One nice benefit is that Thornton sometimes points towards fields that overlap with the classics. For example, students of American history will find it important to read the classical authors who influenced the founders of the United States and their ideas about government and liberty, which include but are hardly limited to Demosthenes and Polybius. Similarly, by studying the classics Christians will find a great deal of material which provides a context for reading the scriptures, which were penned in the classical world. An example would be Aristotle’s treatment of hamartia in his Poetics, the word that New Testament authors use for the idea of sin. Christians will find it beneficial to contrast and compare the pagan and Christian understandings of sin.
The book comes in a series published by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute called ISI Guides to Major Disciplines, which are “reader-friendly introductions to the most important fields of knowledge in the liberal arts” (back cover). The “Guides” are part of ISI’s Student Self-Reliance Project, which is “an integrated, sequential program of educational supplements designed to guide students in making key decisions that will enable them to acquire an appreciation of the accomplishments of Western civilization” (91). Their web resources provide information on shaping a personal curriculum for self-study along with information on choosing the best colleges for studying the liberal arts. It looks to be quite helpful material.