demonstrating to students that “all knowledge is one.”[7] This is the point at which a student’s education achieves its final synthesis in the recognition of the unity of truth in the being of God. No longer do academic disciplines exist alongside one another as disparate threads, but they are woven together into a tapestry of Divine insight.

Despite the robust role for theology according to Sayers’ illustration of the Trivium model, there is still much that remains vague regarding its nature and implementation. Consequently, when Douglas Wilson interprets and explicates Sayers’ vision, it is the contention of this paper that he misapprehends the role and nature of theology according to Sayers’ vision, since his implementation of theology cannot satisfy its explicit goals as portrayed in the Lost Tools of Learning. In misapprehending the role and nature of theology and also stimulating a major educational movement in the United States, Wilson has promulgated a deficient educational paradigm that is in need of correction. Thus, this paper will identify the alleged error in Wilson’s appropriation of theological education according to Sayers and posit an articulation of theological education that satisfies her original vision. Additionally, it will elucidate and expound upon the role of theology as intimated by Sayers

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through the insights of various theological traditions of the Church as well as contemporary voices in Classical Christian education.

Classical Education and Theology


Classical Education

The Trivium model of education, as exposited by Sayers, is now commonly referred to as “Classical Christian education.” It exists within a broader movement of classical education that aspires to retrieve traditional pedagogical methodologies as a corrective for what they perceive as the deficiencies of modern education. It shares with other classical movements an emphasis upon entering the “Great Conversation” of the Western literary canon,[8] striving after wisdom as the goal of education,[9] and cultivating human excellence or virtue.[10] Through all these values, Classical Christian education and Classical education alike strive “to teach men how to learn for themselves.”[11] It is the cultivation of this fundamental skill that defines the academic endeavor, although key differences will emerge as a consequence of theology’s centrality in the Christian model. A Classical Christian education may be properly summarized, then, as a pedagogical paradigm, structured according to the medieval Trivium, that prioritizes the development of core learning skills and character formation primarily through the mechanisms of literature, language, and theology inherited through the traditions of Western Christendom. It strives after the cultivation of wisdom and virtue as defined by the philosophical and theological traditions emerging out of millennia of reading and interpreting Scripture in the Church. For the Classical Christian Institution, it ultimately desires for every student’s “knowledge of God, man, and creation to come to full flower in wisdom and for this wisdom to help [them] better love and serve [their] neighbor.”[12]


Aside from various usages of the appellation “Mistress-Science”, and one rather brief definition of theology as the “rational structure of Christian thought”, Sayers does not fully unpack what she means by “theology,” leaving room for misinterpretations of the term that can compromise her stated role of theology as being the synthesizer of the student’s education. It is the argument of this paper that this is exactly what Wilson has done, and thus it is necessary to properly clarify a definition that accords with the applications of theology as articulated by Sayers.

Theology is, essentially, “the study of God,”[13] but, upon deeper inspection, this still leaves plenty of space for disagreement. Many in the traditions of the Church have defined theology in a way that accords easily with Sayers’ brief definition, such as Orton Wiley’s definition that theology “sets forth in a systematic manner the doctrines of the Christian faith.”[14] Yet, some apply a deeper metaphysical reality to theology, as when Thomas Aquinas argued that “theology is taught by God, teaches of God, and leads to God.”[15] Thomas, additionally, insists that theology is “more speculative than practical,”[16] whereas Johann Gerhard argues the opposite in insisting that “it is ‘more practical’,”[17] and William Ames defines it as “the doctrine or teaching of living to God,” reinforcing this practical dimension.[18] Moreover, Anglican theologian Hans Boersma, argues forcefully that theology is “mystagogical in character,”[19] not relying upon speculation but upon “realities.”[20] Thus, theology is beatific, more akin to a “seeking of the face of God,” not simply explaining God, but drawing us “into the very mystery of His life,”[21] and making “men partakers of the divine nature.”[22]

For the sake of this paper, then, which strives to establish a definition of theology that accords with Sayers’ implicit usage of the word as well as fulfills the full meaning of the discipline according to the theological traditions of the church, theology is a systematic discipline, predicated upon faith in Divine revelation, that seeks to acquire knowledge of God, and thus humanity and creation, through examination and structuring of His general and special revelations of Himself. This knowledge cannot come to a full comprehension of the Divine and is therefore speculative, yet the objective of this speculation is to establish practical knowledge of the divine that forms our piety and gives meaning and shape to our activity in the world.

Wilson’s Interpretation of Sayers

When Wilson incorporates Sayers’ vision of theological studies into his proposed Classical framework, he does so at levels that are both explicit and implicit, and the argument here will be that his implicit conception of theological studies cannot fulfill the objectives of his explicit representation. Explicitly, Wilson properly apprehends theology according to Sayers’ model as the “Queen of the Sciences” which brings cohesion and unification to all other disciplines.[23] All knowledge, he argues, requires an “integrating principle” to bring them together into a meaningful unity. This finds easy consensus with Sayers, who argues that the role of theology at the Rhetoric stage is to show that “all knowledge is one.”[24] Additionally, Wilson argues that “a man’s life is unified in his theology,”[25] adding a dimension of practicality and spiritual formation to his definition, which agrees with Sayers’ notion that theology at the Dialectic stage will clarify ethical first principles for the student.[26] Thus, through the mechanisms of proper education, integrated through the unifying nature of theology, Classical Christian schooling strives to “repair the ruins” of our fallen nature, according to the “Biblical view of man.”[27]

Implicitly, however, Wilson reveals that he does not truly adhere to the belief that students ought to be learning “dogmatic theology”[28] at the Dialectic stage of their education as Sayers endorses. Throughout the book, phrases such as “Biblical principles,” “Biblical Presuppositions,” “Biblical Vision,” “Biblical worldview,” and “Biblical integrating principle” take precedent over the language of “theology,” imparting the subtle implication that to study the Bible takes precedence over speculative theology.[29] Nevertheless, Wilson on several occasions argues that it is insufficient for a school to simply add a Bible curriculum and prayer time and to call themselves a Christian school;[30] therefore, the antidote is that a “Biblical worldview” be passed on to the students through the teachers building their lessons upon the presuppositions of a Christian worldview.[31] We do damage, he argues, when we unwittingly impart the same “humanistic” assumptions through our content, and must therefore predicate our curricula on the assumptions of a “Biblical worldview.” Hence, truly Christian education is achieved through the “Christianization” of lesson content by the educators and by them modeling Christian virtue.[32] It appears, then, that it is not the students who are tasked with thinking theologically, but the teachers. The students become but passive recipients of the teachers’ conclusions, which falters before Sayers’ robust vision of cognitive formation as a result of theological discourse. Theological conclusions are merely propagandized, and the students are denied the opportunity to think discursively through Scriptural truth. It ought to be mentioned at this stage as well that neither in the appendices to Recovering the Lost Tools ofLearning, nor on the website for the Logos Academy, is there any course on systematized theology for Dialectic or early Rhetoric stage students.[33] There is a course called “Doctrine” for 11th graders, but this is quite late in their education, and before this their theological education has pertained to scriptural surveys or history alone.

A Theological Versus a Biblical Worldview

Although not within the scope of this paper to fully explicate, it appears that Wilson has inherited a certain Evangelical bias against theological studies as tending towards unwarranted speculations beyond the revelation of Scripture. For many Evangelicals, contentious theological polemics have left the discipline a “rather worn out and disheveled figure,”[34] and the safer choice has been to retreat to a biblicism that alleges to restrict itself to what scripture “actually” says. In After Calvin, Richard A. Muller identifies how German Pietist theologians—progenitors of contemporary Evangelicalism—drew a line between academic theology and “religion of the heart” creating an unwarranted sense of opposition that has persisted to the modern day.[35] Inheritors of this tradition have often opted for a pura scriptura approach to Christian learning without the ostensibly unnecessary intrusion of academic theology. Even if this diagnosis is ill-founded, it is undeniable that Wilson demonstrates a discomfort with systematized theology, or at least a de-prioritization, when measured against his emphasis upon biblical foundations in education. His restricted usage of “theology” and priority for “Biblical” language imparts the perception that theology as a field of study is indistinguishable from Bible study, conveying an attenuated representation of theological studies to schools predicated upon Wilson’s interpretation of Sayers. For many, their curricula reflect the insufficient “Bible-and-prayer” model that Wilson unequivocally rejects; therefore, it is essential that a proper conception of the relationship between the Bible and theology be established so that a theological curriculum in the manner illustrated by Sayers can be developed.

The Bible and Theology

But why is the “Biblical Worldview” emphasis not a satisfactory substitute for a theological worldview? Are not the “Holy Scriptures…the Alpha and Omega of Christian Schools”?[36] For many of the fathers of the early church, there was a functional symbiosis between exegesis and dogmatics.[37] The former furnished the latter, and the latter shepherded the former. Without the foundation of Scripture, there is no Christian theology, but only the same groping and wondering of any pagan mystic; yet, without systematized theology, Bible study becomes a black market within which theology is smuggled in. As Hans Boersma argues, any bracketing of “theological preunderstanding inevitably ends up smuggling in unacknowledged theological and metaphysical assumptions.”[38] Roger Olson makes this point clear as he attempts to identify the factors that lead one into a Reformed or Arminian reading of Scripture. He argues that a reading of Scripture alone will not resolve the divide, as the problem reduces essentially down to one’s “Blik,” or their basic way of seeing reality.[39] As Wilson himself says, there is no neutral position when it comes to worldviews,[40] and it seems he cannot avoid allowing the same to be true of the way in which we encounter Scripture. This is not to say that the content of Scripture cannot be a corrective to our aberrant presuppositions, but for it to be so requires a rational structuring of Christian thought, bringing us right back to Sayers’ succinct definition of theology.

It appears, then, that the ideas of Scripture cannot be properly conveyed if one does not scrutinize the presuppositions one is bringing to Scripture. An example may be furnished from church history. The most significant heresies of the early church were not simply fanciful, theological accretions, but were often grounded in Scripture. In the second century, the theologian Marcion developed an interpretation of Scripture that proclaimed that the God of the Old Testament was different from the God of Jesus Christ. When the orthodox theologian Irenaeus waged war on Marcion’s dualist reading of Scripture, he was not simply proof-texting Marcion, but had to develop a particular hermeneutical approach to avoid Marcion’s conclusions; for, Marcion had a fundamentally “Biblical worldview” without the corrections of theology. Marcion’s reading of Scripture was, according to Luke Timothy Johnson, “plausible and deeply subversive.”[41] Therefore, to take a pura scriptura position that avoids systematization of Christian content leaves open the question of how to read biblical discourse.[42] This is why the Church so often throughout its history has established theologically developed principles to guide our reading of Scripture, such as catechisms and creeds. Creeds served, and still serve, as concise summations of the appropriate conclusions to derive from reading Scripture, or Rules of Faith that served as a “basis and guide for theology.”[43] They provide certain first principles of reading that determine the appropriate conclusions to which one should come, and to reject them is to embark on the treacherous mission of navigating Divine revelation without the guidance of the Church. Even the developed conceptions of Christology and Trinitarian theology that emerged out of these creedal formulas continue to orient our speech about God;[44] and, as will be further explored in this paper, false theological assumptions can have a pernicious effect upon how we live out our theologies.

Moreover, the Church has employed catechisms throughout its long history that offer theologically derived, educational propositions for catechumens intended to orient them properly towards the reading of Scripture and Christian living. When addressing the question of whether or not children are capable of comprehending the Scriptures, the pietist theologian Johann Amos Comenius argued that they certainly are, but the process of proper comprehension must begin with catechism.[45] Martin Luther, too, developed lesser Catechisms for children intended to educate them in the doctrines of the faith before they were encouraged to encounter the Scriptures on their own.[46] Thus, even in those traditions that most highly value the authority and perspicuity of Scripture, there is still a fundamental belief that theological material must precede a proper reading of Scripture.

In elucidating the manner in which theology has traditionally preceded Scripture and education, the goal has not been to reduce Scripture but to illuminate the manner in which the content of Scripture requires systematization and ordering if it is to be properly understood. This systematization guides us towards a richer experience in spiritual endeavors, such as reading the word or formulating Christian pedagogy: the study of theology is intended to “help the student to acquire a personal and practical knowledge of the Bible.”[47] However, there is alternatively no theology without the revealed word since the “Scriptures are the subject of theology par excellence.[48] The “Scriptures are a heavenly school;”[49] and, “whoever is to teach others must himself be familiar with the entire substance of the doctrine and must know where and how all the articles in the Holy Scriptures support and explain one another;”[50] It appears we do not have one without the other, but they must not be confused. Wilson offers an explicit description of theology that satisfies the goals of theological education, as will be further expounded, but his implicit conception of theology is lacking in its actual ability to achieve these goals since it lacks an emphasis upon the systematization of Christian thought. If Scripture is to be taught in school, if knowledge is to be unified into a meaningful whole, and if true Christian formation is to take place, then theology, as defined above, must be taught in Classical Christian school.

The Goals of Theological Education

If conceived of properly, that is, as a discipline that systematizes the teachings of Scripture, then theology serves a crucial role in fulfilling the objective of Classical Christian schools as institutions that cultivate the formation of wisdom and virtue. In this section, we will explore the two primary contributions of theological education to Classical Schooling, which are its unification of all knowledge into a meaningful whole and its role in spiritual formation.

The Unifying Discipline

Sayers makes it very clear in The Lost Tools of Learning that the primary responsibility of the “Mistress-Science” at the Rhetoric stage of education is bringing the pupil to a recognition that “all knowledge is one.”[51] Unfortunately, she does not expound upon this point extensively and leaves the reader to interpret the metaphysical assumptions that make this true. For Wilson, grounding the students’ education in biblical study and training the teachers to “Christianize” their lesson material is sufficient to achieve this end; however, the argument here has thus far been that we can only achieve this goal of unification if we provide a systematized approach to the content of Scripture, i.e. theological education. Thus, theology operates as a unifying discipline in two distinct ways: as a systematization of the first principles of reasoning and as telos for the synthesis of knowledge.

Concerning theology as a first principle, this point is intimated by Sayers when she suggests that the Dialectic stage of education is primarily composed of engaging in ethical debates, furnished from the content of the various disciplines, and funded by “a simplified course of dogmatic theology.”[52] It seems to Sayers that theology provides a certain philosophical foundation that undergirds the actual material for ethical debates, for without this philosophical grounding, there would be no first principles of reasoning from which to derive ethical conclusions. Sayers finds accord with many earlier and later thinkers in the Classical Christian tradition on this point. For Hugh of St. Victor, education was built on the unification of all knowledge through theology,[53] and Thomas later identified theology as the science to which all others were “the handmaiden of this one.”[54] More contemporary interpreters such as Clark and Jain suggest that theology nourishes other disciplines’ basic principles from within;[55] and the Circe Institute insists upon Classical Christian schooling as containing a “logocentric” pedagogy that makes sense only if it has a unifying principle.[56] Theology serves the necessary role of extracting and structuring the content of Scripture into a comprehensive set of doctrinal positions that provide the first principles of all later reasoning, since, as Lewis argues in The Abolition of Man, “if nothing is self-evident, nothing can be proved,”[57] and our presuppositions must exist as explicit propositions if they are to inform the pupil meaningfully as they navigate through other disciplines. Through providing theological education, the Classical Christian teacher hopes to bring the student to the realization that, as Byrnes says, “All truth, sacred and secular, is one in God.”[58]

Additionally, theology has a teleological dimension to it that orients all disciplines properly towards a unified end. In describing the necessary factors that comprise social morality, C.S. Lewis provides an illustration of a fleet of ships to identify its three core components: all the ships must all be orderly, all must be aware and considerate of one another, and all must be oriented in the same direction.[59] This same analogy could be applied to the relationship between the various disciplines in the Classical Christian school. All the disciplines must be orderly in their individual presentation, must relate to one another properly, and must all be oriented towards the same objective. Theology is the central principle that satisfies all these criteria in the Classical Christian model: It gives structure to the individual disciplines by giving them principles of reasoning upon which to be built, relates them to one another through revealing them as participating in the unity of Divine truth, and directs them all towards the same end—that is, unity in God. It is for this reason that Thomas named theology the “nobler” science since it directs the end of all others towards “eternal beatitude.”[60] Because of this teleological dimension to theology, all disciplines are imparted a basic meaning, as they are all directed towards some ultimate fulfillment. Without a unifying telos, the various academic disciplines are either subject to a sort of nihilistic scrutiny (the “why-am-I-learning-this” criticism) or are perceived as simply means to some sort of capitalistic end. Nevertheless, Dr. Clark and Ravi Jain accurately argue that “as Aristotle pointed out, the end of a thing is the most important, for it is toward the end that all actions are directed.”[61]

The Sanctifying Discipline

Howard Stone and James Duke open their book, How to Think Theologically, with the bold assertion that “All Christians are theologians.”[62] Such an assertion does not have the intention of belittling theology through some cynical, reductionistic project, but instead strives to exalt theology to a place of immense relevance. All Christians (and to an extent, all people) operate upon fundamental theological assumptions that dictate how they encounter the world. These theological assumptions guide our ethical judgements and affect how we perceive the events of our life. Stone and Duke call these fundamental assumptions the individual’s “embedded theology,” because they often reside unexamined at the foundation of our conscious state. It is often only when we arrive at a crisis moment that we bring our embedded theology under greater scrutiny.[63]

Primary contributors to Christian educational thought have broadly endorsed the notion that spiritual formation is a core objective of Christian pedagogy, although it goes without explicit mention in Sayers’ essay, and that theology is inextricably tied to this formation. Comenius pleads that “God would have pity on us, that we might find some universal method by which all that occupies the mind of man might be brought into relation with God” and that once it does it might “convert the business of this life…into a preparation for the life to come!”[64] Classical teachers Miller and Beazley argue that the goal of Classical Christian Schooling is “to train students’ affections and loves within a Christian world-and-life view,” and Kevin Clark and Ravi Jain consider Christian formation to be the “entire endeavor” of Classical Christian education,[65] and theology as formative for our piety.[66] Thus, our theological knowledge forms the foundation of our Christian virtue, as we operate upon embedded theological assumptions; and therefore, Classical Christian schooling must “help the student to correlate the fundamental truths…into an orderly, systematic, well-balanced theological pattern as the basis of his own Christian experience and philosophy of life.”[67]

Students require a systematized knowledge of biblical thought (i.e. theology) to form a genuine religious sentiment towards reality and to mature in the practice of their Christian faith. A pedagogy that simply exposes students to Scripture without systematizing its thought and that requires teachers to “christianize” the details of otherwise secular curriculum material will be ill-equipped to prepare students to navigate the world in a discerning way, “disentangling fact from opinion and the proven from the plausible.”[68] According to the sixteenth century theologian Jacobus Arminius, theology is primarily a practical science that serves to draw us into the blessedness of God, shaping us into the image of Christ.[69] Students ought to have lives “informed and governed by theology,”[70] since, as Boersma argues, “theology as academic instruction leads to theology as moral practice.”[71] Therefore, proper spiritual formation cannot occur apart from an education that systematizes and structures Christian thought, which cannot be achieved via the model of “biblical” education as implicitly endorsed by Wilson; and if Classical Christian education, in fact, intends to cultivate virtue and spiritual formation, then it appears theology as a rational structuring of Christian thought is essential to the process, since the “prayerful study” of theology “should transform life” and “issue forth in public morality and piety.”[72]


There appears in the current academic milieu to be something of a trepidation about genuine theological studies, and this may be entirely warranted. Any student of European history recognizes the devastating strife and loss of life that identification along theological lines has caused, the horrific numbers of those who have burned and drowned as a consequence of tertiary theological opinions, and the liberal accretions of the 19th century that diminished the holiness of Scripture and bastardized the claims of Christ. Consequently, we appear to have retreated from rigorous theological education and permitted, even in our churches, a tepid, shallow, shadow of the gospel to replace it.[73] Church and home are too often ill-equipped to impart a rationally structured faith, and the abundance of alternative ideologies prevailing in the culture pose a serious intellectual challenge to those who cannot articulate their faith. This, then, is the goal of theological studies: to form in our students an authentic Christian worldview capable of bringing cohesion and meaning to the pupil’s life; because “Christian theology is the repository of God’s revelation in systematized form” and “it must have vital relation to Christian education and all education.”[74]

In the preface to Hans Boersma’s book Five Things Theologians Wish Biblical Scholars Knew, in response to Boersma’s “theological, Christological reading of Scripture” Biblical scholar Scot McKnight poses the warranted question “Which theology? Whose theology?”[75] Similarly, there is no denying that an ecumenical, Classical Christian theology program is fraught with the same challenges and that this project may have simply avoided tackling the most difficult problem to resolve. Nevertheless, the challenges and fears that accompany the implementation of a theological curriculum in Classical Christian schooling ought, by no means, to be allowed to undermine the necessary service that theology performs for the entire educational paradigm. The formation of a theological curriculum in the Classical Christian school must be an encounter with the Word of God in a posture of deep humility and gratitude, for “nothing so stills our heart and rouses it to love His goodness…as the gift of theology.”[76]


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  2. Sayers, The Lost Tools of Learning, 12‒16.
  3. Sayers, The Lost Tools of Learning, 2.
  4. Kevin Clark and Ravi Scott Jain, The Liberal Arts Tradition: A Philosophy of Christian Classical Education (Pennsylvania: Classical Academic Press, 2021), ix-x.
  5. Sayers, The Lost Tools of Learning, 20.
  6. Sayers, The Lost Tools of Learning, 22.
  7. Sayers, The Lost Tools of Learning, 26.
  8. Douglas Wilson, Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1991), 83.
  9. Brian D. FitzGerald, “Medieval Theories of Education: Hugh of St Victor and John of Salisbury” Oxford Review of Education 36, no. 5 (2010), 575–88.
  10. Gene Edward Veith and Andrew Kern, “The Four Elements of Classical Education” in Classical Education: The Movement Sweeping America ed. by Brian Phillips. Capital Research Center, https://circeinstitute.org/the-four-elements-of-classical-education/.
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  12. Clark and Jain, The Liberal Arts Tradition, 7.
  13. Ben C. Blackwell and R.L Hatchett, Engaging Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2019), 30.
  14. H.W. Byrne, A Christian Approach to Education (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971), 236.
  15. Kelly M. Kapic, A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 2012), 36.
  16. Thomas, “Summa Theologica,” 9.
  17. Gerhard, On the Nature of Theology and Scripture, 31.
  18. William Ames, The Marrow of Theology (Durham, NC: The Labyrinth Press, 1983), 77.
  19. Hans Boersma, Five Things Theologians Wish Biblical Scholars Knew (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2021), 6.
  20. Boersma, Five Things Theologians Wish Biblical Scholars Knew, 7.
  21. Hans Boersma, Heavenly Participation (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2011), 26.
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  23. Wilson, Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, 63.
  24. Sayers, The Lost Tools of Learning, 26.
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  26. Sayers, The Lost Tools of Learning, 22.
  27. Wilson, Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, 74.
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  32. Wilson, Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, 98.
  33. “Logos Secondary School Curriculum Overview” accessed at https://logosschool.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Secondary-Curriculum-Guide-Overview.pdf.
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  35. Richard A. Muller, After Calvin (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), 121.
  36. John Amos Comenius, The Great Didactic (London: A. and C. Black, 1907), 223.
  37. Mario Naldini, Teaching Christianity: De Doctrina Christiana (Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 1996), 20.
  38. Boersma, Five Things Theologians Wish Biblical Scholars Knew, 19.
  39. Roger Olson, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 70.
  40. Douglas Wilson, The Case for Classical Christian Education (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2003), 34‒35.
  41. Luke Timothy Johnson, The Creed (New York: Doubleday, 2003), 47.
  42. Boersma, Five Things Theologians Wish Biblical Scholars Knew, 51.
  43. Johnson, The Creed, 29.
  44. Blackwell and Hatchett, Engaging Theology, 33.
  45. Comenius, The Great Didactic, 247.
  46. Justo L. Gonzalez, The History of Theological Education (Nashville : Abingdon Press, 2015), 73.
  47. Byrnes, A Christian Approach to Education, 236.
  48. Clark and Jain, The Liberal Arts Tradition, 207.
  49. Comenius, The Great Didactic, 233.
  50. Gonzalez, The History of Theological Education, 72.
  51. Sayers, The Lost Tools of Learning, 26.
  52. Sayers, The Lost Tools of Learning, 22.
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  54. Thomas, “Summa Theologica,” 9.
  55. Jain and Clark, The Liberal Arts Tradition, 5.
  56. Gene Edward Veith and Andrew Kern, “The Four Elements of Classical Education.”
  57. C.S. Lewis, Abolition of Man (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1978), 53.
  58. Byrnes, A Christian Approach to Education,73.
  59. C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1978), 70.
  60. Thomas, “Summa Theologica,”10.
  61. Clark and Jain, The Liberal Arts Tradition, 209.
  62. Howard W. Stone and James O. Duke, How to Think Theologically (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996), 1.
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  64. Comenius, The Great Didactic, 226.
  65. Clark and Jain, The Liberal Arts Tradition, xxiii.
  66. Clark and Jain, The Liberal Arts Tradition, 207.
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  68. Sayers, The Lost Tools of Learning, 4.
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  70. Clark and Jain, The Liberal Arts Tradition, 3.
  71. Boersma, Heavenly Participation, 173.
  72. Richard A. Muller, After Calvin: Studies in the Development of a Theological Tradition (Oxford: University Press, 2003), 106.
  73. Kenda Creasy Dean, Almost Christian: What the Faith of our Teenagers is Telling the American Church (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), 23‒24.
  74. Byrnes, A Christian Approach to Education, 243.
  75. Boersma, Five Things Theologians Wish Biblical Scholars Knew, xii.
  76. Gerhard, On the Nature of Theology and Scripture, 29.


Ryan Bianchet

Ryan Bianchet is a teacher of Logic, Rhetoric, and Apologetics at Veritas Christian Academy in Lexington, KY. He received his B.A. in History, M.A. in Theological Studies, and is completing a Th.M. in Theological Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. He lives in Wilmore, KY with his wife and daughter.

'Queen of the Sciences: Recovering the Role of Theology in Classical Christian Education' have 4 comments

  1. March 14, 2024 @ 10:10 am Paul Erlandson

    Our task is daunting. Along with restoring Theology to its proper place as Queen of the Sciences, we need to restore the original meaning of the word “queen.”


    • March 22, 2024 @ 8:47 am Rhonda C. Merrick

      For that, we need to teach the history of Israel and Judah, as told in the Old Testament, with due regard to a Divine Council assumed by its ancient writers. Then we need to correlate that if God’s chosen people back then had a King whose queen was his mother, then we also might have not only a Divine King but also a heavenly queen.


  2. March 14, 2024 @ 4:00 pm Alice C. Linsley

    Dorothy Sayers’ “Lost Tools of Learning” is a classic! In many ways, the approach of Scholasticism was superior to the education most children receive in North America. The emphasis on developmental stages, logic, refinement of rhetorical skills, grammar, etc. is much needed today. One concern I have as an educator is the need to balance theology and the sciences.


  3. March 22, 2024 @ 8:42 am Rhonda C. Merrick

    I hope to read this entire article, with all seventy-six footnotes. But anyone who needs to see that Doug Wilson has gotten something very wrong has only to read a few of the very engaging children’s novels by his son, N.D. Wilson. At some point one realizes that the girl characters don’t ring true; they seem to have the emotional responses, personality traits, and behaviors of his boy characters. It’s as if Wilson cannot appreciate the feminine and endow his characters with genuine femininity. Other than that, they’re generally good books, although not to be preferred over the classics, and likely will not stand the test of time.


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