Great Book Socratic Seminar & Film: JOB “The greatest Western poem yet,” according to Robert Frost.

Socratic Seminar & Film English textbook

Part I Socratic Method defines, illustrates, and demonstrates how to implement Socratic Seminars. (Ch. 1-8).

Part II focuses on the primary text of the Hebrew Book of Job, and two little-known Robert Frost complementary poems--one on the Book of Job, A Masque of Reason, (“Chapter 43”) and the other, A Masque of Mercy, on the Book of Jonah (Ch. 9-11).

Part III Film Criticism, centers on Archibald MacLeish’s J. B. which like Frost, rejects the happy ending of the original story. In “A Serious Man,” the Coen brothers ask if Larry Gopnik could be considered a contemporary Job or is his life a parody? (Ch. 12-13)

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This book divides into three parts: (I) The Socratic method of teaching and learning (chapter 1-8), (II) Socratic Seminars on the story of Job (chapters 9-12), and (III) (chapter 13) film criticism. Part I describes, defines and illustrates the Socratic method in a sequence of six lesson plans that explain how to engage students in the Socratic method of teaching and learning as a prelude to writing interpretive essays. These lesson plans also enable teacher and student to develop the skills of independent, reflective, and critical thinking.

Part II focuses on the primary text of the Hebrew book of Job, and two secondary authors, Robert Frost’s little-known but brilliant revision of the resolution of Job A Masque of Reason and Archibald’s MacLeish’s J.B, equally astounding epilogue of the original tale.

Part III questions whether “A Serious Man” (2009) of the Coen brothers is a contemporary version of the story of Job. In short, the ultimate goal of this intensive study of the story of Job is to develop the skills of independent, critical, and reflecting thinking that result in memorable understanding and enjoyment of the “greatest poem of Western literature.”

Finally, whenever possible, I use film versions of novels, stories, and plays to make them more accessible to today's students who are so visual. Since a film is itself an interpretation, this teaching unit also explains how to use film to bring some of these stories to life through comparison-contrast discussion, writing, and research on current events. Together, may we continue to help our students to “educate their imaginations” (Northrup Frey) through active and close reading and habitual writing. In short, may we enable them to become life-long learners.

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Teacher Supplement is now available!

Pick up the the teacher supplement for this book! You will find the sixty page Teacher Supplement quite useful because it has the answer keys to the plot quizzes and essay exams for all six plays. It also has helpful suggestions on implementing the lesson plans along with an appendix of reading selections for handout that will help students to complete the Journal Assignments and Research Topics for Independent Study.

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