Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/475

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
459
THE UNIVERSITY IDEAL.

To the Greeks we are indebted for the earliest germ of the university. It was with them chiefly that education took that great leap, the greatest ever made, from the traditional teaching of the home, the shop, the social surroundings, to schoolmaster teaching properly so called. Nowadays, we schoolmasters think so much of ourselves, that we do not make full allowance for that other teaching which was, for unknown ages, the only teaching of mankind. The Greeks were the first to introduce, not perhaps the primary schoolmaster for the R's, but certainly the secondary or higher schoolmaster, known as rhetorician or sophist, who taught the higher professions; while their philosophers or wise men introduced a kind of knowledge that gave scope to the intellectual faculties, with or without professional applications; the very idea of our Faculty of Arts.

So self-asserting were these new-born teachers of the sophist class, that Plato thought it necessary to recall attention to the good old perennial source of instruction—the home, the trade, and the society. He pointed out that the pretenders to teach virtue by moral lecturing were as yet completely outrivaled by the influence of the family and the social pressure of the community. In like manner the arts of life were all originally handed down by apprenticeship and imitation. The greatest statesmen and generals of early times had simply the education of the actual work. Philip of Macedon could have had no other teaching; his greater son was the first of the line to receive what we may call a liberal or a general education, under the educator of all Europe.

I must skip eight centuries to introduce the man that linked the ancient and the modern world, and was almost the sole luminary in the West during the dark ages, namely, Böetius, minister of the Gothic Emperor Theodoric. As much of Aristotle as was known between the sixth and the eleventh centuries was handed down by him. During that time only the logical treatises existed among the Latins; and of these the best parts were neglected. Historical importance attaches to a small circle of them known as the Old Logic (vetus logica), which were the pabulum of abstract thought for five dreary centuries. These consisted of the two treatises or chapters of Aristotle called the "Categories," and the "De Interpretatione," or the theory of propositions; and of a book of Porphyry, the neo-Platonist, entitled "Introduction" (Isagoge), and treating of the so-called Five Predicables. A hundred average pages would include them all; and three weeks would suffice to master them.

Böethius, however, did much more than hand on these works to the mediæval students; he translated the whole of Aristotle's logical writings (the "Organon"), but the others were seldom taken up. It was he too that handled the question of universals in his first Dialogue on Porphyry, and sowed the seed that was not to germinate till four centuries afterward, but which, when the time came, was to bear