The Study Of Monuments -- By: Charles Marsh Mead

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 024:94 (Apr 1867)
Article: The Study Of Monuments
Author: Charles Marsh Mead


The Study Of Monuments

Rev. Charles M. Mead

[Note. — The following Article is a translation of an Address delivered before the Philological Convention held in Hanover in 1864, and entitled, “Ueber die Einführung der monumentalen, insbesondere der christlich-monumentalen Studien in den Gymnasial-Unterricht.’ The relation between the gymnasia and the universities of Germany being in general similar to that between our colleges and professional schools, Professor Piper’s plea for the study of monuments in gymnasia is equally valid for the study of them in our colleges. Much is omitted from the Article which would be of interest chiefly to Germans; but it has been thought best not to change the form of the Address in general, as the reader can readily supply the modifications necessary to make the truths presented applicable to our own circumstances and institutions, and the changes would be likely to diminish the freshness, more than they would increase the pertinency, of Professor Piper’s remarks.]

The question of monumental studies as a part of the course of instruction in gymnasia leads to the consideration of three points: first, the necessity of them as an organic part of the course; next, their place in the course; finally, the requisite conditions of their prosecution.

I. The necessity of these studies may be argued from two grounds: on the one hand, the gymnasia have a claim upon them on their own account; on the other, the universities have a right to insist on this preliminary training. The pedagogic and scientific interests therefore coincide; and this very coincidence furnishes a strong proof that the necessity is a real one.

To speak briefly of the latter point, the claim of the university, it is justified by the fact that without this preparation on the part of the students the university cannot properly do its own work. The students need not so much a preliminary knowledge of facts, as that their taste for art and an appreciation of its works should have been awakened and

cultivated; for this is a special faculty, and needs to be excited early. It is clearly too late to begin this cultivation at the age of eighteen or nineteen, after one has finished his academic course. Besides, this neglect easily produces a positive effect: not only is the preparation lacking, but a fatal prejudice against the whole thing may be produced, and that too, much more in the sphere of classical than of theological study, because the gymnasia enter more thoroughly into the former, and aim to confer a classical culture in a certain sense complete. If however this culture is gained only from literary monuments, as if the subject were thus exhausted, the mon...

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