Classical Education In The German Gymnasia -- By: Hermann Wimmer
BSac 7:25 (Jan 1850) p. 108
Classical Education In The German Gymnasia
The political reformation of Germany, for a long time sought by philosophers and politicians, and fostered by the general desire of union, though its progress is now apparently stopped through the failure of the late revolution, is not likely to stand still until it has effected its object. The happy accomplishment of the revolution may indeed fall to the lot of a more fortunate posterity, but the passions of a revolutionary age will not cease to disturb the peace of the living generation, and to impress their stamp on the entire face of society. Changes are brought about to be changed again after the sun of freedom has risen; but these are now unavoidable, as the shadows of night precede the morning light. Professors have been writing in newspapers or speaking in parliaments; students fighting on barricades or haranguing the people in clubs; some are prisoners; others fugitive. In “the country of thoughtfulness and learning,” a political pamphlet is preferred to a scientific book, and the speech of a noisy partisan to the lecture of a learned professor. All the institutions of learning, gymnasia or universities, will suffer from the vehement shock, and the vulgar reproach often brought against classical learning as not being practical enough, will now overwhelm the reasoning of its adherents, while on the opposite side the victorious governments do not feel bound to look graciously down on institutions which brought out that pernicious spirit of freedom and union. And whatever may be the state of
BSac 7:25 (Jan 1850) p. 109
classical studies in Germany for times to come, it is but too certain, that now the political clouds darken the light of philological learning, and while every year produces volumes of modern history, the study of by-gone times and nations is in danger of being set aside, before Greek and Roman ideas of republican freedom succeed in dethroning the kings. There is no doubt but this free and glorious country, destined by Providence to be the asylum of the old world, will take in the pilgrim and make him its own. For a long time Germany has been considered by the other civilized countries as the common teacher of philology, and from Paris to Kasan, and from Edinburgh to Odessa, one may find German professors of Greek or Latin in the chairs of the universities, and German books on the study-tables of the native professors; and in this country, too, philology looks up to Germany as to her mother-land. But in order to naturalize classical learning and to attain a similar or higher degree of perfection, there seems to be no better method than to observe the way which the German philologists themselves have gone, and to pursue the same as far as circumstances may direct. The following lines...
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