What then is the end, object, or purpose of humane letters? Why, the expression of the moral imagination; or, to put this truth in a more familiar phrase, the end of great books is ethical—to teach us what it means to be genuinely human.

Russel Kirk, The Moral Imagination

Like every human being, at some level your child already wants to take on the big questions. What does it mean to be human, to organize ourselves in society, and to be in relationship with God? How should we understand justice, ethics and the good life? How did things get to be the way they are? What is the role of the past in understanding our present? What path will shape a better future? A Trinity School education equips your child to begin answering these questions for himself or herself in the context of a rich tradition.

The Humane Letters Seminar is the primary place where we tackle these questions. In ninth through twelfth grades, students meet for two hours a day, five days a week, to read, discuss and write about original texts in philosophy, theology, political theory, history and literature. The class is organized in a round table format with the teacher playing the role of conversation leader. Each is encouraged to actively participate in the discussion, sharing his or her own understanding of the text or topic being discussed.

In the history and literature courses in sixth through eighth grades, though classes are not yet organized in a round-table format, faculty members are conscious of training students in the arts of responsible conversation: the value of a good question, how to respond to one another’s ideas, and how to investigate a topic together.

See our full reading list.

“Humane letters has taught me how to discuss ideas and challenging, uncomfortable concepts in a room full of people with varying views. It has challenged me to ask “why” and “how” something is true and what that means. It has changed the way I encounter other classes, in how I form ideas and find proof to back them up. Humane letters has fostered my love of learning more than any other class.”

Trinity Student