The System Of Education At The Universities Of Oxford And Cambridge -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 007:27 (Jul 1850)
Article: The System Of Education At The Universities Of Oxford And Cambridge
Author: Anonymous


The System Of Education At The Universities Of Oxford And Cambridge

The basis of education at these universities has long been, as is well known, the classics and mathematical science. At Oxford, classical study has been the reigning, though not the exclusive pursuit. At Cambridge, mathematical science has had the precedence, though, for many years, the study of Latin and Greek has been earnestly pursued. The system of instruction at both universities has lately undergone some important changes, and it is doubtless susceptible of still further improvements. This system had its origin many ages ago, and it is not strange that it should not have kept pace with the busy world around. Yet with all the acknowledged imperfections of the system, with all the evils which may have resulted from those imperfections, Oxford and Cambridge have been the source of great and inestimable blessings. The system has worked out an amount of good far preponderant over the evil; and we may ask, Do not the two subjects—Mathematical Science and the Classics—now lie, as in past times, at the basis of liberal education? Are other sciences and branches of literature, however important, to be regarded as fundamental? Is a natural science, or a modern language to be put on a level with geometry and Greek? These questions we shall endeavor to discuss in a future Number of this Journal. They seem to us to deserve a patient and fresh examination. We wish to call attention, particularly, to some of the results of the English system. At present we shall confine ourselves to a brief exhibition of certain changes recently effected at Oxford and Cambridge, and of further alterations which are advocated from various quarters.

The changes effected in the Oxford course are in substance the following. There are to be three public university examinations, instead of two as heretofore. In the examination, technically termed “Responsions,” which takes place about one year and a half from the commencement of the course, little change has been introduced. The subjects comprise one Greek and one Latin author, arithmetic, two books of Euclid, or, instead of arithmetic, algebra may be substituted. The second examination, the “first Public Examination,” occurs about the end of the fourth year from matriculation. For the ordinary candidates, the following are the subjects: one Latin and one Greek book (different from those used in “the Responsions”), the four Gospels in Greek, algebra,

either logic or three books of Euclid, the translation of English into Latin, and a paper of questions in syntax. For candidates for classical honors, the following are the subjects: the four Gospels, the great writers of antiquity (Homer, Virgil, Cicero and Demosthenes being recomm...

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