"The great difficulty in education is to get experience out of ideas."
When The Restoration of Christian Culture was first published in 1983, the Integrated Humanities Program, founded by John Senior and his fellow University of Kansas professors Dennis B. Quinn and Franklyn C. Nelick, had just had its funding withdrawn by the university's administrators, in spite of having been a minor sensation in more traditionalist academic circles since its founding in 1971. While IHP was known for its unorthodox attempts to transmit the cultural heritage of Christendom to students by means of direct experience rather than bookish study, the burden of Senior's book was that the concept of education by osmosis, in the experiential mode, is hardly "unorthodox." Rather it has a long and dignified tradition dating from the ancients, and it is precisely the loss of that tradition in modern academia that accounts for the sterility of higher education in America. The republication of The Restoration of Christian Culture and the release of a new study firmly in the IHP tradition entitled Poetic Knowledge: The Recovery of Education by James S. Taylor make this a good time to examine the current state and future prospects of IHP's educational theory.
While part of transmitting...