Great Books - Courses

Cicero made the argument for Great Books in his day when he said “Books are full of such precepts, and all the sayings of philosophers, and all antiquity is full of precedents teaching the same lesson; but all these things would lie buried in darkness, if the light of literature and learning were not applied to them. How many images of the bravest men, carefully elaborated, have both the Greek and Latin writers bequeathed to us, not merely for us to look at and gaze upon, but also for our imitation!” (Pro Archia, 14)

From Homer to Dante, from Plato to Dostoevsky, from Augustine to Martin Luther King Jr., the Great Books offer students the opportunity to encounter the great minds that shaped the world we live in. By entering the conversation with great thinkers about the fundamental problems facing mankind, Great Books students will be able to gaze upon and imitate perennial truths, timelessly expressed, embodied in the classics of our civilization.

Above all, a Great Books education results in a graduate who is passionate about seeking the truth and is rooted in the Western tradition, but also enriched in many other ways. Reading the Great Books and discussing them in seminars give students the skills in critical thinking, communication and team-building that employers and graduate schools highly value and that serve students well in all walks of life.

Dr.  Susan Traffas and Dr. Edward Mulholland are co-directors of Great Books at Benedictine College. Beyond teaching in the “Man and the World” Great Books sequence and in other departments (such as Political Science and Classical and Modern languages,) the co-directors’ task is to mentor Great Books students and to tailor programs of study that satisfy both the students’ desired major and their interest in Great Books.

Susan Orr Traffas came to Benedictine College in 2008 after a decades long career in public policy. With a BA in Politics from University of Dallas, Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate School. She is the author of Jerusalem and Athens: Reason and Revelation in the Works of Leo Strauss, and of numerous articles and chapters on political philosophy, child and family policy and the role of women in society. She sits on the editorial board of Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy, and is currently serving on the board of Fellowship of Catholic Scholars.

Dr. Edward Mulholland is Assistant Professor of Classical and Modern Languages at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He holds a Doctorate in Philosophy from Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University, and an MA in Classics from the University of London. He has been involved in Catholic education via seminary, college and high school teaching for 25 years. He has taught in Italy, Spain, Mexico and the United States.

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Apply and be accepted for undergraduate admission at Benedictine College.
  2. Current Students: Contact your academic advisor to sign up for Great Books courses.
  3. Prospective Students: Sign-up for Great Books when you fill out your Freshman Course Registration.
  4. The Great Books directors will work with you to plan your curriculum.