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KarenG

Reading the classical educators

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Because I'm interested in classical education, I try not to let all my reading about education be from the 20th century or even more recent. It used to be really hard to find the old texts, but one of the wonderful things about the internet is the access we have to out-of- print texts. What pre-20th century classical educators have you read? Or do you want to read? Or are currently reading? (I'm really fishing for suggestions.) I'm currently wrestling with Culture and Anarchy by Matthew Arnold. I actually have a special fondness for the wordy Victorians, but this is unusually dense. Just for fun, here is one sentence I marked:

Quote

The scope of the essay is to recommend culture as the great help out of our present difficulties; culture being a pursuit of our total perfection by means of getting to know, on all the matters which most concern us, the best which has been thought and said in the world, and, through this knowledge, turning a stream of fresh and free thought upon our stock notions and habits, which we now follow staunchly but mechanically, vainly imagining that there is a virtue in following them staunchly which makes up for the mischief of following them mechanically.

Anyone else want to share a bit from what you're reading?

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Plutarch's "Demosthenes" has some interesting thoughts on education drawn from his study habits. Also, you probably already know/have this, but The Great Tradition by Richard Gamble is a very good anthology of ideas about education through the ages.

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I'll add a few classical period texts that are about education:

Isocrates' Antidosis

Plato's Republic

Quintilian's Institutes of Oratory

Tacitus' Dialogue on Orators provides good context on education after the Roman Republic has collapsed.

A couple of good historical sources that are helpful to know what the classic period education looked like are:

Education in Ancient Rome by Stanley F. Bonner

Education in Antiquity by H. I. Marrou

Rhetoric in Greco-Roman Education by Donald L. Clark 

Greek Declamation by D. A. Russell

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11 hours ago, JTB_5 said:

I'll add a few classical period texts that are about education:

Isocrates' Antidosis

Plato's Republic

Quintilian's Institutes of Oratory

Tacitus' Dialogue on Orators provides good context on education after the Roman Republic has collapsed.

A couple of good historical sources that are helpful to know what the classic period education looked like are:

Education in Ancient Rome by Stanley F. Bonner

Education in Antiquity by H. I. Marrou

Rhetoric in Greco-Roman Education by Donald L. Clark 

Greek Declamation by D. A. Russell

Thanks for the list! I did glean a couple of new ideas from here! Special thanks for mentioning the Antidosis. I've always wanted to read Isocrates because David Hicks mentions him a lot. There didn't used to be anything online, and now there is! I'm enjoying this already, and I've only read the introductory remarks about his fake trial. I'm enjoying his voice! Quintilian is a long-time favorite of mine. I have the Marrou and have never made it all the way through.Still an object, though. Have you read them all? Which of the last two on the list--Rhetoric or Greek declamation--would you recommend first?

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5 hours ago, KarenG said:

Thanks for the list! I did glean a couple of new ideas from here! Special thanks for mentioning the Antidosis. I've always wanted to read Isocrates because David Hicks mentions him a lot. There didn't used to be anything online, and now there is! I'm enjoying this already, and I've only read the introductory remarks about his fake trial. I'm enjoying his voice! Quintilian is a long-time favorite of mine. I have the Marrou and have never made it all the way through.Still an object, though. Have you read them all? Which of the last two on the list--Rhetoric or Greek declamation--would you recommend first?

Isocrates is a great read, and presents a different picture than you get from Aristotle and Plato. He strikes me as more of a Cicero-like statesman. I've read all of the original sources (except for Quintilian, of whom I've only read portions), and portions of the historical sources on particular topics of interest. As for the last two, it depends on what you are interested in. The Clark book is broad and gives a good overview of the place of rhetoric in the entire educational program of Greece and Rome over a large period of time. The Russell book more narrowly focuses on the way declamation exercises worked and what they meant for the education and culture of Greece. If you are looking for potential rhetoric exercises, I'd go with Russell, but if you want a big picture of the place of rhetoric in education, I'd go with Clark.

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Somewhere recently I read something to the effect that Little Women or Jo Boys or both, were excellent education/parenting books. Agreed? I haven't read either, and I've only seen the Wynona Ryder movie. 

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18 minutes ago, Cheryl Floyd said:

Somewhere recently I read something to the effect that Little Women or Jo Boys or both, were excellent education/parenting books. Agreed? I haven't read either, and I've only seen the Wynona Ryder movie. 

Same here.

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Jo's Boys has a lot of explicit ideas about education, and Alcott's lesser-known Jack and Jill has even more.

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Thanks to a friend who found this set at an estate sale, I've been reading through the first volume of 1930's author (sorry, still 20th century!) Werner Jaeger's Paideia: the Ideals of Greek Culture. I'm finding it fascinating.

This is what Jaeger says he is attempting to do in these volumes: "explain the interaction between the historical process by which their  [the Greeks'] character was formed and the intellectual process by which they constructed their ideal of human personality."

Jaeger's focus is on the role of Greek literature.

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On 12/8/2018 at 10:09 AM, Diana Cunningham said:

This is what Jaeger says he is attempting to do in these volumes: "explain the interaction between the historical process by which their  [the Greeks'] character was formed and the intellectual process by which they constructed their ideal of human personality."

Jaeger's focus is on the role of Greek literature.

WOW. I thought I remembered reading that Plato was the first to coin the term "myth" and its purpose being that of "clothing a truth". Literature was a better embodiment of their ideals than maxims.  

Do you think these days, a lot of children's literature is too preachy? The truth isn't clothed, it's advertised, it's dressed for war with immorality, or worldview, or threat, or fancy. 

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