Secondary and university education

Turning to the secondary schools and the teaching of Latin, the similarities between Catholic, Lutheran, Calvinist, and Anglican institutions appear to significantly outweigh the differences. In 1650, all of these institutions shared a similar humanist heritage: from the Schulordnungen or Kirchenordnungen of Philipp MelanchthontoJean Sturm's model gymnasium in Strasbourg, to John Calvin's schools in Geneva and Zwingli's in Zurich - all of which, in turn, drew on the methods established by the Brothers of the Common Life at the end of the fifteenth century. In addition, the Jesuits' Ratio Studiorum (1599) owed much to the modus parisiensis developed within the University of Paris at the beginning of the sixteenth century. On both sides of the confessional boundary one finds the same organization of studies by successive classes, lessons (praelectiones), and exercises (questions, debates, prose imitations); the same use of classical antiquity, in both its rhetoric and its ideals of 'rectitude and virtue', as a basis for the education of the Christian man; the same divisions into smaller groups to maintain order and avoid overcrowded classes; the same competitive emulation (compositions, prizes, public recitations) aimed at enriching school life. The same texts were also studied in the same order (in particular Cicero's Epistles - the model for the Latin essay - along with Virgil and Horace), although Catholics were perhaps more rigorous in eliminating classical authors considered lascivious or obscene. In the Lutheran schools, Terence was seen as one of the most useful authors for Latin conversation, whereas the Company of Jesus usually banned him completely. No doubt Greek was more frequently taught in the Protestant schools than in the Catholic, and indeed, the Greek New Testament was one of the texts most commonly read by the Protestants, second only to Isocrates's Discourses. No doubt also the textbooks used on the two sides of the confessional divide were not precisely the same. But here one must take into account the emerging market in school books with its own specialized authors, booksellers and printers. In Lutheran and Calvinist countries, the Greek and Latin grammar books written by the Dutch scholar Gerhard Johannes Vossius in the early seventeenth century had wide distribution in Holland and northern Germany, as well as in the French Calvinist academies. The Jesuits, for their part, remained loyal either to Father Emmanuel Alvarez's grammar book, often translated into the vernacular, or to the older manual by Despautere, revised and amended by one of the Jesuit fathers. Yet there was a clear tendency towards the standardization of textbooks, either for the sake of simplicity and clarity, or because they were favoured by a particular teaching order. It was above all on the question of

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment