Great Books Program Reading List

Thrive in a learning environment that cultivates curiosity and builds bridges of understanding. You’ll seek God’s Truth in philosophical and theological texts, examine historical and literary works that span the ages, and discuss life’s most important questions in Socratic seminars. You’ll emerge as a dynamic thinker, a highly skilled writer and an articulate speaker with a clear, compelling voice.

The following list is a representation only – it is not for the purpose of ordering textbooks.

simple book doodle

Freshman Year

HNRS 150: Origins: Athens and Jerusalem (Fall)

  • The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • The Book of Genesis
  • The Book of Exodus
  • The Book of Ruth
  • The First Book of Samuel
  • The Book of Esther
  • The Book of Job
  • The Book of Proverbs
  • The Book of Ecclesiastes
  • The Book of Isaiah
  • Homer, Iliad
  • Homer, Odyssey
  • The Presocratics
  • Plato, Symposium
  • Plato, Apology
  • Plato, The Republic
  • Plato, Timaeus
  • Herodotus, The Histories
  • Sappho (Selections)
  • Sophocles, Oedipus Rex & Antigone
  • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
  • Confucius, The Analects
  • Lao Tzu, Tao de Ching
  • The Bhagavad Gita
student sits on the floor in between library shelves

HNRS 190: Rome Through Early Church (Spring)

  • Lucretius, On the Nature of the Universe
  • Virgil, The Aeneid
  • Cicero, On the Good Life
  • Epictetus, Discourses
  • Seneca, Letters from a Stoic
  • The Buddhist Scriptures
  • The Book of Leviticus
  • The Gospel of Luke
  • The Gospel of John
  • The Acts of the Apostles
  • First Epistle to the Corinthians
  • Epistle to the Galatians
  • Epistle to the Ephesians
  • Epistle to the Hebrews
  • Ovid, Metamorphoses (selections)
  • Origen, On First Principles (Book IV)
  • Diodore of Tarsus and St. John Chrysostom
  • Augustine, The Confessions
  • Augustine, City of God (selections)
  • Kalidasa, The Recognition of Sakuntala
  • Tacitus, The Annals (selections)
  • Eusebius, The History of the Church (selections)
  • The Martyrdom of Saints Perpetua & Felicitas
  • Athanasius, On the Incarnation of the Word
  • Cyril, On the Unity of Christ
  • The Nicene Creed
  • The Chalcedonian Creed
  • Classical Chinese Poetry
  • Basil of Caesarea and Gregory of Nyssa, On the Trinity
  • Boethius, the Consolation of Philosophy

Sophomore Year

HNRS 250: Medieval Western Civilization (Fall)

  • Beowulf
  • Bede, An Ecclesiastical History of the English People
  • Pseudo-Dionysius, The Divine Names and The Mystical Theology
  • The Psalms
  • The Song of Solomon
  • The Gospel of Matthew
  • The Qur'an
  • John of Damascus, Three Treatises on the Divine Images
  • The Rule of Benedict
  • Hildegard of Bingen, selected writings
  • Anselm of Canterbury, selected writings
  • Bernard of Clairvaux, selected writings
  • Abelard and Heloise, selected letters
  • The Lais of Marie de France
  • Al-Ghazali, Deliverance from Error
  • Ibn TuFayl, Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān
  • Murasaki Shikibu, Tale of Genji
  • Moses Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed
  • Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae (selections)
  • Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy
  • Christine de Pizan, The Book of the City of Ladies
  • Chaucer, Canterbury Tales (Selections)
  • Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love  (selections)
  • Mumon, The Gateless Gate
3 students gathered outside reading books

HNRS 290: Late Medieval and Early Modern Western Civilization (Spring)

  • Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince
  • Desiderius Erasmus, In Praise of Folly
  • Epistle to the Romans
  • Epistle of James
  • Martin Luther, selected writings
  • John Calvin, The Institutes (selections)
  • The 39 Articles
  • The Canons of Trent
  • The Confessions of Dositheus
  • Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises
  • Teresa of Avila, the Interior Castle
  • Tales from 1,001 Nights
  • Francis Bacon, selections
  • Nicolaus Copernicus, selections
  • Galileo Galilei, selections
  • Isaac Newton, selections
  • René Descartes, Discourse & Meditations
  • Blaise Pascal, Pensées
  • Bartolome de las Casas, The Destruction of the Indies
  • Francisco de Vitoria, De Indis
  • Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Poems, Protest, and a Dream
  • William Shakespeare, Midsummer Night's Dream and Hamlet (selected plays may vary)
  • Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (selections)
  • John Locke, Second Treatise of Government
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Origin of Inequality
  • George Fox, selected writings
  • Margaret Fell, selected writings
  • William Penn, Some Fruits of Solitude
  • John Milton, Paradise Lost

Junior Year

HNRS 350: Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries (Fall or Spring)

  • The Gospel of Mark
  • David Hume, An Enquiry Regarding Human Understanding
  • Jonathan Edwards, A Treatise Concerning Religious Affairs
  • John Wesley, The Scripture Way of Salvation
  • The Journal of John Woolman
  • Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations (selections)
  • The Federalist Papers (selections)
  • The Declaration of the Rights of Man
  • The American Declaration of Independence
  • Washington's Farewell Address
  • Selected English Romantic Poetry (Blake, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Wordsworth, Coleridge, etc.)
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman
  • Immanuel Kant, Grounding for Metaphysics of Morals
  • Georg W.F. Hegel, Introduction to the Philosophy of History
  • Frederick Douglass, What to the Slave is the 4th of July?
  • Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
  • Epistle to Philemon
  • Henry Thoreau, Walden
  • Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
  • Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address
  • Charles Darwin, Origin of Species and The Descent of Man (selections)
  • Emily Dickinson, selected poems
  • Søren Kierkegaard, Selected Writings
  • Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The Communist Manifesto
  • Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, The German Ideology
  • John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
  • John Stuart Mill, Utilitarianism
  • Abraham Kuyper, Sphere Sovereignty
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
  • Friedrich Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals
  • Christina Rosetti, selected poems
  • W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk
  • Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Selected Writings
  • Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
  • Booker T. Washington, The Atlanta Compromise
  • Black Elk, Selections
  • Friedrich Schleiermacher, Hermeneutics and Criticism
  • Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State

Senior Year

HNRS 450: Twentieth Century

  • Mahatma Gandhi, Political Writings
  • G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
  • Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
  • Max Weber, Science as Vocation
  • Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents
  • Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
  • Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
  • C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man
  • Jean Paul Sartre, Existentialism is a Humanism
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship
  • Simone Weil, Waiting for God
  • T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men
  • T.S. Eliot, Ash Wednesday
  • Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem
  • Flannery O’Connor, Selected Stories
  • Martin Luther King Jr., Selected Letters and Speeches
  • Lamin Sanneh, Whose Religion is Christianity?
  • Shūsaku Endō, Silence
  • Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace
  • Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (selections)
  • Philip Jenkins,  The Next Christendom (selections)
  • Elizabeth Anscombe, Mr. Truman's Degree
  • Michel Foucalt, Nietzsche, Genealogy and History
  • David Bentley Hart, The Beauty of the Infinite (selections)
  • Judith Butler, Gender Trouble (selections)
  • Martha Nussbaum, The Professor of Parody
  • Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex (selections)
  • Pope John Paul II, The Theology of the Body
  • Alvin Plantinga, Knowledge and Christian Belief
  • Robert Sarah, The Day is Now Far Spent
  • Byung-Chul Han, The Burnout Society
  • The Book of Revelation

HNRS 490: Integration Thesis

This course is intended to be the pinnacle of the Honors Program at George Fox. Over the past four years you have explored a wide range of great and influential works. Your horizons have been broadened, your knowledge increased, and your critical skills sharpened. Most significantly, we have thought together about Western civilization from a Christian perspective.

As a culmination of this program, we ask you to contribute to the store of Western knowledge. The contribution will usually take the form of a scholarly paper or work of art, but other possibilities may be negotiated with the director of the Honors Program and a faculty sponsor.

This project may be combined with another senior capstone project as long as all relevant parties agree on requirements. Normally, combined projects will need to be larger and/or more sophisticated than a single project.

As of the 2021 school year, the Senior Thesis has become optional to provide students an opportunity to complete the Honors Program in 3 years. Contact us for more details.

students in classroom reading books