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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Education

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1. Jewish.-The Jews from early times prized education in a measure beyond the nations around them. It was the key to the knowledge of their written Law, the observance of which was required by the whole people without respect of rank or class. They were the people of a Book, and wherever there is a written literature, and that religiously binding, elementary education, at least in the forms of reading and writing, is imperative and indispensable. The rise of the synagogue, and of the order of Scribes in connexion therewith, exercised a powerful influence upon the progress of education among the mass of the people. In the 4th cent. b.c. there was a synagogue in every town, and in the 2nd cent. in every considerable village as well. To the synagogues there were in all probability attached schools, both elementary and higher, and the ḥazzân (‘the attendant,’ Luke 4:20 Revised Version ) may well have been the teacher. The value of education was understood among the Jews before the Christian era. In the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs we read: ‘Do ye also teach your children letters, that they may have understanding all their life, reading unceasingly the Law of God’ (‘Levi,’ xiii. 2). In the Psalms of Solomon the frequent use of παιδεύειν, παιδευτής, and παιδεία (with the significant addition of ῥάσδος, 7:8, and of μάδτιξ, 18:8) points to the existence of schools and of a professional class of teachers. By the Apostolic Age there is abundant evidence of the general diffusion of education among the people. ‘Our principal care of all,’ says Josephus (c. Ap. i. 12), comparing the Jews with other nations, ‘is to educate our children well, and to observe the laws, and we think it to be the most necessary business of our whole life to keep this religion which has been handed down to us.’ Among the Jews every child had to learn to read; scarcely any Jewish children were to be found to whom reading of a written document was strange, and therefore were there so many poor Jewish parents ready to deny themselves the necessaries of life in order to let their children have instruction (c. Ap. ii. 26; cf. B. Strassburger, Gesch. der Erziehung bei den Israeliten, 1885, p. 7). The result of instruction from the earliest years in the home, and of teaching received on the Sabbath, and on the frequent occasions of national festivals, is, according to the Jewish historian, ‘that if anybody do but ask any one of our people about our laws, he could more easily tell them all than he could tell his own name. For because of ear having learned them as soon as ever we became sensible of anything, we have them as it were engraven on our souls’ (c. Ap. ii. 19).

Education began, as Josephus says, ‘with the earliest infancy.’ Philo speaks of Jewish youth ‘being taught, so to speak, from their very swaddling clothes by parents and teachers and inspectors, even before they receive instruction in the holy laws and unwritten customs of their religion, to believe in God the one Father and Creator of the world’ (Legat. ad Gaium, 16). ‘From a babe thou hast known the sacred writings,’ writes St. Paul to Timothy (2 Timothy 3:15), recalling his disciple’s early acquaintance with the OT Scriptures. At the age of six the Jewish boy would go to the elementary school (Bêth ha-Sçpher), but before this he would have received lessons in Scripture from his parents and have learned the Shʿma‘ and the Hallçl, From the sixth to the tenth year he would make a study of the Law, along with writing and arithmetic. At the age of ten he would be admitted to the higher school (Bêth ha-Midrâsh), where he would make the acquaintance of the oral Law, beginning with the Mishna, ‘repetition,’ the oral traditions of the Law. At the age of thirteen he would be acknowledged by a sort of rite of confirmation as a ‘Son of the Commandment’ (Bar-miṣvâh), and from this point his further studies would depend upon the career he was to follow in life. If he was to become a Rabbi, he would continue his studies in the Law, and, as Saul of Tarsus did, betake himself to some famous teacher and sit at his feet as a disciple.

Although schools were thus in existence in connexion with the synagogues, it was not till comparatively late that schools, in the modern sense, for the education of children by themselves, seem to have been instituted (see article ‘Education’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) ). They are said to have been first established by Simon bên-Shetach in the 1st cent. b.c., but this is disputed. However this may be, schools were placed upon a satisfactory and permanent footing by Joshua bên-Gamaliel, who is said to have been high priest from a.d. 63 to 65, and who ordained that teachers of youth should be placed in every town and every village, and that children on arriving at school age should be sent to them for instruction. Of him it is said that if he had not lived, the Law would have perished from Israel. The love of sacred learning and the study of the Law in synagogue and school saved the Jewish people from extinction. When Jerusalem had been destroyed and the Jewish population had been scattered after the disastrous events of a.d. 70, the school accompanied the people into the lands of their dispersion. Jamnia, between Joppa and Ashdod, then became the headquarters of Jewish learning, and retained the position till the unhappy close of Bar Cochba’s rebellion. The learned circle then moved northwards to Galilee, and Tiberias and Sepphoris became seats of Rabbinical training. Wherever the Jews were settled, the family gathering of the Passover, the household instruction as to its origin and history, and the training in the knowledge of the Law, served to knit them together and to intensify their national feeling even in the midst of heathen surroundings.

While the great subject of school instruction was the Law, the work of the elementary school embraced reading, writing, and arithmetic. To make the Jewish boy familiar with the Hebrew characters in every jot and tittle, and to make him able to produce them himself, was the business of the Bêth ha-Sçpher, ‘the House of the Book.’ Reading thus came to be a universal accomplishment among the Jewish people, and it was a necessary qualification where the sacred books were not the exclusive concern of a priestly caste, but were meant to be read and studied in the home as well as read aloud and expounded in the synagogue. The case of Timothy already referred to is evidence of this; and the Scriptures which the Jewish converts of Berœa ‘examined daily’ were no doubt the OT in Greek which they were trained to study for themselves. Writing may not have been so general an accomplishment, but it must also have been in considerable demand. This can be inferred from the numerous copies of the Scripture books which had to be produced; and from the prevalence of tʿphillîn (‘phylacteries’) and mʿzûzôth, little metal cases containing the Shʿma‘, the name of God, and texts of Scripture, fastened to the ‘doorposts’ of Jewish houses, which were in use before the Apostolic Age. The simple rules of arithmetic would be wanted to calculate the weeks, months, and festivals of the Jewish year.

In the higher school, Bêth ha-Midrâsh, ‘the House of Study,’ the contents of the Law and the Books of Scripture as a whole were expounded by the authorities. It is said to have been a rule of the Jewish schools not to allow all and sundry, without regard to age, to read all the books of Holy Scripture, but to give to the young all those portions of Scripture whose literal sense commanded universal acceptance, and only after they had attained the age of twenty-five to allow them to read the whole. Origen lefts of the scruples of the Jewish teachers in regard to the reading of the Song of Solomon by the young (Harnack, Bible Reading in the Early Church, 1912, p. 30f.). But there was no lack of materials for reading and exposition. In course of time there grew up the great and varied literature now contained in the Talmud-the Mishna, the Gemara, and the Midrâshic literature of all sorts-narrative, illustrative, proverbial, parabolic, and allegorical (see I. Abrahams, Short History of Jewish Literature, 1906, ch. iv.; Oesterley and Box, Religion and Worship of the Synagogue2, 1911, ch. v.).

In the school the children sat on the floor in a circle round the teacher, who occupied a chair or bench (Luke 2:46; Luke 10:39, Acts 22:3). The method of instruction was oral and catechetical. In the schools attached to the synagogues of Eastern Judaism to this day, committing to memory and learning by rote are the chief methods of instruction, and the clamour of infant and youthful voices is heard repeating verses and passages of Scripture the whole school day. This kind of oral repetition and committing to memory undoubtedly occupied a large place in the earliest Christian teaching, and had an important influence in the composition of the gospel narratives. The purpose of St. Luke in writing his Gospel was that Theophilus might know more fully the certainty of the things concerning Jesus wherein he had been instructed (κατηχήθης) (Luke 1:4). Apollos having been thus instructed in the way or the Lord (Acts 18:25) taught with accuracy the facts concerning Jesus. But whilst the method had great advantages, it had also great dangers, tending to crush out all originality and life, and to result in barren formalism.

In the education of the Jewish boy, punishment, we may be sure, was not withheld. The directions of the Book of Proverbs, which is itself a treasury of sound educational principles, were carried out not only in the home but in the school (Proverbs 12:24; Proverbs 19:18; Proverbs 23:13). St. Paul, addressing a self-righteous Jew, exposes the inconsistency of the man who professes to be a guide of the blind (ὀδηγὸν τυφλῶν), a corrector of the foolish (παιδευτὴν ἀφρόνων), and a teacher of infants (διδάσκαλον νηπίων), and yet does not know the inwardness of the Law (Romans 2:19 f.).

Games had some part in the life of Jewish schoolboys. One game consisted in imitating their elders at marriages and funerals (Matthew 11:16 f.). Riddles and guesses seem to have been common, and story-telling, music, and song were not wanting. But when, under the influence of Antiochus Epiphanes, a gymnasion for the athletic performances of the Greeks was set up in Jerusalem and the youth of the city were required to strip themselves of their clothing, it became a grievous cause of offence to the pious among the people (1 Maccabees 1:11 ff.). See art ‘Games’ in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) .

Whilst the education of Jewish youth on the theoretical side centred in the Law and was calculated to instil piety towards God, no instruction was complete without the knowledge of some trade or handicraft. To circumcise him, to teach him the Law, to give him a trade, were the primary obligations of a father towards his son. ‘He that teacheth not his son a trade doeth the same as if he taught him to be a thief,’ is a Jewish saying. Jesus Himself was the carpenter (Mark 6:3), and Saul of Tarsus, the scholar of Gamaliel, was a tent-maker (Acts 18:3). We hear of Rabbis who were needle-makers, tanners, and followed other occupations, and who, like St. Paul, made it their boast that their own hands ministered to their necessities and to them that accompanied them (Acts 20:34).

The education of the Jewish youth began at home, and the parents were the first instructors. Of a noted teacher of the 2nd cent. a.d. it was said that he never broke his fast until he had first given a lesson to his son. But in due course the children were sent to school, in Rabbinic times apparently under the protection of a pœdagogue, better known, however, in Greek family life (Galatians 3:24). The teacher was required to be a man of unblemished character, of gentle and patient disposition, with aptness to teach. Only married men could be employed as teachers. Women and unmarried men were excluded from the office. The office itself was full of honour: ‘A city which neglects to appoint teachers ought to be destroyed,’ runs the saying. One teacher was to be employed where there were 25 scholars (with an assistant where the number exceeded 25), and two where they exceeded 40. In the 2nd and 3rd centuries of the Christian era teachers received salaries, but the remuneration was in respect of the more technical part of the instruction. Nothing was to be charged for the Midrâsh, the exposition of Scripture.

The girls in Jewish families were not by any means left without instruction. The women of the household, like Eunice, the mother, and Lois, the grandmother, of Timothy (2 Timothy 1:5), who at least influenced the boys, would have a more active part in the instruction of the girls. This means that they were not themselves left without education. The example of Priscilla, the wife of Aquila, shows that a Jewess (who did not owe all her training to Christianity) might be possessed of high gifts and attainments (Acts 18:26). In the Talmud similar instances of gifted and accomplished women are to be found. One of the most notable features in what is known as the Reform movement in modern Judaism is the earnestness with which its adherents insist upon the mere general and the higher education of women.

Literature.-Relevant articles in J. Hamburger, Real-Encyclopädie für Bibel und Talmud2, 1884ff. S. S. Laurie, Hist. Survey of pre-Christian Education, 1895; ‘The Semitic Races’; A. Büchler, The Economic Conditions of Judœa after the Destruction of the Second Temple, 1912 article ‘Education (Jewish)’ by Morris Joseph in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics v. [1912] 194, and Literature there cited.

2. Greek.-Among the Greeks education was the affair of the State. Its purpose was to prepare the sons of free citizens for the duties awaiting them, first in the family and then in the State. Whilst among the Jews education was meant for all, without respect of rank or class, among the Greeks it was intended for the few-the wealthy and the well-born. Plutarch in his treatise on the education of children says: ‘Some one may object that I in undertaking to give prescriptions in the training of children of free citizens apparently neglect the training of the poor townsmen, and only think of instructing the rich-to which the obvious answer is that I should desire the training I prescribe to be attainable alike by all; but if any through want of private means cannot attain it, let them blame their fortune and not their adviser. Every effort, however, must be made even by the poor to train their children in the best possible way, and if this is beyond them to do it according to their means’ [de Lib. Educ. ii.). Down to the Roman period at least, this educational exclusiveness was maintained, and only the sons of those who were full citizens were the subjects of education, although there were cases in which daughters rose to distinction in letters, and even examples of slaves, like the philosopher Epictetus, who burst the restraints of their position and showed themselves capable of rising to eminence in learning and virtue. We even read of bequests being made to provide free education to children of both sexes, but the rule was that women needed no more instruction than they were likely to receive at home. Being an affair of the State, education was under the control of officials appointed to superintend it. Gymnastic, for the training of the body, and music in the larger sense, including letters, for the training of the mind, were the subjects of instruction. These-athletics, literature, music-were regulated by a body of guardians of public instruction (παιδονόμοι.) We hear of an Ephebarch at the head of a college of ἔφηβοι, or youths who have entered the higher school, and of a Gymnasiarch who superintends the exercises of the παλαίστρα and pays the training-masters.

The stages of education were practically the same in all the different branches of the wide-spread Grecian people. First, there was the stage of home education, extending from birth to the end of the seventh year, when the children were under parental supervision; second, the stage of school education, beginning with the eighth year and lasting to the sixteenth or eighteenth year; thirdly, there was the stage from the sixteenth or eighteenth to the twenty-first year, when the youths were ἔφηβοι, and were subjected to strict discipline and training. Before a youth was enrolled among the ἔφηβοι he had to undergo an examination (δοκιμασία) to make sure that he was the son of an Athenian citizen and that he had the physique for the duties now devolving upon him. This was really the university stage of his career, for he then attended the class of the rhetors and sophists who lectured in such institutions as the Lyceum and the Academy, and devoted himself to the study of rhetoric and philosophy (cf. Acts 19:9). On the completion of this course he was ready to enter upon the exercise of his duties towards the State.

When the boy, at the age of seven, went to school-the grammar school and the gymnastic school-he was accompanied by a servant called a παιδαγωγός who carried his books and writing materials, his lyre and other instruments, and saw him to school and back (see Schoolmaster, Tutor). The school-rooms of ancient Athens seem to have been simple enough, containing little or no furniture-they were often nothing but porches open to wind and sun, where the children sat on the ground, or on low benches, and the teacher on a high chair. At first the child would be exercised in ‘the rudiments,’ τὰ στοιχεῖα (cf. Colossians 2:8 and Xen. Mem. II. i. 1). Great stress was laid upon reading, recitation, and singing. In particular, the memory was exercised upon the best literature, and cultivated to an extraordinary degree of retentiveness. The works of aesop and Theognis were much in use in the class-rooms. Homer was valued not merely as a poet but as an inspired moral teacher, and the Iliad and Odyssey were the Bible of the Greeks. Great pains were also taken with the art of writing. Tablets covered with wax formed the material to receive the writing, and the stylus was employed to trace the letters. By apostolic times papyrus or parchment was in use, written upon with pen (κάλαμος) and ink (μέλαν) (2 John 1:12, 3 John 1:13; cf. 2 Corinthians 3:3 and 2 Timothy 4:13). Sherds (ὄστρακα) were a common writing material-that used by the very poor in ancient Egypt. Exercises in writing and in grammar have been preserved to us in the soil of Egypt written on ostraca, on wooden tablets, on tablets smeared over with wax, and have now been recovered to let us see the performances of the school children of twenty centuries ago. Among them are school copies giving the letters of the alphabet, Syllables, common words and proper names, conjugation of verbs, pithy or proverbial sayings as headlines, and there are even exercises having the appearance of being school punishments (E. Ziebarth, Aus der antiken Schule, 1910, in Lietzmann’s Kleine Texte).

The mention of school punishments leads to the subject of school discipline. At home, at school, and in the palaestra, the rod and the lash were freely used. It is from school life, both Jewish and Greek, that St. Paul, as noted already, derives the imagery of a well-known passage in his Epistles (Romans 2:17-21). In the Psalms of Solomon, a Jewish book written under Greek influence, there is reference both to the rod (ῥάβδος, 7:8) and to the lash (μάστιξ, 18:8) as instruments of punishment; and ‘chastening,’ ‘correction’ (παιδεία), occurs again and again in this sense (Ephesians 6:4, 2 Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 12:11; cf. Didache, 4).

‘We are given over to grammar,’ says Sextus Empiricus (adv. Math. i. 41), ‘from childhood, and almost from our baby-clothes.’ Grammar was succeeded by rhetoric, which had accomplished its purpose when the student had acquired the power of speaking offhand on any subject under discussion. In addition to these subjects, philosophy was also taught, its technical terms being mastered and its various schools discriminated. Arithmetic, geometry, astronomy belonged to the programme of secondary education, and from Plato and Aristotle there have come down to us the seven liberal arts-the trivium and the quadrivium of the Middle Ages. All the while gymnastic training went hand in hand with the training of the intellect. The gymnasion, where the youths of Greece exercised themselves naked, was enclosed by walls and fitted up with dressing-rooms, bath-rooms, and requisites for running, leaping, wrestling, boxing, and other athletic exercises, and there were seats round about the course for spectators, and porticoes where philosophers gathered.

By the Apostolic Age it had become the practice for promising students to supplement their school education by seeking out and attending the lectures of eminent teachers in what we should call the great universities. Roman Emperors like Claudius and Nero had done much to encourage Greek culture and to introduce it into Rome itself, where the Athenaeum was a great centre of learning. At this epoch Athens and Rome had famous schools, but even they had to yield to Rhodes, Alexandria, and Tarsus; and Marseilles, which had been from the very early days of Greek history a centre of Greek influence, was in the time of Strabo more frequented than Athens. The idea that Barnabas of Cyprus and Saul of Tarsus had met in early life at the university of Tarsus is by no means fanciful, and it was to his education at Tarsus that St. Paul owed the power to ‘move in Hellenic Society at his ease’ (W. M. Ramsay, Pictures of the Apostolic Church, 1910, p. 346). That St. Luke had received a medical education and was familiar with the great medical writers of the Greek world is now almost universally admitted; his literary style and the frequent echoes of Greek authors, at least in the Acts of the Apostles, prove him to have been a well-educated and cultured Hellenist. Of the various philosophic schools then exercising an influence upon thought in the Greek world two are expressly mentioned in the Acts (17:18)-the Stoics and the Epicureans. St. Paul must have received Stoic teaching at Tarsus, where the school flourished, and he knew and quoted at least one Stoic poet (Acts 17:28). A century later Marcus Aurelius endowed the four great philosophical schools of Athens-the Academic, the Peripatetic, the Epicurean, and the Stoic. Justin Martyr, a little earlier, in the account he gives of his conversion to Christianity (Dial. cum Tryph. 2ff.), shows how the representatives of the Stoic, the Peripatetic, the Pythagorean, and the Academic (Platonic) Schools in turn failed to satisfy his yearning after truth, and satisfaction came to him when he found Christianity to be the only philosophy sure and suited to the needs of man. Christianity, brought into contact with the society in which this philosophical habit of mind had established itself, modified, stimulated, and elevated it, and in turn was modified by the habit of mind of those who accepted it. ‘It was impossible for Greeks, educated as they were with an education which penetrated their whole nature, to receive or to retain Christianity in its primitive simplicity. Their own life had become complex and artificial: it had its fixed ideas and its permanent categories: it necessarily gave to Christianity something of its own form’ (E. Hatch, Influence of Greek Ideas and Usages upon the Christian Church [Hibbert Lectures, 1888], 1890, ch. ii. p. 48f.).

Literature.-T. Davidson, Aristotle (in Great Educators), 1892; S. S. Laurie, Hist. Survey of Pre-Christian Education, 1895: ‘The Hellenic Race’; J. P. Mahaffy, The Greek World under Roman Sway, 1890; article ‘Education (Greek)’ by W. Murison in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics v. 185 and Literature there cited.

3. Christian.-The sentiment which caused education to be so prized among the Jews must in course of time have caused it to be greatly desired among the followers of Christ. To the first Christians, as to the Lord and His apostles, the OT Scriptures were the Bible, and, outside the Holy Land at least, the Bible in the Septuagint translation. No doubt it was a roll of this translation which the Ethiopian eunuch was carrying back with him to his home far up the Nile, when Philip the Evangelist joined him in his chariot on the Gaza road (Acts 8:27 ff.). It was the same Scriptures wherein the youthful Timothy was instructed from infancy in the home of his Greek father, under the guidance of Eunice and Lois (2 Timothy 3:15). St. Paul, in the many quotations he makes from the OT, quotes from the Septuagint rather than from the Hebrew original. ‘The Septuagint was to him as much “the Bible” as our English version is to us; and, as is the case with many Christian writers, he knew it so well that his sentences are constantly moulded by its rhythm, and his thoughts incessantly coloured by its expressions’ (Farrar, St. Paul, 1879, i. 47). It was not till the second half of the 2nd cent. that most of the NT books were recognized in the Church as the Oracles of God, and on the same level of authority as the books of the OT. ‘Among the Jewish Christians,’ as Harnack points out, ‘the private use of the Holy Scriptures simply continued; for the fact that they had become believers in the Messiahship of Jesus had absolutely no other effect than to increase this use, in so far as it was now necessary to study not only the Law but also the Prophets and the Kethubim, seeing that these afforded prophetic proofs of the Messiah-ship of Jesus, and in so far as the religious independence of the individual Christian was still greater than that of the ordinary Jew’ (Bible Reading in the Early Church, p. 32).

That the private study which had been devoted to the OT came in due course to be given to the books of the NT may be seen from the use of them in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. The OT, the Gospels, and the Epistles of St. Paul had a wide circulation at an early period, in all the provinces of the early Church, and were perused and applied to their spiritual needs by multitudes of Christians, not clerical only, but lay; not men only, but women. ‘Ye know the Holy Scriptures,’ writes Clement of Rome to the Corinthian Christians (1 Clem. liii. 1), ‘Yea, your knowledge is laudable, and ye have deep insight into the Oracles of God.’ ‘What are these articles in your hand bag?’ asks the proconsul Saturninus when examining Speratus, one of the band of Scillitan martyrs in N. Africa. ‘The books and epistles of St. Paul,’ was the reply (Texts and Studies i. 2 [1891], p. 114). The feeling grew and spread that it was at once a privilege and a duty thus to make acquaintance with the meaning and teaching of Holy Scripture. In Asia Minor and in Gaul, in Syria and Egypt, this feeling prevailed. Men like Justin Martyr, Tatian, Theophilus of Antioch, became Christians-such is their own acknowledgment-by reading the Scriptures for themselves. By and by wealthy Christians had Bibles copied at their own expense to be given or lent to their poorer brethren. Pamphilus, the friend of Eusebius, whose library at Caesarea was famous, had Bibles copied to keep in stock and to be given away as occasion demanded, ‘not only to men but also to women whom he saw devoted to the reading of Scripture’ (Jerome, Apol. c. Rufin. i. 9).

All this intellectual activity devoted to the study of the Scriptures implies throughout the early Church a considerable level of educational attainment. That many of the poorest and least educated found in Christ and His teaching the satisfaction of their deepest needs is manifest from the NT itself (1 Corinthians 1:26 ff.), and Celsus sought to discredit the Christian system by aspersing the intellectual as well as the moral character of its adherents. Origen in answer points to the passages of the OT, especially in the Psalms, which the Christians also use, which inculcate wisdom and understanding, and declares that education, so far from being despised among the Christians, is the pathway to virtue and knowledge, the one stable and permanent reality (c. Cels. iii. 49, 72). We must not suppose, however, that the Church of the first days took any steps to provide schools and an educational system of her own. Members of the Christian community had no alternative but to send their sons to the schools of their localities to receive instruction along with scholars who were heathen and accustomed to the usages and customs, the superstitions and fables, often corrupt and unclean, of paganism. Although the Fathers of the Church did not permit their youth to become instructors in pagan schools, they did not consider it wise to deny them the advantages of a liberal education, even though associated with falsehood and idolatry. If they had forbidden their attendance they would have justly incurred the charges made by Celsus of hostility to learning. Christian parents made a virtue of necessity, which Tertullian approves, only recommending Christian pupils to accept the good and reject the bad (de Idolatria, x.).

Scarcely less pressing and even more difficult was the question of the propriety of studying the productions of the great pagan writers. Among those who took the liberal view was Justin Martyr, who held that ‘those who lived with Logos are Christians, even if they were accounted atheists: of whom among Greeks were Socrates and Heraclitus’ (Apol. i. 46). Clement of Alexandria was conspicuously broad in his Christian sympathies, and his quotations from classical writers have preserved to us fragments of authors whose works have otherwise perished. Others, like Cyprian, drew a sharp dividing line between pagan philosophy and Christian doctrine.

But though the circumstances of the times rendered separate Christian elementary instruction impossible and inadvisable in the early Church, the Church was not indifferent to the Christian instruction of her members. Foremost among the members belonging to the Body of Christ are ‘teachers,’ mentioned along with ‘apostles’ and ‘prophets’ (1 Corinthians 12:28). Elsewhere they are classed with ‘pastors’ (Ephesians 4:11). Among the gifts that minister to the upbuilding of the social fabric of Christianity is ‘teaching’ (Romans 12:7). Power to teach was a qualification which Timothy was charged to look for in the bishops whom he should appoint (1 Timothy 3:2), and he was told that the servant of the Lord in any office must have aptness to teach (2 Timothy 2:24). The teacher as a separate functionary seems early to have disappeared from the Church, his functions being absorbed by the more official presbyter or bishop (q.v. [Note: quod vide, which see.] ), who was always required to be able to teach (Charteris, The Church of Christ, p. 32). The need, however, for institutions for higher instruction in the things of Christ came to be felt early, Out of the training of the candidates for baptism grew the catechetical schools in great centres of pagan learning. The first and most notable of them was the catechetical school of Alexandria, of which Pantaenus was the founder, and Clement and Origen were the most distinguished ornaments. This was the counterpart of the pagan university, offering to philosophic pagans an academic and articulated view of the Christian system, and to earnest Christians of intellectual gifts and tastes training for the offices of preachers and teachers. Gregory Thaumaturgus commends Origen as having taught him philosophy, logic, mathematics, general literature, and ethics as the ground-work of theological training, after which he proceeded to the exposition of the sacred Scriptures. Under Clement and Origen the school was great and prosperous, and schools at Caesarea, Jerusalem, and elsewhere were founded upon its model.

The share which woman had in the work of Christian education apart from her influence and work in the home is not made clear in the records of Church history. In the Syriac Didascalia Apostolorum, however, translated by Mrs. M. D. Gibson (1903), we have an official document of the 3rd cent. directing the deaconesses to assist in the baptism of women, to teach and educate them afterwards, and to visit and nurse the sick.

Literature.-A. Harnack, Bible Reading in the Early Church, 1912; A. H. Charteris, The Church of Christ, 1905, under ‘Education’ and ‘Teachers’; P. Monroe, Text-Book in the History of Education, 1905; article ‘Bible in the Church’ by E. von Dobschütz in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics ii. 579.

Thomas Nicol.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Education'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdn/e/education.html. 1906-1918.

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