religious instruction that major distinctions between Catholic and Protestant schools appeared
In their development the Latin schools, the colleges and the gymnasia were all fundamentally linked to the growth of territorial churches and the modern state. Following the devastation of the Thirty Years' War, the German Protestant princes hoped to revive Christian teaching in order to re-establish religious order and guarantee social and political stability. The education of their subjects also became an important priority as a means of supplying the administrative workforce needed by both state and church. The restoration of the Latin schools occurred particularly under the impetus and authority of the territorial churches, where local or central consistories took responsibility for the organization and good governance of the schools. Nevertheless, following the concept of Christian sovereignty the prince himself might also order a general inspection ofthe schools within his territory - as in Saxe-Gotha in 1642 or in the Duchy of Brunswick after 1648. From this increased surveillance and the consequent inspection reports, we can perceive the fundamental importance of the religious apprenticeship in the Latin schools. Such schools clearly played an active role in the lives of the local churches. Much school time was devoted to hymns, and particularly to the singing of psalms. Indeed, the second most important position in a Latin school was generally that of the cantor, who conducted the choir both in religious services in the church and in burial ceremonies, where pupils escorted and solemnified the procession from the deceased's house to the cemetery. In addition to Sundays and religious festivals, pupils attended church two or three times a week to sing, pray, and listen to sermons; and took communion four times a year, after having asked forgiveness of their sins before the school rector, who implored them to correct their lives. Protestant Latin schools differed from the Catholic less in the rote-learning of the catechism in the vernacular (this also happened in Jesuit schools, where pupils memorized the Catechismus minimus or minor by Pierre Canisius) than in the reading of passages from the Bible: Proverbs or Ecclesiastes for younger pupils; chapters from the gospels or the Old Testament for the older ones. Pupils memorized extracts and transcribed them into special copy books. Other works such as Sebastien Castellion's Dialogorum sacrorum ad linguam simul et mores puerorum libri quatuor would complete the pupil's biblical instruction.
The penetration of religion was equally pervasive in the Catholic schools. Interpretations of dogma in the catechism alternated with interpretations of the mysteries celebrated during the liturgical year: taught by the Jesuits in the vernacular in the earlier grades and then in Latin. Inevitably, emphasis was
Was this article helpful?