May 17, 2016

Education in Ancient Israel

"In the Bible, education originated with a desire for order and continuity. To combat the powerful and seductive lure of chaos in various forms, societal or persona;, older and more experienced individuals tried their best to prevent the younger generation from falling into the pitfalls confronting them in the nooks and crannies of daily life. Parents personalized this struggle for survival, heightening both the intimacy and passion, Whereas leaders within a community raised voices as a means of protecting the general well-being, mothers and fathers sought to ensure the integrity of the family.

"The aim of this instruction was moral formation, the building of character. Having embodied the teachings themselves, elders praised the virtues of self-control, restraint, eloquence, and honesty. The first of these acknowledged the enormous power of passion, whether expressing itself as fear, anxiety, anger, or lust. The second virtue, restraint, provided a necessary balance in a culture characterized by rhetorical excess. It lifted up modesty and reticence as timely conduct when the crowd was in danger of losing its perspective. The third, eloquence, indicated an awareness of the persuasive capacity of speech for good and evil. The fourth virtue guaranteed integrity, the tongue being used as a power for good in the communication of truth, especially in judicial settings" (James L. Crenshaw, Education in Ancient Israel: Across the Deadening Silence [New York: Doubleday, 1998],1–2).

Assuming Crenshaw is correct, it seems that contemporary views of education are quite a bit different.

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