Paul Spears

Biographical Sketch

Paul Spears is an educational theorist who studies how philosophical and theological commitments shape the way teachers and students behave in the classroom. He has given special attention to the influence of the German research University model on American higher education, and to the influence that an articulate Christian worldview can have on University education. Dr. Spears is an assistant professor in the Torrey Honors Institute and the Chair of Torrey Honors’ Morgan House.

Publication Overview

Dr. Spears has just finished a co-authored book on philosophy of education for Intervarsity Press Academic that is forthcoming in summer ’08. He has written a chapter on philosophy of education for ASCI book on educational philosophy. He is currently working on writing projects in the area of teaching, knowledge and communication.

Favorite Books

(Not in any order of importance.)

1. The Bible

I have been reading this book since I was little. It profoundly influences my life on a daily basis.

2. Abolition of Man (C.S. Lewis)

A short book, but it importance is inverse to its length.

3. All of the Horatio Hornblower series (C.S. Forrester)

I can’t get enough of these books. I almost have them memorized.

4. The Aubrey Maturin series (Patrick O’Brian)

Obviously, I love British naval history from the 19th century. Down with Bonny!

5. The Second World War (Winston Churchill)

Churchill said of this work, “This is not history; this is my case.” I wish I could make cases like this.

6. That Hideous Strength (C.S. Lewis)

The literary version of Lewis’ Abolition of Man – a great look at scientism, arrogance and academia institutions run amok.

7. Confessions (St. Augustine)

One of the densest books I read. I learn something new from it every time I read it. It demands close inspection.

8. The History Plays (William Shakespeare)

A tour de force of the human condition and a political primer.

9. From Dawn to Decadence (Jacques Barzun)

I am in awe of Barzun’s ability to synthesize the history of ideas, and present them in such a salient manner. For years I thought he was dead, but he is alive and kicking at 100.

10. Lord of the Rings (J.R.R. Tolkien)

I read this every year. Themes of friendship, heroism and honor permeate the work, and who doesn’t like a book that kicks a little Orc tookus?

11. Orthodoxy (G.K. Chesterton)

One of the most influential thinkers in Christendom during the late 19th and early 20th century.

12. Institutes (John Calvin)

I have come to understand the discipline of theology from Calvin. This is not an academic endeavor for him, but a pursuit of God.


Favorite Movies

1. Suspicion
2. Searching For Bobby Fisher
3. Cool Hand Luke
4. The Incredibles
5. The Searchers
6. Saving Private Ryan
7. Unforgiven
8. The Fugitive
9. Patton
10. The Mission

Favorite Websites

First Things

Evangelical Outpost

Free Republic

Box Office Mojo

BBC News

Peter Kings’ Monday Morning Quarterback

Red-Blue Christian

Touchstone Blog

Acton Institute

Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Journal

Arts & Letters Daily


Collected Quotations

“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”

C.S. Lewis

“Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.”

G.K. Chesterton

“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile—hoping it will eat him last.”

“Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened.”

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

Winston Churchill

“In teaching you cannot see the fruit of a day’s work. It is invisible and remains so, maybe for twenty years.”
“The test and the use of man’s education is that he finds pleasure in the exercise of his mind.”

Jacques Barzun

“Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It’s what separates us from the animals … except the weasel.”
“You couldn’t fool your own mother on the foolingest day of your life with an electrified fooling machine!”

Homer Simpson
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