Page images
PDF
EPUB

This Rabbinical education, however, as has been already expressed, had not the same character in all schools. It depended essentially upon the peculiar mental habit of the instructor. Even in the first centuries after Christ, as well as in later periods, we find three classes of Jewish teachers. The first class had an inclination to the spiritless and literal; the second class to a freer and more soul-inoving style, like that of the Old Testament, a style in which the interest in the moral was predominant; and the third adopted the style of mystical theosophy. We always conceive of a Jewish scribe,as one who adheres to the dead letter, and who is also probably, a hypocrite. The opposite might be learned, with sufficient clearness, from Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea.

Jewish Schools.—The priests and Levites were sometimes teachers of the Jewish people; but they were not, under the Mosaic dispensation, teachers of schools. The prophets, more nearly than the priests, resembled clergymen at the present day. At stated seasons, as the exigency of the times required, they became teachers, instructors extraordinary. The school of Samuel is supposed by Eichhorn to have been merely a thing of accident or inclination; by Rosenmüller, an institution for national culture, (he compares Samuel with Orpheus); by Nachtigall, a political institution ; by De Wette, a school probably for the education of prophetic poets or speakers. See 1 Sam. 10: 5-11. 19: 18–24. 2 Kings 4: 23.

Synagogues were sometimes called schools by the Jews. Care was taken, however, to make a distinction between the synagogues and the schools properly so called. In these the Talmud was read, while the Law merely was read in the synagogues ; and the Talmud was supposed to be much superior to the Law. During the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, there were no buildings for synagogues in Palestine, though there were in foreign countries. They were first erected in Palestine under the Maccabean princes. They were built in imitation of the temple. In the centre of the synagogue-court was a chapel, supported by four columns, in which, on an elevation prepared for it, was placed the Book of the Law, rolled up. This, on the appointed days, was publicly read. The uppermost seats in the synagogue, i. e. those which were near

fies

rinces. the synwhich one Law, "The der

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

est the chapel where the sacred books were kept, were esteemed peculiarly honorable, Matt. 23: 6. James 2: 3.There was a school in every town, where children were taught to read the law. If any town neglected to establish such a school, the inhabitants were excommunicated till one was provided. The students were termed sons or children. The teachers, at least some of them, had private lecture. rooms; but they also taught and disputed in synagogues, in temples, and wherever they could find an audience. The method of instruction was the same with that which prevail ed among the Greeks. Any disciple, who chose, might propose questions, upon which it was the duty of teachers to remark and give their opinions, Luke 1: 46. The teachers were not invested with their functions by any formal act of the church or of the civil authority. They were self-constituted. They received no other salary than a voluntary present from the disciples, a kind of honorarium, 1 Tim. 5: 17. They acquired a subsistence in the main by the exercise of some art or handicraft. According to the Talmudists, they were bound to abstain from all conversation with women, and to refuse to sit at table with the lower class of people, Matt. 9: 11. John 4: 27. The subjects on which they taught were numerous, commonly intricate, and frequently very trifling. There are numerous examples of these subjects in the Talmud.

The Midrashoth' were a kind of divinity schools, in which the law was expounded. Such were the schools of Hillel and Gamaliel; also, those which were subsequently established at Jabneh, Tsipporis, Tiberias, Magdala, Caesarea, etc. Rabbi Jochanan, who compiled the Jerusalem Talmud, was president of one of these schools eighty years.

The whole Sanhedrim, in its sessions, was the great school of the nation, as well as the highest judicatory. It set forth the sense of the law, especially in practical matters, and expounded Moses with such authority, that its word was not to be resisted or even questioned. A school was maintained wherever the Sanhedrim held its session.

A sort of Academic degree was conferred on the pupils in the Jewish seminaries, which, after the destruction of Jerusalem, were established at Babylon and Tiberias. The candidate was examined both in respect to his moral and literary character. Having passed his examination satisfactorily,

[ocr errors]

he ascended an elevated seat, Matt. 23: 2; a writing tablet was then presented to him, to signify that he should write down his acquisitions, since they might escape from his memory, and unless they were written down, would be lost. A key was presented to signify, that he might now open the treasures of knowledge, Luke 11: 52. Hands were laid upon him ; a custom derived from Num. 27; 28. A certain authority was conferred on him, probably to be exercised over his own disciples. Finally, he was saluted with the title of Rabbi, or Master.

MISCELL A NIES.

EDUCATIONAL CONVENTION IN VERMONT. “Pursuant to notice, a meeting of friends of education in Windsor County was held in this village, last week, commencing on Tuesday, (March 13, 1839,) at 10 o'clock, A. M., and ending on Wednesday about 4 o'clock, P. M.

Hon. Horace Everett was elected President; E. C. Tracy, Secretary; and Rev. J. Tracy, of Boston, Rev. J. Richards, and Dr. Edward E. Phelps, a Business Committee.

The first day was chiefly devoted to preparatory measures, the introduction and reference of important subjects, with occasional discussions, &c.

In the evening, Hon. Jacob Collamer delivered a Lecture before the Convention and a full audience, on Legislation in regard to common schools. The Lecturer first gave a sketch of what had been done, in this and other countries, in the way of legal enactment to promote popular education, and then stated, briefly, what in his opinion ought to be done. Two facts deduced from the historical inquiry are worthy of special attention :

1. That efforts for the promotion of popular education have originated in and been sustained by religious considerations and motives.

2. That common schools receive their origin and improvement from the influence of higher schools and Colleges.

On Wednesday, reports were received from the Committees previously appointed, and the following Resolutions were adopted :

[ocr errors][merged small]

Resolved, that the interest of the Surplus Revenue, instead of being used to diminish the taxes merely, ought to be employed for the improvement of Common Schools, either by providing better houses; by purchasing libraries and apparatus ; by establishing model schools; by keeping up a school of a bigh character in each town for the whole year; by continuing the several district schools for a greater part of the year than now; or in such other way as the several towns and districts may judge expedient.

[The income received annually in the several towos is sufficient to secure, if wisely appropriated, very important improvements. And it was thought to be obviously the intention of the Legislature that the money should be so used as to benefit our common schools. If added, as is the case generally so far as the Convention was informed, to the other funds devoted to schools, it only goes to diminish taxes, without the least benefit to the schools themselves. It is only an indirect, circuitous, and expensive way of getting the money into the pockets of tax-payers. It is distributed to individuals in proportion to each man's Grand List. The same ultimate result that we now have, would have been obtained by keeping the money in the State treasury and appropriating the income to State expenses. The difference consists in the troul and expense of getting the money distributed into the pockets of the people, and then getting it out again, and into the State treasury,—the point where its fruitless circuit began. Surely we are not to cbarge upon the Legisature such folly as this. We must suppose that the intention of the law was, to appropriate the money to the schools, for thcir benefit ; and not to those who pay school taxes, the mass of it to the rich, with a penny or two to the poor.]

Resolved, That this Convention regard with peculiar interest those institutions in which particular attention is paid to the qualification of teachers for Common Schools, and that we cordially recomiend to our community such institutions, as especially deserving of patronage.

[This resolution drew forth a very interesting debate. It was considered in connection with the subject of Normal Schools, and the whole business of obtaining a supply of qualified teachers thus came up. The conclusion was, that we must depend on substantially the same sources of supply that we now do.

Judge Collamer, Rev. J. Tracy, and Hon. H. Everett took a prominent part in the discussion. It was argued that there could be no science of teaching distinct from the science taught; that the great object should be to have teachers understand what the pupils. want to learn ; and that the success of schools for teachers—so far as they succeed at all-consists in the thorough mastery that the pupils are made to get, of what they are to teach. As to management, government, &c., and the particular way of leading the pupil on,such things must be left to each one's good sense and tact, aided, perhaps, by two or three lectures at the outset, which might be given at any of our academies and colleges. .

I was thought that Seminaries for the education of professional teachers of common schools are not all adapted to our present wants. We are not prepared to support them. What, for instance, would the people of Windsor think of raising salaries for seyenteen ministers of the Gospel, in addition to the present number? Yet that, so far as regards expense, is what the plan of professional teachers would demand. It is better, too, that our common schools should be in the charge of young men who are animated by high hopes and a spirit of personal improvement. They will communicate something of their own enthusiasm.

Attention was also invited to the difference between our condition and that of European countries, the example of which, had been often adduced in connection with this subject,-Prussia, for instance. There the teacher was educated for his business, and fixed in it for life by the strong arm of Government. Here, instead of that, there is all liberty and every encouragement for every man to aim at bettering his condition by changing his employment. We had, it was said, one institution for the education of teachers,—the Military Academy at West Point. The pupils were obliged to teach (i. e. remain in the public service) for a term of years after leaving the Academy; but it was found that they were eager to avail themselves of every opportunity to enter other business that might hold out better prospects. Men could not be fixed in any cniployment among us; and this fact must be considered in our plans and arrangement. We must remember it when we would institute comparisons between this and other countries.]

Resolved, That we recommend the introduction into our Common Schools, of branches higher and more numerous than those now customarily taught, so far as can be done by adopting elementary works of history and science, as books of reading lessons.

[There was also a good deal of discussion on this subject. No little hesitation was felt in regard to adopting the Resolution in any shape, for fear that it might give some countenance to a disposition prevalent in many cases, to take up higher branches of study to the neglect of the common primary elements. These last were unanimously regarded as one of the utmost importance, and the most

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »