Classical Composition 3 & 4

Chreia/Maxim & Confirmation/Refutation Stages

As the second course in the Classical Composition sequence, Classical Composition 3 & 4 should be undertaken after completing Classical Composition 1 & 2. The Progymnasmata exercises were a preliminary series of exercises for students who would later study rhetoric and deliver formal orations.  The exercises were developed by the ancients, adopted by the Church, perfected in the Renaissance, and practiced by the West until very recently.  

The Chreia/Maxim Stage is the third of fourteen stages in the Progymnasmata (a set of preparatory exercises originated by the Greeks to ready the student for rhetoric). Students will learn to write by learning to think through the process of varying a truth under eight heads of development, each forming an exercise, each resembling a paragraph. The Eight Heads of Development are: Encomium (praise), Paraphrase (restatement), Cause (general story), Converse (opposite general story), Analogy (comparison), Example (specific case), Testimony (authority), and Epilogue (conclusion or summary). The first head of development defines a worthy subject for thought; the second through seventh describes an operation of the mind as it grapples with the truth of the saying; and the last calls the reader to an affirmation of the truth.

The Refutation/Confirmation Stage is the fourth of fourteen stages in the Progymnasmata (a set of preparatory exercises originated by the Greeks to ready the student for rhetoric). Students will learn to write by learning to think through the process of refuting (overturning given facts) or confirming (approving given facts) the truth of a narrative by examining it through a series of exercises that are, later on in rhetoric, called Heads of Purpose. In Refutation the student will examine a narrative and work through Heads of Purpose called: the Discredit, Exposition, Unclarity, Implausibility, Impossibility, Inconsistency, Impropriety, Inexpediency, and Epilogue. In Confirmation the student will examine a narrative and work through exercises called: the Credit, Clarity, Plausibility, Possibility, Consistency, Propriety, Expediency, and Epilogue. The set of exercises in Refutation are the opposite of those in Confirmation.

Course Objectives:

  • Develop in the student an appreciation for sound writing
  • Inculcate in the student the habits of good writers through imitation of their structure and style
  • Equip the apprentice writer to become an analytical reader and writer
  • Provide techniques the student writer can employ for any given writing task
  • Prepare the student writer to generate ideas, organize those ideas, and express those ideas well by providing him with structured practice in Invention (generating ideas), Arrangement (organizing ideas), and Decoration (stating the ideas in their most effective form) (Discovery, Organization, and Elocution)
  • Develop a shared vocabulary and practice between the teacher and student.

Students should expect to have daily reading, at least one (or more) weekly written assignments, required participation, and exams as assigned by their instructor. All requirements are assigned and graded by the instructor.

  • Classical Composition Vol. III Student Book: Chreia/Maxim Stage, (c) 2012
  • Classical Composition Vol. IV Student Book: Refutation/Confirmation Stage, (c) 2013

Please note that previous versions of these texts will not work with this course.

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Course Details:

Section Number

WE06CC3MPK-1

Instructor

Mrs. O’Connor

Grades (Typical)

4-8 (7th & 8th)

Live Class Meets

1x per week

1 hr. 20 min.

Day

Tuesday

Class Period

2

Time

9:00-10:20 AM PT

12:00-1:20 PM ET

Tuition

$619

Companion Courses

Literature 8

History 8

Religion & Bible History 8

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