I recently wrote about the revival of classical education, which has its origins in the Middle Ages, and how it is being used today by many American homeschoolers. That form of education not only served the needs of those living in the Middle Ages, but has been used throughout the centuries very effectively in training the mind. It was based on an understanding of the power of the human brain to successfully deal with the realities of life.
Its main emphasis has been on literacy and the uses of the mind through logic, rhetoric, memorization, scholarship, Bible study, and learning the languages of the Scripture: Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. Indeed, when Harvard College was founded by Calvinist Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636, its purpose was to provide the new colony with a learned clergy. Thus, Latin, Greek, and Hebrew were part of the curriculum, and John Calvin was upheld as the model of the Christian scholar. His Institutes of the Christian Religion was considered the ultimate masterpiece of Christian biblical scholarship.
The Founding Fathers of America were products of that form of education. But in those days, after the great Reformation, the emphasis was on knowledge of the Holy Scripture and the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Settling in the wilderness of North America and free to create a purer Christian civilization from the ground up, their aim in studying the ancient world was to retrieve the wisdom of the past. This enabled them to formulate a philosophy of government like no other in history. It is summed up eloquently in just 55 words in the Declaration of Independence:
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Sam Blumenfeld (photo)