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The End of Many Books

The Theban Trilogy

by Sophocles

Sometimes in Greek tragedy you lose, and sometimes you lose big. Spoiler: Oedipus loses BIG.

3 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

The Odyssey

by Homer

Read this again in 2018 with the Omnibus Tenebras group. I’m doubling my previous star rating, and adding that this time I grew in admiration for Odysseus and Penelope, for a story of glory in fighting for marriage and family rather than glory in circuitous fighting as in The Iliad. Good work, Homer.

4 of 5 stars


2012: 2 of 5 stars. I’m glad that I read it. Finally. However, I can’t say that (I’ve grown so much that I’m at the point where) epic Greek poetry suits me. That said, it wasn’t as bad as having Polyphemus bash my brains out on the floor, so I have much to be thankful for.

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The End of Many Books

The Iliad

by Homer

Impressive. Tedious.
Creative. Exhausting.
Poetic. Painful.
Polytheistic. Godless.

Read again with the Omnibus Tenebras class in 2018. I’m increasing my rating from 3 stars to 4 because, even though it is looooooong, I can appreciate its status as a classic.

4 of 5 stars


2015: This is an impressive piece of work, whichever Homer wrote it.

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The End of Many Books

The Codes of Hammurabi and Moses

A lot of death required by these laws. I guess liberally executed capital punishment is a more likely deterrent than a complex system of fines and other punishments. Ham was trying to make a name for himself by establishing order in his empire. Contrasts to the LORD making a name for Himself by blessing His people with good fruits from obedience. Read this with the Omnibus Tenebras class (2018)

Good read if only to be more grateful for our God and His laws. (Omnibus I, 2012)

2 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

The Epic of Gilgamesh

Weird story about a whiny demigod who wishes for immortality. Crazy that Abram probably knew this story, and even crazier the sorts of saviors that men imagine for themselves. Read this with the Omnibus Tenebras class (2018), and also with Omnibus I (2012).

2 of 5 stars

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Enjoying the Process

Ante Lux, Tenebras

Auditing Omnibus for the last six years has done more to shape my worldview than almost all of the formal education I’ve received. If I could only choose between having gone through seminary or Omnibus, that would be a tough call. For realZ. What I’m saying is, Omnibus–the readings and discussions–is really good stuff.

For the first six years of the school a small group of adults audited Omnibus I through VI. Jonathan (who taught the class) provided the reading assignments, and then we auditors would join the class every Thursday morning during the school year. The reading was often tough to complete, but always beneficial, and the discussions were invaluable. It has been crucial for continuing to shape my world-and-life view. Jonathan would say the same thing, as would all the other auditors, along with the students who have taken it (though most of them haven’t known anything different).

In order to make this doable for more people, we decided to offer a three year-long, two evenings a month, class for adults. Jonathan, Leila (the other Omnibus instructor at the school), and I selected the best of Omnibus I and IV (Ancient history), then II and V (Medieval history), and then III and VI (Modern history).

And we start tonight!

Year one is called Omnibus Tenebras (Latin for “darkness”). As I mentioned above, it’s history from creation until the coming of Christ, and it’s full of reading about men who long for a savior but had only selfish and petty and pars-potent (partially powerful) gods to try to appease. We’ll be working through the Gilgamesh epic, the Hammurabi code, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, the history of Herodotus, Virgil’s Aneid, and a few more. We’ll also read through all the Chronicles of Narnia, you know, for fun.

Next year will be Omnibus Lux (Latin for “light”), because God came in the flesh and the news of Jesus’ death and resurrection spread and overturned so many kingdoms of men, Caesars included. The third year, the modern period, will be Omnibus Modius, the Latin word for “basket” (in Matthew 5:15), since the apparent project of many men since the Reformation has been to cover up the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.

At the moment we’ve got over forty adults on the roster, and it’s going to be another fabulous ride.

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The End of Many Books

Moby-Dick or, The Whale

by Herman Melville

It took a while to finish, but I enjoyed it. The beginning chapters were Wodehouse-ian, the majority of the middle chapters were Ecclesiastes-ian, and the finale was simultaneously disappointing and deserved.

4 of 5 stars

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The End of Many Books

Citizen Soldiers

by Stephen Ambrose

This is the only book on the Eastern Theater of WWII that I’ve read. I read Unbroken previously, which was in the Pacific, and that’s probably it for WWII. Citizen Soldiers was hard to read, but made me thankful for the ingenuity and sacrifice of the men, the Americans in particular.

4 of 5 stars

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Every Thumb's Width

Quite Some Ride

Today we passed another milestone. A small group of us finished the sixth and final year of the Omnibus curriculum.

My wife says she knew about Omnibus before we started the school, and I believe her. She was even interested in trying it out as homeschoolers. I also remember the summer before ECS started, our Headmaster along with our first full-time teacher went to the national ACCS conference and learned about Omnibus. We weren’t following the recommendation of the School Startup Notebook and so we needed something for three secondary students, two 10th graders and one 7th grader (who just graduated on Sunday).

Jonathan (our Headmaster) was very excited about Omnibus, a theology-history-literature class rolled into one. It is a six year program that cycles through Ancient, Medieval, and Modern periods twice (years I-III, then again for years IV-VI).

When we started to tell people what we were getting into, a number of adults at our church wanted in, too. What a great problem. So we decided to invite those who were interested to audit the class. For six years, every Thursday morning of school for two class periods, adults who had read (as much as they were able) of the assigned reading came and participated in the class.

I believe the number of books in the Primary reading (there is a Secondary track as well, but we didn’t utilize that much among the auditors) is 104, plus the introductory articles in the textbooks, along with some additional essays on subjects such as philosophy, art, sociology, and more.

I still remember a conversation I had with Jonathan in his living room in July or August of 2012, trying to decide if I should do the auditing or not. I wondered what effect it would have on my sermon prep. It has taken a toll, and I described it in class today as brutally glorious. I am not the same person as I was six years ago and, though Omnibus isn’t the only ingredient, it has flavored and complemented a lot of other inputs. I’ve referred to it here at my blog many times.

Some standouts for me are Beowulf, The Odyssey and The Aeneid, The Divine Comedy, and Moby Dick. Even 1984 and Brave New World made me appreciate That Hideous Strength more. Add in the likes of Augustine, Bede, Burke, Calvin, Chaucer, Dickens, Livy, Luther, Plato, Shakespeare, Sophecles, Toqueville, and Twain, and it has been quite some ride down the river of Western Civilization. Thanks to Jonathan for leading us, and congrats to him along with the other five auditors who finished the course.

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The End of Many Books

Brave New World

by Aldous Huxley

Huxley portrays how brutishly selfish mankind is, and it is shameful. As Lewis would later say, we are far too easily pleased. While Orwell shows in 1984 how capably the State can control it’s subjects through power, punishment, and fear, Huxley demonstrates how the State can enslave us by our own passions.

3 of 5 stars