In defense of teaching as 'soul-shaping'

Bret Stephens, at his space in the Wall Street Journal, movingly remembers Amy Kass, his former professor at the University of Chicago (and wife of Leon Kass), and in so doing offers a defense of both a "great books" education and the notion of teaching as soul-shaping.    

Stephens writes:

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What was it like to sit in Mrs. Kass’s classroom? The tone was set by the way in which we addressed one another. She was Mrs. Kass (not Dr. Kass, never Amy) to us; we were Mr. Stephens, Ms. Lehman, Mr. Lohse and so on to her. It was anachronistically formal but radically egalitarian: Whatever our other differences, teacher and student were on an equal footing when it came to discussing the book at hand. We came to class not to be instructed on the meaning of a text (much less Mrs. Kass’s views of it), but to read it afresh, without preconceptions. And we read not for the sake of knowledge, but for self-knowledge: to understand ourselves, through stories told by others, as we hadn’t fully (or vaguely) understood ourselves before.
 

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