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The Wonderfully Witty Dorothy Sayers

18 August 2008

Have you ever, in listening to a debate among adult and presumably responsible people, been fretted by the extraordinary inability of the average debater to speak to the question, or to meet and refute the arguments of speakers on the other side? Or have you ever pondered upon the extremely high incidence of irrelevant matter which crops up at committee meetings, and upon the very great rarity of persons capable of acting as chairmen of committees? And when you think of this, and think that most of our public affairs are settled by debates and committees, have you ever felt a certain sinking of the heart?

Dorothy Sayers, “The Lost Tools of Learning,” 1947.

This is a great essay attempting to reestablish the Trivium as a pedagogical toolset.  I couldn’t help thinking as I read her essay and the Wikipedia entry on the Trivium that grammar, dialectic (logic), and rhetoric are the essential elements of good preaching, which is to say, comprehensive exegesis.

qb

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