A great book invites the reader in as an equal.

That is the spirit in which the Catherine Project’s education is offered.

We invite people from all walks of life to join our community of learning. We charge no tuition or fees.
OFFERINGS

 

Unless otherwise noted, courses take place online via Zoom.

Our courses are open to adults 16 years or older from all educational backgrounds and walks of life.

We organize three kinds of courses:

Tutorials

Our tutorials are capped at 4-6 readers each and are led by a tutor.

They typically meet for 12 weeks, and are organized around the careful reading and discussion of one or more great books.

Readers write short reflection papers on the weekly readings and share them with the group before each meeting.

Reading Groups

Reading groups are typically peer-led and more flexible in nature.

Like a tutorial, the group reads one or more great books and meets regularly to discuss it. The duration of reading groups varies, so please note the advertised start and end dates.

Unlike a tutorial, we aim for a core of 8-10 readers and there is no required writing. 

Subject Tutorials

When possible, we organize small group meetings with a tutor competent in subjects such as: the art of writing, ancient languages, and mathematics.

The mode of instruction varies according to the subject being taught.

As with our reading groups, the length of subject tutorials is variable.

spring 2024 OFFERINGS

Registration for our Spring 2024 session is closed. Please join our mailing list to be notified when new offerings become available.

In accordance with our principles, we read books of richness, depth, and lasting value that bear repeated re-readings. Such books teach readers at all levels of preparation. Readers do not choose tutors, tutors do not choose readers, and members of reading groups do not choose one another: readers choose a book to read or a subject to study.

Please review our Spring offerings below (or download the PDF catalog) and note the Course ID of any courses in which you would like to participate. To apply to participate in one of our courses, please visit our Study with Us page.

To be informed when new reading groups and tutorials are organized, please join our mailing list.

Tutorials (all times listed are in Eastern Time)

Each tutorial meets at the identified times to discuss readings in the relevant text(s). Readers are expected to write short reflection papers each week and share them with the entire group. Reflection papers are intended as an aid to thinking and conversation, and no grades are given. Tutorials run for 12 weeks, unless otherwise noted by your tutor.

If you are new to this kind of study or unsure where to start, we recommend beginning with one of our tutorials on Homer or Plato. You are also welcome to email us at: study@catherineproject.org.

  • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
    • Wednesdays, 7:30-9:30 PM, Starts 01/31
    • Course ID: TUT Aristotle, Ethics
    • Registration deadline: 01/03 
  • What is Nature?—Aristotle’s On the Soul and Physics
    • Wednesdays, 6:00-8:00 PM, Starts: 01/24
    • Course ID: TUT Aristotle, Nature
    • Registration deadline: 12/27
  • Descartes, Discourse on the Method & Plato, Meno
    • Mondays, 7:30-9:30 PM, Starts: 01/22
    • Course ID: TUT Descartes/Plato
    • Registration deadline: 12/25
  • Euripides, Alcestis, Medea, The Children of Heracles, Hippolytus, Andromache, Hecuba, The Suppliant Women, Electra, Heracles, The Trojan Women, Iphigenia among the Taurians, Ion, Helen, Orestes, The Bacchae, and The Cyclops
    • Saturdays, 12:30-1:30 PM, Starts: 02/24
    • This is an intensive tutorial that aims to read most of the surviving work of Euripides, an ancient Greek tragedian, in 14 weeks. Participants should be prepared to read roughly 65 pages each week, in addition to writing and sharing brief reflections on the reading. Please consider carefully whether you will be able to devote sufficient time to the tutorial before applying.
    • Course ID: TUT Euripides
    • Registration deadline: 01/08
  • Three Works on Knowing and Unknowing: The Cloud of Unknowing, Farid ud-Din Attar’s The Conference of the Birds, and Maimonides’ The Guide for the Perplexed
    • Mondays, 6:30-8:30 PM, Starts: 01/22
    • Course ID: TUT Knowing
    • Registration deadline: 12/25
  • Homer, Iliad and Odyssey
    • Tuesdays, 4:00-5:30 PM, Starts: 01/16
    • Course ID: TUT Homer (Tu)
    • Registration deadline: 12/19
  • Homer, Iliad and Odyssey
    • Thursdays, 7:00-9:00 PM, Starts: 01/25
    • Course ID: TUT Homer (Thu)
    • Registration deadline: 12/28
  • Plato, Apology of Socrates, Crito, Phaedo, Meno, Symposium, Phaedrus, and Theaetetus
    • Mondays, 7:00-9:00 PM, Starts: 01/29
    • Course ID: TUT Plato, Apology etc
    • Registration deadline: 01/01
  • Plato, Phaedrus
    • Fridays, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM, Starts: 02/02
    • Course ID: TUT Plato, Phaedrus
    • Registration deadline: 01/05 
  • Plato, Republic
    • Thursdays, 7:00-9:00 PM, Starts: 01/19
    • Course ID: TUT Plato, Republic (Th) (A)
    • Registration deadline: 12/22
  • Plato, Republic
    • Thursdays, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM, Starts: 03/21
    • Course ID: TUT Plato, Republic (Th) (B)
    • Registration deadline: 02/22
  • Plato, Republic
    • Saturdays, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM, Starts: 01/20
    • Course ID: TUT Plato, Republic (Sa)
    • Registration deadline: 12/23
  • Virgil, Aeneid
    • Mondays, 2:00-3:30 PM, Starts: 03/11
    • Course ID: TUT Virgil
    • Registration deadline: 01/08

Reading Groups (all times listed are in Eastern Time)

Reading groups are peer-led and meet at the identified times to discuss readings in the relevant text(s). Please note the start and end dates, as the duration of reading groups varies.

If you are new to this kind of study or unsure where to start, you are welcome to email us at: study@catherineproject.org.

  • Aquinas, Summa Theologica (selections)
    • Wednesdays, 7:30-9:00 PM, 01/24 – 05/01 (15 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Aquinas
    • Registration deadline: 12/27
  • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Books 6-9
    • Mondays, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM, 01/08 – 05/13 (19 weeks)
    • This group is completing a slow and careful year-long read of the Ethics. This term we will cover Books 6-9. We welcome interested readers who would like to join us.
    • Course ID: RG Aristotle
    • Registration deadline: 12/11
  • What is the Soul?—Aristotle’s On the Soul and Plato’s Phaedo
    • Wednesdays, 7:00-8:30 PM, 01/17 – 03/28 (11 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Aristotle/Plato
    • Registration deadline: 12/20
  • Augustine, City of God
    • Wednesdays, 6:00-7:30 PM, 01/17 – 06/12 (22 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Augustine
    • Registration deadline: 12/20
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice & Junichirō Tanizaki, The Makioka Sisters
    • Wednesdays, 7:30-9:00 PM, 01/17 – 05/01 (16 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Austen/Tanizaki
    • Registration deadline: 12/20
  • Beowulf
    • Tuesdays, 8:00-9:30 PM, 01/16 – 03/26 (11 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Beowulf
    • Registration deadline: 12/19
  • Wendell Berry, Port William novels and stories from the Civil War to World War II
    • Thursdays, 7:00-8:30 PM, 01/18 – 03/21 (10 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Berry
    • Registration deadline: 12/21
  • Miguel de Cervantes, Novelas ejemplares (I & II)
    • Saturdays, 9:00-10:30 AM, 02/24 – 04/27 (10 weeks)
    • Este grupo de lectura leerá y discutirá estos textos en español. Los participantes deberían poder participar de forma activa en la discusión (a un nivel de B2 en la escala de CERF y/o un “advanced high” de acuerdo a las pautas de ACTFL). Si usted tiene cualquier pregunta o duda en cuanto a su capacidad de participar en el grupo, por favor póngase en contacto con study@catherineproject.org.
    • [This reading group will read and discuss these texts in Spanish. Participants must be able to actively participate in the discussion (a language level of B2 on the CERF scale and/or an advanced high according to ACTFL proficiency guidelines is sufficient). If you have any questions or concerns regarding your ability to participate in the group, please contact study@catherineproject.org.]
    • Course ID: RG Cervantes (SPA)
    • Registration deadline: 01/08
  • Classic Fairy Tales
    • Tuesdays, 8:00-10:00 PM, 01/16 – 03/12 (9 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Classic Fairy Tales
    • Registration deadline: 12/19
  • Democracy, history, and political theory: readings in Herodotus, Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Tocqueville, and Du Bois
    • Once a month on Tuesdays, 6:00-7:30 PM, 01/16 – 12/17 (48 weeks)
    • This year-long reading group will meet once a month to discuss readings from fundamental texts in history and political theory, focusing particularly upon democracy. This is a hybrid online/in-person course offered in partnership with the Princeton Public Library. Readers in the Princeton area are encouraged to attend the meetings in-person at the Library, but all readers are welcome to apply, regardless of their location.
    • Course ID: RG Democracy (in-person)
    • Registration deadline: 12/19
  • Elena Ferrante, My Brilliant Friend
    • Mondays, 8:30-10:00 PM, 01/22 – 03/11 (8 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Ferrante
    • Registration deadline: 12/25
  • Epic of Gilgamesh
    • Tuesdays, 7:00-8:30 PM, 01/16 – 02/20 (6 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Gilgamesh (Tu)
    • Registration deadline: 12/19
  • Epic of Gilgamesh
    • Sundays, 4:00-5:30 PM, 01/21 – 02/25 (6 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Gilgamesh (Su)
    • Registration deadline: 12/24
  • Johann Georg Hamann, Socratic Memorabilia
    • Tuesdays, 4:00-5:15 PM, 03/5 – 04/2 (5 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Hamann
    • Registration deadline: 01/08
  • Hermann Hesse, Demian and Siddhartha
    • Fridays, 7:30-9:00 PM, 02/2 – 03/22 (8 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Hesse
    • Registration deadline: 01/05
  • Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan
    • Thursdays, 8:00-10:00 PM, 01/18 – 04/04 (12 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Hobbes
    • Registration deadline: 12/21
  • David Jones, In Parenthesis & Ernst Jünger, Storm of Steel
    • Sundays, 7:30-9:00 PM, 01/21 – 03/24 (10 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Jones/Jünger
    • Registration deadline: 12/24
  • Carl Jung, Two Essays on Analytical Psychology
    • Mondays, 12:00-1:30 PM, 01/22 – 04/15 (13 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Jung
    • Registration deadline: 12/25
  • Laozi, Daodeching
    • Tuesdays, 7:00-9:00 PM, 01/30 – 06/11 (20 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Laozi
    • Registration deadline: 01/02
  • Lazarillo de Tormes
    • Saturdays, 8:30-10:00 AM, 01/20 – 02/17 (5 weeks)
    • Este grupo de lectura leerá y discutirá estos textos en español. Los participantes deberían poder participar de forma activa en la discusión (a un nivel de B2 en la escala de CERF y/o un “advanced high” de acuerdo a las pautas de ACTFL). Si usted tiene cualquier pregunta o duda en cuanto a su capacidad de participar en el grupo, por favor póngase en contacto con study@catherineproject.org.
    • [This reading group will read and discuss these texts in Spanish. Participants must be able to actively participate in the discussion (a language level of B2 on the CERF scale and/or an advanced high according to ACTFL proficiency guidelines is sufficient). If you have any questions or concerns regarding your ability to participate in the group, please contact study@catherineproject.org.]
    • Course ID: RG Lazarillo de Tormes (SPA)
    • Registration deadline: 12/23
  • Gospel of Luke
    • Mondays, 4:00-5:30 PM, 02/12 – 03/25 (7 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Luke
    • Registration deadline: 01/08
  • Socrates’ Accusers: Plato, Apology of Socrates and Meno & Xenophon, Symposium
    • Thursdays, 4:00-5:15 PM, 02/01 – 04/04 (10 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Plato/Xenophon
    • Registration deadline: 01/04
  • Puccini, La Boheme
    • Tuesdays, 7:30-9:00 PM, 01/23 – 03/19 (9 weeks)
    • This group is open to all participants regardless of musical experience or background. Please note that the first two sessions of this group will involve studying music theory basics in order to adopt a common language with which to discuss the work.
    • Course ID: RG Puccini
    • Registration deadline: 12/26
  • Three comedies and three tragedies by William Shakespeare: Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Tempest
    • Every other Wednesday, 7:00-8:30 PM, 02/21 – 05/08 (9 weeks)
    • This is an in-person course that will meet in Annapolis, Maryland. Readers should only apply if they are able to be physically present at each meeting.
    • Course ID: RG Shakespeare (in-person)
    • Registration deadline: 01/08
  • William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Macbeth, Othello, and Romeo and Juliet
    • Thursdays, 8:00-9:30 PM, 01/18 – 03/28 (11 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Shakespeare (Th)
    • Registration deadline: 12/21
  • Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji
    • Thursdays, 7:00-9:00 PM, 01/18 – 05/30 (20 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Shikibu
    • Registration deadline: 12/21
  • Henry David Thoreau, Walking
    • Wednesdays, 11:30 AM-1:00 PM, 04/03 – 04/10 (2 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Thoreau
    • Registration deadline: 01/08
  • Giambattista Vico, The New Science
    • Wednesdays, 8:00-9:30 PM, 01/17 – 04/03 (12 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Vico
    • Registration deadline: 12/20
  • Richard Wagner, The Ring of the Nibelung
    • This group will focus on the libretto or text of Wagner’s opera, as opposed to the music. No prior musical experience is necessary
    • Mondays, 8:00-9:30 PM, 01/22 – 04/29 (15 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Wagner
    • Registration deadline: 12/25
  • Walt Whitman, Song of Myself
    • Mondays, 7:30-9:00 PM, 01/22 – 02/12 (4 weeks)
    • Course ID: RG Whitman
    • Registration deadline: 12/25

Subject Tutorials (all times listed are in Eastern Time)

Each subject tutorial meets at the listed dates and times to study the identified subject. Participants may be given assignments to complete before each meeting: these are given to assist in learning and no grades or credit will be given.

Intermediate language tutorials typically involve the translation of texts and are most appropriate for those who have spent at least a year studying the relevant language.

Advanced language tutorials are appropriate for readers who already have some experience reading texts in the relevant language (for example, through recent participation in intermediate language tutorials).

If you have questions about any of our subject tutorials, you are welcome to email us at: study@catherineproject.org.

  • The Art of Writing
    • Fridays, 9:00-11:00 AM, 01/26 – 04/26 (14 weeks)
    • Participants in this tutorial will practice writing as a method of thinking about what they read, both privately and in community with others, and will discuss what writing is and how it works. The aim of the tutorial will be for each participant to produce an essay that can be shared with others. In addition to reading and discussing common texts, participants should be prepared to spend 3–4 hours each week (outside of the weekly meetings) on writing and revision. Participants will also read each other’s writing in progress before the tutorial meetings and practice giving and receiving feedback.
    • Applicants should have an idea of a book or books they want to spend sustained time thinking about through writing. Applicants do not need to have extensive experience with writing, either formally or informally, but should have sufficient fluency writing in English to produce 4–5 pages of writing each week.
    • Course ID: ST Writing
    • Registration deadline: 12/29
  • Introductory Latin
    • Tuesday and Thursdays, 8:00-9:30 AM, 01/16 – 05/02 (17 weeks)
    • No prior knowledge of Latin is required, but this will be an intensive course. The aim will be to work through the first fifteen lessons in Wheelock’s Latin, 6th Edition (Revised) by the end of the term. With that in mind, readers should register only if they are able to devote at least 5 hours a week to learning Latin.
    • Course ID: ST Latin intro (Tu/Th)
    • Registration deadline: 12/19
  • Introductory Latin
    • Thursdays, 7:00-8:30 PM, 01/18 – 05/18 (19 weeks)
    • No prior knowledge of Latin is required, but this will be an intensive course. The aim will be to work through the first half of Lingua Latina per se Illustrata, covering one chapter a week. By the end of the course, readers should understand the basics of reading Latin. With that in mind, readers should register only if they are able to devote at least 5 hours a week to learning Latin.
    • Course ID: ST Latin intro (Th)
    • Registration deadline: 12/21
  • Introductory ancient Greek
    • Sundays, 10:00 AM-12:30 PM, 01/21 – 05/12 (17 weeks)
    • No prior knowledge of Greek is required, but this will be an intensive course. The aim will be to work through enough of Donald Mastronarde’s Introduction to Attic Greek (2nd edition) for readers to join intermediate Greek tutorials by the end of the term. With that in mind, readers should register only if they are able to devote 10 hours each week to learning Greek.
    • Course ID: ST Greek intro
    • Registration deadline: 12/24
  • Intermediate ancient Greek: Hippocrates’ On Airs, Waters, and Places and the Hippocratic Oath
    • Wednesdays, 7:00-8:30 PM, 03/20 – 06/05 (12 weeks)
    • One goal of this tutorial is to give readers a chance to get comfortable working with different dialects of ancient Greek, and the texts to be read are written in the Ionic dialect. While readers are not expected to have previous experience reading Ionic Greek, they should have a solid foundation in Attic or Koine.
    • Course ID: ST Greek interm, Hippocrates
    • Registration deadline: 01/08
  • Intermediate ancient Greek: Plato’s Meno
    • Tuesdays, 7:00-8:30 PM, 01/16 – 03/19 (10 weeks)
    • This tutorial will use Geoffrey Steadman’s edition of the Meno, which provides notes on vocabulary and challenging grammar. The focus of the tutorial will be on reading the text together in Greek. Readers will prepare 2-4 OCT pages per week, bringing any questions to the group for discussion.
    • Course ID: ST Greek interm, Plato, Meno
    • Registration deadline: 12/19
  • Intermediate ancient Greek: Book 6 of Plato’s Republic
    • Saturdays, 10 AM-12 PM, 02/03 – 05/04 (14 weeks)
    • The reading pace of this tutorial is 4-5 pages per week in the Oxford Classical Texts (OCT) edition, but there is no expectation that intermediate readers will cover all of that in Greek. Participants should attempt to read a minimum of 1 OCT page/week (in order to see improvement) and will be responsible for translating a specific passage in each week’s reading.
    • There will be an optional grammar hour from 9:00-10:00 AM for those seeking a grammar refresher related to the week’s reading.
    • Course ID: ST Greek interm, Plato, Republic
    • Registration deadline: 01/04

We provide substantive, high-quality, person-to-person teaching to adults 16 years or older at no fixed cost to them. We also host peer-led reading groups and lectures.

We seek to cultivate free and independent learners who study on their own initiative, driven by their own fundamental questions. To do so, we follow the tried-and-true practice of liberation through person-to-person conversation about great books. Such reading and conversation has long been a refuge for the poor, oppressed, and marginalized, and it enriches people from all walks of life.

The Catherine Project offers no credits or degrees. We do not grade the efforts of our participants. We charge no tuition. We encourage donations from our readers in accordance with their ability to pay, as well as from benefactors interested in our mission. We believe that no one’s inability to pay should be an obstacle to their opportunities to learn.

Study with Us

Our offerings are available to adults 16 years or older from all educational backgrounds and walks of life. In reviewing applications to study with us, we look for enthusiasm and fit for an independent and collaborative style of learning.

Bear in mind that we have many more readers who are interested in studying with us than we have the capacity to serve. Please consider studying with us only if you are confident that you can commit to the regular readings and meetings.

Principles
Hospitality
Anyone may study with us who wishes to learn and who has the basic skills necessary for serious reading and conversation. Our conversations are open-ended and not guided toward particular conclusions. Our students, or readers, are understood to be motivated by their own questions. No one’s inability to pay or inability to travel ought to be an obstacle to their opportunities to learn.
Great books

We read books of richness, depth, and lasting value that bear repeated re-readings. Such books teach readers at all levels of preparation, and they level the distance between the teacher and the learner so as to encourage collaboration. With a book as a teacher, each reader develops the ability to inquire in depth and to evaluate evidence by his or her own lights.

Zeal
The desire to learn for its own sake is the primary engine of our work. Accordingly, we prize amateurism. Tutors learn along with our readers and therefore often teach outside of their fields of specialty.
Conversation

We find that conversation is the best way to cultivate free and independent learners. Conversation and reading are the primary vehicles of the learning we offer: writing assignments are subsidiary. Essays help the reader to think and help to focus the conversations that result from it. 

Self-direction
Our courses help readers to develop as free inquirers. We seek to support independent learners, but we also seek to nurture autodidacts: self-directed, courageous, and honest pursuers of learning in all walks of life.
Focus
In light of our commitment to simplicity, egalitarianism, and intellectual focus, readers do not choose tutors, tutors do not choose readers, and members of reading groups do not choose one another. Readers choose a book to read or a course of study.
Seriousness
We go after the deepest and most difficult questions and ask the same of our readers. We do not “dumb down” material.
Flexibility

We seek to meet the human need for serious inquiry with as few arbitrary constraints as possible.