Liberal Arts as Vocational Training
Today, a “liberal arts” education is pitted against a “vocational” education. But this shows a misunderstanding of both the liberal arts and of vocation. The liberal arts does not mean the “humanities”; rather, it was the education designed to equip a free human being. And “vocation” does not just mean “job,” but includes how we function in the family, the church, and the society. The current revival of classical education, which teaches mastery of both language and mathematics, can thus be vocational education in its deepest sense.
Gene Edward Veith, Jr., is a writer and a retired literature professor. He is Provost Emeritus at Patrick Henry College and the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. He previously served as Culture Editor of WORLD MAGAZINE and Professor of English and Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences at Concordia University Wisconsin. He is the author of over 20 books, including Postmodern Times: A Christian Guide to Contemporary Thought and Culture, The Spirituality of the Cross: The Way of the First Evangelicals, Classical Education, and God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life. Dr. Veith was born in Oklahoma in 1951. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1973 and received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Kansas in 1979. He was given an honorary doctorate from Concordia Theological Seminary in 2005 and from Concordia University California in 2014. He has taught at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College and was a Visiting Professor at Wheaton College, Gordon College, and Regent College (Vancouver). He was also a Visiting Lecturer at the Estonian Institute of Humanities in Tallinn, Estonia. He and his wife Jackquelyn have three grown children and twelve grandchildren. They live in Blackwell, Oklahoma.