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Hillsdale will offer two new courses next semester: Intro­duction to Midrash and Clas­sical Logic and Rhetoric. Both Greek History and Case Studies in the Origins of War will be res­ur­rected in the spring.
The class of 2019 will have to take Clas­sical Logic and Rhetoric as part of next year’s new core cur­riculum. Pro­fessor of Speech Kirstin Kiledal will be an instructor of the class.
“The focus of the course is to provide stu­dents with an over­ar­ching under­standing of the worth and inter­ac­tiveness of clas­sical logic and rhetoric in the expression of ideas and their place in public delib­er­ation,” Kiledal said.
Kiledal added her aim is for stu­dents to look at indi­vidual pieces of argu­ments in primary sources, com­paring their validity to the truth.
“It’s one thing to learn rhetorical devices, just cold things you can point to that’s aes­thet­i­cally pleasing,” Kiledal said. “We hope to ground the stu­dents on the the­o­retical and philo­sophical under­pin­nings to really build an applied skill set.”
Clas­sical Logic and Rhetoric is listed under inter­dis­ci­plinary study, but is not managed under any par­ticular department yet. The college intends to not limit it to instruction by one department’s pro­fessors.
“The faculty for it will come from the faculty at large,” Kiledal said. “I think it could be ener­gizing seeing our­selves as a liberal arts faculty. Can you imagine being a science person and having a science faculty member as your instructor and sud­denly seeing your world of chem­istry as an expansion of your worldview?”
While not required for classes prior to next year’s incoming class, the class is being offered next semester in order to test it in a classroom setting before imple­menting it as a required course.
Although the class is cur­rently labeled as a 393 class because it is exper­i­mental, Kiledal empha­sized that it is geared toward freshmen, sopho­mores, and anyone inter­ested in improving per­suasive skills.
Carl Kinbar, director of the Mes­sianic Jewish The­o­logical Institute Rab­binic Program, will teach the one-credit religion seminar Intro­duction to Midrash.
The class is part of the Gershom Program, a program created in the religion department last year after a donation in the summer of 2013. The program, which the donor named after Moses’ son, was estab­lished to provide greater focus on Jewish culture and Judeo-Christian rela­tions. Since last fall, the program has spon­sored lec­tures each semester, and is now spon­soring Kinbar’s two-week course.
In Intro­duction to Midrash, stu­dents will look at Old Tes­tament scrip­tures and sub­jects such as cre­ation, ethics, and the purpose of mankind from a com­par­ative stand­point.
“Our religion cur­riculum is woe­fully lacking in Jewish studies, and this program is a way of sup­ple­menting the study of Judaism and its history,” Pro­fessor of Religion and Human­ities Thomas Burke said.
“Judeo is in our mission statement,” Assistant Pro­fessor of Religion Don West­blade added.
At first, Kinbar had dif­fi­culty studying the Midrash because of its sym­bolism and hyper­boles. Diving deeper into it and returning to college, he was able to gain a better under­standing of Midrash, and he said it enlightened him on his per­spective of Scripture as a whole.
“First it was a puzzle, then it became life-giving,” Kinbar said. “It’s like opening a fourth dimension in a 3-D world. You see more con­nec­tions. It’s a new way of looking at things.”
Kinbar encouraged those inter­ested in religion, Judaism, the Old Tes­tament, and cul­tural com­par­isons to take the course.
He said he is excited to have the oppor­tunity to share his passion with Hillsdale stu­dents, but said he is also eager to learn for himself, since the class will be dis­cussion-based.
“It’s a great model for how it could be done else­where,” Kinbar said about the program. “I’m excited to be a part of it. It’s a larger part of an ini­tiative that’s important.”
Both Greek History and Case Studies in the Origins of War will be three- credit courses taught by Pro­fessor of History Paul Rahe.
Last taught two years ago, the 200-level Greek History class will introduce stu­dents to ancient Greek history, archae­ology, political culture, and phi­losophy from the Myce­naean period to the time of Alexander the Great. In his instruction of this class, Rahe plans to place greater emphasis on Greek lit­er­ature, including philo­sophical writings, Homer’s works, and comedies and tragedies.
“It’s an old bottle with new wine,” Rahe said. “They’ll be reading the greatest books ever written. They can get an under­standing of the chal­lenges of our way of life posed by the way of life of the ancient Greeks and of the dis­puted ques­tions within Greek culture reflected in their lit­er­ature.”
The 400-level Origins of War, last taught three years ago, will be focused on five case studies — four that resulted in war, and one that didn’t. The course will focus on the origins of the Pelo­pon­nesian War, World War I, the Second Punic War in com­parison to World War II, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and an exam­i­nation of the Cold War.
“If you’re a citizen, you have to be con­cerned with war,” Rahe said. “They’ll be able to follow inter­na­tional diplomacy and have a better sense of their sig­nif­i­cance. The question of how polities get them­selves into wars is a question of pru­dence of statesmen. If there’s any school in the United States that’s inter­ested in pru­dence and stateship it ought to be Hillsdale.”

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Breana Noble
Breana Noble is The Collegian's Editor-in-Chief. She is a born and raised Michigander and studies politics and journalism. This summer, Breana interned in New York City at TheStreet, a business and finance news website. She has previously worked for The Detroit News, The American Spectator, and Newsmax Media. She eventually hopes to pursue a career in investigative journalism. email: bnoble1@hillsdale.edu | twitter: @RightandNoble