Educating Future Leaders in Every Field
A Community of Scholars and Students
Debating Questions of Enduring Significance
"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion." - Thomas Jefferson
The aim of the Thomas Jefferson Center is to realize Jefferson's vision of educating citizens and leaders to understand the meaning of liberty and to exercise it wisely. We share Jefferson's conviction that one of the best ways to attain a liberal education--an education suited for a free individual in a free society--is through a serious study of the great books. In our courses, students will engage in a direct, respectful, but probing and critical study of major creative and theoretical works that have shaped human thought and history. They will enter into debates about human nature, ethics, and the meaning of life. They will learn skills of critical reasoning, close reading, and clear, cogent writing. They will join a community of scholars drawn from many departments and many schools of thought, united by a passion for fundamental questions, a spirit of friendly debate, and a willingness to engage in critical self-scrutiny.
We offer for students in all colleges the Certificate in Core Texts and Ideas, which provides a coherent path through UT's core curriculum based on a study of the great books. Outstanding freshmen and sophomores interested in pursuing this program through integrated learning community may apply for the Jefferson Scholars Program. In collaboration with the The Center for European Studies, we offer an interdisciplinary major in European Thought. We sponsor post-doctoral fellowships, a lecture series, the Jefferson Center book club, and other symposia for the university and broader community.
The Jefferson Scholars Program is a challenging, six-course integrated sequence in the great books and ideas of the ancient, medieval, and modern worlds.Learn More
We welcome gifts both to cover current year expenses and to build an endowment. Endowment funds may be designated for any purpose but are especially needed for the Jefferson Scholars Program.Learn More
Certificate Program in Core Texts and Ideas
The Certificate Program in Core Texts and Ideas, our recommended program for undergraduates, is an introduction to the liberal arts through the study of the great books. It complements any major with an integrated sequence of six courses that can also satisfy UT general education requirements.Learn More
The Jefferson Book Club, open to all interested University of Texas undergraduates, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and faculty, is a forum for informal discussions of the great books. Copies of the readings for each meeting will be made available about a week beforehand.Learn More
Civic Thought Initiative
The Jefferson Center is launching a new program of course development grants in the College of Liberal Arts to deepen students’ understanding of the theoretical foundations of liberty, the historical development of free institutions, the modern traditions of liberal and conservative thought, and the practices of constructive civil discourse.Learn More
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Faculty Book Spotlight: Geoffrey S. Smith & Brent C. Landau
In this book, Geoffrey S. Smith and Brent C. Landau enter into the controversy surrounding this document and argue that the Secret Gospel of Mark is neither a first-century alternative gospel nor a twentieth-century forgery by the scholar who announced its discovery. Instead, this account is intimately bound up with the history of Mar Saba, one of the oldest monasteries in the Christian world. In this fascinating work, Smith and Landau present the realities and misconceptions surrounding not only the now-lost manuscript but also its brilliant, enigmatic, and acerbic discoverer, Morton Smith.
Essays and Lectures
Fandom and the Great Books
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