Basic Structure of The Education of the Human Race

The Education of the Human Race is a small book of precisely one hundred paragraphs. The first fifty-three paragraphs, forming one section of the "Editor's Counterpropositions," are presented as a "foretaste" (Vorschmack).14 The remaining forty-seven paragraphs were added when The Education of the Human Race was published in book form. By slightly modifying Martha Waller's structural divisions,15 we can divide the book into six main parts, some with several subdivisions. The six parts and their subdivisions are as follows:16

A. Editor's Preface

B. Basic Theses Concerning the Relationship between Revelation and Education (§ §1—5)

1. The Jews before the Babylonian Captivity (§ §8-33)

2. The Jews after the Babylonian Captivity (§ §34—50)

b) The Beginning of the Doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul (§ §42-46)

c) The Old Testament Scriptures as the First Primer (§ §47-50)

2. The Person and Teaching of the Christ (§ §58-61)

4. The New Testament Scriptures as the Second, Better Primer (§ §64—67)

5. Demonstrations that the Doctrines of the New Testament Are Rational (§ §68-75)

a) References to Doctrines Already Proved to be Rational (§ §68-72)

b) Demonstration that Doctrines Regarded as Suprarational Are Actually Rational (§ §73-75)

(c) The Doctrine of Redemption (§75)

F. "A New Eternal Gospel" for the Third Age (§ §76-100)

1. Transition: The Significance of Developing Revealed Truths into Rational Truths (§ §76-80)

2. Ethics of the "Eternal Gospel" (§ §81-86)

3. Comments on the Enthusiasts of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries (§ §87-90)

4. The "Eternal Gospel" and the Idea of Reincarnation (§ §91-100)

a) Faith in Providence as the Basis for the Idea of Reincarnation (§ §91-93)

b) Hypotheses for Reincarnation (§ §94-100)

No matter how the one hundred paragraphs are divided, what is of crucial importance is the basic thesis, contained in the first few paragraphs, concerning the relationship between revelation and education. (It should be noted that the theses on these topics, in addition to being hypotheses, are also antitheses!) The remaining paragraphs are merely illustrations or applications of the basic thesis with regard to Jewish history in the Old Testament age and to Christian history in the New Testament age.

Because assertions in later paragraphs depend on the basic assertions of the first few paragraphs, we must focus our energies on analysis of these basic assertions. Before doing so, however, we should first give attention to the epigraph placed at the beginning of the book and also to the "Editor's Preface," both of which were added when all paragraphs had been finished and the book was about to be published. They provide, in our view, an important perspective from which to understand the book correctly.

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