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Free Book: The Works of Richard Sibbes, vol. 1

the-works-of-richard-sibbes-vol-1All November long, you can get volume 1 of The Works of Richard Sibbes for free!

“The winter prepares the earth for the spring, so do afflictions sanctified prepare the soul for glory.”
—Richard Sibbes

When was the last time you went through trials? How did they affect your relationship with Christ—were you encouraged in your faith, or did you feel abandoned? In The Bruised Reed, Richard Sibbes, the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English theologian, takes on these questions and more. Sibbes uses the metaphor of bruising to describe how God enlightens us: hardships, we learn, come about as a way to drive us to God. Only when our pride is humbled are we able to grasp the sacrifices Christ made for us.

“I shall never cease to be grateful to Richard Sibbes, who was balm to my soul at a period in my life when I was overworked and badly overtired, and therefore subject in an unusual manner to the onslaughts of the devil. I found at that time that Richard Sibbes . . . was an unfailing remedy. His books, The Bruised Reed and The Soul’s Conflict, quieted, soothed, comforted, encouraged, and healed me.”
—Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Volume 1 of The Works of Richard Sibbes gives you not only The Bruised Reed, but also a preface by the editor and a detailed biography.

Download your free copy today, and then enter to win the complete Works of Richard Sibbes!

What if Life Were All about Pleasure?

Paul, in Acts 17:18, addresses adherents to two philosophical schools: Stoicism and the Epicureanism. We already know that the Stoics had much in common with the early Christians; not so the Epicureans, for whom life’s highest goal was individual pleasure.

But Epicureanism is worth studying as more than just early-church context. Though it fell out of favor in the third century AD, it nevertheless anticipated today’s intellectual climate in startling ways.

So, who were the Epicureans?

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  1. Moderates, not hedonists. “The philosophy,” notes the Faithlife Study Bible, “emphasized physical and intellectual pleasure and emotional calm (the most pleasure with the least pain).” But, though epicurean’s modern sense connotes excess, the ancients were moderates: Epicurus, quoted in Diogenes Laertius’ Lives of Eminent Philosophers, writes that “Nature’s wealth . . . is easy to procure; but the wealth of vain fancies recedes to an infinite distance.” Therefore,

    “When we say . . . that pleasure is the end and aim, we do not mean the pleasures of the prodigal or the pleasures of sensuality. . . . By pleasure we mean the absence of pain in the body and of trouble in the soul. It is not an unbroken succession of drinking-bouts and of revelry . . . it is sober reasoning . . . and banishing those beliefs through which the greatest tumults take possession of the soul.”

  2. Utilitarians. The Epicurean approach to pleasure was practical. They tolerated pain when it brought about greater pleasure; they obeyed social contracts to avoid crime’s anxiety, shame, and punishment; they did good deeds so that others might respond in kind.
  3. Empiricists. “[A]ll our notions are derived from perceptions,” wrote Epicurus, “either by actual contact or by analogy, or resemblance, or composition, with some slight aid from reasoning.” That is, the senses are the best criteria for knowledge.
  4. Atomists. They argued, notes the FSB, that “the world was made of atoms and that such material was all that the world contained.” Even the gods were made of atoms; so were souls.
  5. Believers in distant, nonintervening gods. Their gods were immortal, blissful, and almost infinitely distant—”limited beings” made from the same atomic stuff as humans, who, in their divine equanimity, didn’t care about evil and had “no real effect on the world” (FSB).
  6. Disbelievers in the afterlife. Since souls, made of atoms, disintegrate at death, and since the gods don’t care about evil, there’s no afterlife of divine punishment to fear. Instead, we should:

    “Accustom [ourselves] to believe that death is nothing to us, for good and evil imply sentience, and death is the privation of all sentience; therefore a right understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable . . . by taking away the yearning after immortality. . . . Death, therefore, the most awful of evils, is nothing to us, seeing that, when we are, death is not come, and, when death is come, we are not.”

    For Epicurus, the fear of death was the “greatest anxiety of the human mind”—the pain most worth eliminating.

How did the Epicureans anticipate modernity?

classics-in-empiricist-philosophy-collectionAs you can see, Epicureanism disagreed with Christianity on an awful lot: cosmology, theodicy, the meaning of life.

No, its conclusions are familiar for another reason—they sound like those of modern secular culture.

  • Epicurean empiricism prefigured that of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. In fact, it even came close to anticipating the idealism of the last two, according to which only perceptions exist, not objects. Epicurus writes, “the objects presented to madmen and to people in dreams are true, for they produce effects—i.e., movements in the mind—which that which is unreal never does” (emphasis added).
  • Epicurean atomism was remarkably similar to nineteenth-century atomic chemistry: atoms as indivisible, eternal building blocks, things as mere accumulations of atoms colliding with each other. More, the Epicureans came up with a “many worlds” cosmology long before twentieth-century quantum physics did, if for different reasons. Writes Epicurus:

    “there is an infinite number of worlds, some like this world, others unlike it. . . . For the [infinite] atoms out of which a world might arise, or by which a world might be formed, have not all been expended on one world or a finite number of worlds, whether like or unlike this one.”

  • Epicureanism’s matter-of-fact approach to social living shares much with Locke’s utilitarianism, and even modern libertarianism. Since individuals are their own best judges of how to live, society means essentially “Leave me free to maximize my pleasure; in turn, since I don’t want the negative repercussions, I won’t infringe on the freedom of others.” Libertarians, sound familiar?
  • The Epicureans thought the fear of death animated the rest of life’s anxieties; in the twentieth century, Heidegger and the existentialists agreed. (Of course, from there, their conclusions differed: For the Epicureans, the fear of death was illusory, to be transcended; for the existentialists, it was key to living bravely and authentically.)

Empiricism, atomism, extreme individuality, fear of death as the root of all anxiety—what makes these parallels really interesting is that they aren’t straighforward lines of influence. From the third century AD to the sixteenth, Epicureanism was almost entirely forgotten.

* * *

lucretius-on-the-nature-of-thingsThere are two reasons you should know Epicureanism:

  1. It, with Stoicism, was a big part of the context against which early Christianity established itself. Studying it helps you understand the early church—you’ll get more out of passages like Acts 17:18 and Phil. 3:18.
  2. As we’ve seen, it’s an indirect precursor to secular modernity—one that’s even more interesting for its indirectness. Even though Epicurean philosophy is largely forgotten, modernity tends toward the Epicurean; if you’re interested in engaging the culture, you’ll want to understand this fascinating echo.

Epicurus left us very little—Diogenes Laertius lays out his thought (and quotes him at length) in Lives of Eminent Philosophers, and Lucretius, in On the Nature of Things, builds on Epicurus’ destroyed magnum opus, On Nature. Luckily for scholars, we’re building Logos editions of both through Logos’ philosophy/classics division, Noet—and, right now, you can get these foundational texts on Community Pricing for $5 each. For such rich context, that’s a tiny investment.

Study ancient thought for the best price—bid now on Lives of Eminent Philosophers and On the Nature of Things.

Then build your library with Noet’s Ancient and Modern Philosophy bundles, or deepen your study with the immense Classical Foundations Bundle—124 volumes of philosophy, history, original-language scholarship, and literature.

P.S. Still not convinced that philosophy matters?

How Well Do You Know the Reformation?

Reformation Day

The day was October 31, 1517. Martin Luther, a German monk and theologian, took a list of concerns regarding the state of the church and nailed them to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.

That list is now known as the 95 Theses; that late October day, Reformation Day. But there’s so much more to learn:

  • What led up to the 95 Theses being written?
  • What were Luther’s original intentions?
  • Who, besides Luther, was part of this moment?
  • Was this the actual beginning of what’s now known as the Reformation?

Expand your knowledge of the Reformation

There are many ways to examine the day Luther nailed up the 95 Theses. With Logos 5, you can research the works of Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and others.

Save up to 60% on books and collections such as:

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Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics

Regularly $159.95—get it for $109.95 with coupon code REFDAY13

A major study reevaluating the primary sources of the post-Reformation, Richard Muller’s four-volume Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics chronicles the development of Reformed theology and the rise of Protestant orthodoxy. This work demands the attention of anyone interested in the history, development, and contemporary expressions of Reformed theology.

The Works of Zwingli

Regularly $69.95—get it for $54.95 with coupon code REFDAY13

Huldrych Zwingli’s contributions to the Reformation may have been just as important as Luther’s and Calvin’s, yet many still don’t know much about him, let alone read his powerful works. Zwingli preached against ecclesial corruption, fasting, the requirement of clergy celibacy, the veneration of saints, excommunication, and more, setting the stage for the Swiss Reformation. The Works of Zwingli (7 vols.) assembles English translations of some of Zwingli’s most important works, and includes historical works about his life and legacy.

the-reformation-study-bibleThe Reformation Study Bible

Regularly $35.95—get it for $25.95 with coupon code REFDAY13

The Reformation Study Bible’s contributing scholars, committed to Scripture’s inerrancy and authority, have the highest academic credentials. These in-depth study notes were compiled from more than 50 distinguished biblical scholars, including Drs. J. I. PackerJames Boice, and Wayne Grudem.

* * *

This sale runs through November 11—check out the rest of our Reformation Day deals!

Canada’s New Logos Ambassador: Greg Monette

gregToday’s post is by Greg Monette, Logos’ new Canada market manager.

Over the next few months, Logos will increase its focus on serving the thousands of Canadian users who already know the software’s benefits firsthand, as well as the thousands of future users who will soon experience them.

A lifelong Canadian resident (currently living in Nova Scotia), I was hired to bring a fresh perspective to the Canadian market. Canada’s been a strong supporter of Logos from the beginning, and I’m looking forward to serving as the ambassador between Logos and my home country. After all, behind the US, no other nation has more Logos users than Canada.

I received my Master of Divinity and my Master of Arts (theology) from Acadia Divinity College in Nova Scotia, and I’m a PhD candidate in New Testament at the University of Bristol in England. I’m a massive fan of Canadian hockey, and I’m even more passionate about helping people discover the tools they need to understand the Bible.

How can I serve you?

In the months and years ahead, this new role will bring many challenges and joys. I need your help! If you’re Canadian and you have a desire to help others understand Scripture, I’d love to hear your ideas about how we can help multitudes of Canadians get more out of their Bible study with Logos. Head over to the forums and introduce yourself. I’ll respond as quickly as I can!

Helping people grow deeper in their knowledge of the Bible is one of the greatest privileges I can think of, and I’m excited to help Canada connect with Logos.

Stay up to date:

Sign up for the Canadian email list!





Get N. T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God on Pre-Pub!

paul-and-the-faithfulness-of-godFor more than a decade, N. T. Wright has been considered one of the leading experts on the life and theology of the apostle Paul. His highly anticipated Paul and the Faithfulness of God—widely regarded as his magnum opus—comes out next month, and you can pre-order it now for $40 off.

Trained at Oxford under the late George Caird, Wright has held teaching posts at some of the world’s leading universities. Not only is Professor Wright a New Testament scholar; he’s also deeply involved in the life of the church. From 2003 to 2010, Wright served as the bishop of Durham, considered the third-highest rank in the Anglican Church. In 2010, Wright left the pulpit and returned to the lectern to take up the position of research professor of New Testament and early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

With Paul and the Faithfulness of God, Wright continues his study of Christian Origins and the Question of God. A number of Wright’s earlier books touched on Paul and his theology—Paul: Fresh Perspectives, Justification: God’s Plan and Paul’s Vision, commentaries on the Pauline letters in the New Testament for Everyone Series, a major commentary on Romans in the New Interpreter’s Bible, and numerous journal articles. Paul and the Faithfulness of God is considered by most to be Wright’s essential work on Paul—the culmination of a lifetime of study and reflection on the church’s most important theologian and missionary.

If you’re looking to start a serious study on the theology of Paul, you should pre-order Paul and the Faithfulness of God. Not only will you get arguably the most important study on Paul since E. .P. Sander’s watershed Paul and Palestinian Judaism—you’ll also get a gem of a book: Pauline Perspectives: Essays on Paul 1978–2013, 33 essays on Pauline theology that previously appeared in various journals.

Right now, you can pre-order both of these important works for just $99.95. Paul and the Faithfulness of God will be this generation’s most important work on Pauline theology—don’t miss your chance to own it at the Pre-Pub price!

Get up to $225 off the Works of B. B. Warfield & the Princeton Theologians

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Sometimes we hear it said that ten minutes on your knees will give you a truer, deeper, more operative knowledge of God than ten hours over your books. ‘What!’ is the appropriate response, ‘than ten hours over your books, on your knees?’ Why should you turn from God when you turn to your books, or feel that you must from your books in order to turn to God?
—B. B. Warfield, The Religious Life of Theological Students

B. B. Warfield, the Lion of Princeton, left a legacy of vast theological importance. Born on November 5, 1851, he was the last of the great Princeton Theologians. Now, as we approach the anniversary of his birth, you can take advantage of some amazing offers from Logos.

Use coupon code BBWFIELD at checkout to get your savings. But don’t wait—these deals last only through November 5!

  1. Get up to $137 off the 20 vol. B. B. Warfield Collection. Study the life and thought of the man who defended divine inspiration against liberal theology. This collection includes the 10-volume Works of Benjamin B. Warfield, plus an additional 10 volumes of books, articles, and lectures.
  2. Get more than 50% off Calvin and the Reformation: Four Studies. Evaluate Calvin’s historical and theological impact with Warfield, August Lang, Herman Bavinck, and Émile Mourgue.
  3. Save up to $225 on the 55 vol. Princeton Theology Collection. You’ll get Warfield’s 20-volume collection, plus collections from the other three Princeton theologians: Archibald Alexander, Charles Hodge, and A. A. Hodge.

Remember, these deals are available only through November 5. Use coupon code BBWFIELD and start studying Warfield today!

Pre-order These Christian Ethics Collections Before They Ship!

Right now, you can pre-order several Christian ethics collections at up to 40% off! Written and compiled by experts in the field, these works address many of today’s most pressing ethical issues. And they’re about to ship—don’t miss out!

Pre-order these collections today:

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Augsburg Fortress Ethics Collection

Regularly $199.95—Get it for $184.95 on Pre-Pub

Discover the sources and traditions behind today’s ethical principles and norms. The Augsburg Fortress Ethics Collection gives you nine volumes of diverse contemporary and classical Christian thought. Trusted scholars and theologians discuss war, sexuality, abortion, globalization, the environment, immigration, politics, science, and more.

Select Works of John Howard Yoder

Regularly $96.95—get it for $57.95 on Pre-Pub

This collection gives you three important texts illuminating Yoder’s wisdom and theological depth. Preface to Theology introduces Yoder’s theology straight from his seminary curriculum and reveals his passionate commitment to Christology. The War of the Lamb and Christian Attitudes to War, Peace, and Revolution present Yoder’s writings and theology on pacifism, violence, and just-war and just-peacemaking theory. These posthumously published works address theological needs still present today.

tt-clark-studies-in-ethics (1)T&T Clark Studies in Ethics

Regularly $99.95—get it for $74.95 on Pre-Pub

The T&T Clark Studies in Ethics collection offers a helpful overview of the field, as well as modern research on various ethical issues. It discusses general approaches to ethics and paves new roads in ethical thought. With titles like Christian Ethics: A Guide for the Perplexed, Moral Theology for the Twenty First Century, and Living for the Future, you’ll find trustworthy Christian perspectives on a variety of tough issues.

Baylor Ethics Collection

Regularly $109.95—get it for $72.95 on Pre-Pub

This collection of Baylor volumes presents valuable writing on general Christian ethics, as well as such important topics as pacifism and ecology. Harry J. Huebner’s massive Introduction to Christian Ethics represents a new standard in Christian ethics studies, covering ancient, modern, and postmodern traditions and figures. Living with Other Creatures and Greening Paul represent current scholarship on the relationship between Christianity, Scripture, and the ethics of ecology. And Nonviolence: A Brief History presents John Howard Yoder’s influential Warsaw lectures.

wipf-and-stock-studies-in-ethicsWipf & Stock Studies in Ethics

Regularly $84.95—get it for $64.95 on Pre-Pub

The Wipf & Stock Studies in Ethics collection presents four studies on the relevance of Christian ethics to today’s complex issues, as well as a text on methods of ethical analysis. You’ll learn about Gospel-centered nonviolence, the current injustices of the world economy, biblical writings on homosexuality, and the relevance of theology to issues of life and death.

Pre-order these collections today, and check out all our other Pre-Pub products!

Will It Preach?

Bible Study Magazine NovemberHow do you preach on that imprecatory psalm? What do you do with that seemingly bizarre vision in Ezekiel? And where do even begin with the book of Nahum—easily the most unpopular book of the Bible?

If you’ve been asked or done the asking, you know that these passages present special challenges for the preacher. It can be tempting to avoid or at least gloss over them. In the November–December ’13 issue of Bible Study Magazine, we address the passages least likely to see a pulpit. From the violence of the Minor Prophets to the strange visions of Ezekiel to the tedium of the genealogies, we ask “Will It Preach?” and “How?”

Here’s what else the issue offers:

  • An interview with David Platt on discipleship and an active church culture in “No More Spectators.”
  • A response to the ongoing conflict in Egypt. Tharwat Wahba, professor and chair of missions at Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, explains how Egyptian Christians are responding to violence and offers hope.
  • Insights from June Hunt on studying the Bible and counseling others.

You’ll also get the latest book reviews, an eight-week Bible study on Ephesians, and more!

Subscribe today

How to Retrieve Your Deleted Logos Notes

Documents.Logos.com lets you store your study notes, presentations, sentence diagrams, reading plans, and more—all in one place. And if you delete an important document, it’s easy to get your work back.

Here’s how to undelete files:

  1. Log in at Documents.Logos.com with your Logos.com credentials.
  2. Using the dropdown menu in the top-left corner, filter documents by visibility.
  3. Select “Deleted” to see all your deleted documents.

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  1. Just undelete the document you want back!

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If you don’t remember deleting a document, but you can’t seem to find it at Documents.Logos.com, it may be attached to a Faithlife group. Use the dropdown menu under your username to view your current groups and the documents associated with them.

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Documents.Logos.com makes it easy to collaborate and share. Start using it today!

How Ancient Thought Agreed (and Disagreed) with the Early Church

Stoicism, a school of Hellenistic thought founded in the third century BC and popular through AD 529, was more than a philosophy—it was a way of life. In this scope as a worldview, it was, writes Paul Tillich, “the only real alternative to Christianity in the Western world.”

But, fascinatingly, Stoicism shared more than scope with Christianity. It came to many of the same conclusions about how to think and live.

Who were the Stoics?

stoics-of-the-roman-era-collectionBeginning with Zeno of Citium, the Stoics located happiness not in goods or success but in virtue alone; they emphasized self-control as the path beyond destructive emotions. This self-control took the form of:

  • Meditation. The Stoics would, visualizing their personal futures, imagine the worst possible outcomes—not as distant, unlikely events, but as present sufferings. They sought to realize that even the worst misfortunes can be survived and are not worth fearing.
  • Training. They practiced rigorous physical discipline, from sexual abstinence to hard exercise to the avoidance of tempting foods.
  • Self-vigilance. They monitored their thoughts and emotions, seeking to avoid lust, greed, and ambition in favor of reason.

Seneca and Epictetus argued that a properly practicing Stoic was, in a sense, beyond misfortune. The Faithlife Study Bible’s article on Paul and the Stoics notes, “Stoics believed that the ideal sage was one who could face calamity and misfortune with casual indifference, feeling neither sorrow nor regret. Stoics were proud of their ability to endure hardships and often paraded their fortitude and strength through ‘hardship catalogs,’ which listed the adversities they had endured.” (It’s that serene indifference to misfortune that colors our modern sense of stoic.)

Similar notions of the self

If contemplation, discipline, and vigilance sound familiar, it’s because the early church and Stoicism were in so many ways alike. Both were characterized by:

  • An emphasis on hardship. As the FSB points out, Paul’s letters also feature “hardship catalogs”—for example, 2 Cor. 4:8–9 and 6:9–10. And, like the Stoics, Paul believed that enduring hardships leads to growth in character: he writes, “we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character” (Rom. 5:3–5; cf. 1 Cor. 9:24–27).
  • A sense of man’s depravity, and a constant self-examination. Like the early Christians, the Stoics regarded humanity’s natural state, with its lust, ambition, and other impulses, as deeply flawed. Both worldviews focused on the observation of self and the suppression of wrong thought.
  • An inner freedom from the world. Adherents to both worldviews lived apart from the world’s shortcomings and hardships. The early Christians looked with hope to the world that is to come; the Stoics reminded themselves that all is predetermined and that misfortune is illusory.
  • An aversion to excess. Since the Stoics and the Christians both regarded greed as wrong thinking, they shared a distaste for material excess. For the Stoics, mere wealth wasn’t bad—it simply wasn’t good. “Wealth consists not in having great possessions,” said Epictetus, “but in having few wants.”

Differing notions of the divine

But, though Stoicism shared much with Christianity, it differed profoundly in its account of the divine. For the Stoics, the universe was “a vast quasi-rational being with intelligence and will” (FSB), whose animating force they called (what else?) logos. They didn’t believe in the afterlife; they did believe that the universe would end and then repeat itself.

(You’ll notice that the Stoic outlook far anticipated cosmologies we regard as modern. The notion of God as the universe’s totality reappeared with Spinoza and, famously, Einstein; eternal recurrence was taken up by Nietzsche and Schopenhauer.)
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Of course, Christianity’s and Stoicism’s distinct understandings of divinity entailed differing ways of life. Sharyn Dowd, in Reading Mark, notes that:

The Stoics . . . were also determinists; they believed that everything that happened was caused by the universal divine logos that pervaded and controlled all nature and human life. Therefore, the Stoics did not believe in petitionary prayer. People should accept the life circumstances decreed for them by the divine and not seek to change those circumstances in any way. (Emphasis added)

Even the Christian ascetics, so like the Stoics in their emphasis on discipline and their distaste for worldly excess, operated within different spheres and worked toward different goals:

  • For the Stoics, the work of self-examination was largely private. For the early Christian ascetics, penance and self-examination were deeply public, instantiated in professions of faith and confessions.
  • The Stoics sought self-control in order to master the self. The ascetics sought self-control in order to renounce the self.
  • For the Stoics, dependence on the world was to be replaced by dependence on oneself—”The wise person,” taught Seneca, “is self-sufficient.” Paul, in contrast, taught that Christians are profoundly dependent on God (FSB).
  • For the Stoics, love was at best suspect, toxic to self-sufficiency. For Paul and the early Christians, love was everything (FSB).

But despite these key differences, the parallels between Stoicism and Christianity—an emphasis on hardship, an understanding of humanity as innately flawed, a vigilant self-examination, an inner freedom, an aversion to excess—are remarkable.

* * *

diogenes-laertius-lives-of-eminent-philosophersStoicism was the immediate context within which early Christianity flourished—the great alternative in terms of scope as a worldview, the status quo that the church rejected in radical ways. To know the one is to better know the other.

Noet offers the key Stoic texts in the Stoics of the Roman Era Collection (currently 81% off on Community Pricing!), which sets you up with the core works of Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius. The early Stoics—Zeno, Cleanthes, and Chrysippus—left us less, but we can still study them in Diogenes Laertius’ invaluable Lives of Eminent Philosophers, on Community Pricing for 83% off.

Keep learning about Stoicism and Greco-Roman context: place your bids on the Stoics of the Roman Era Collection and Diogenes Laertius’ Lives of Eminent Philosophers.

Then deepen your library with Noet’s vast Classical Foundations Bundle—39 volumes of essential ancient and modern philosophy, 21 volumes of Greek and Latin resources, the famous Harvard Classics (designed as a Harvard education on a five-foot shelf), and the 1,114-volume Perseus Classics Collection.

P.S. Still not convinced that philosophy matters?