Can Education be Classical and Christian? Essay

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Can an education be both classical and Christian? Many parents ask this question every year, unknowingly echoing an age-old question. Tertullian, an early church father, was perhaps the first to consider whether these two ideas are compatible when he asked, “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” The church fathers continued to wrestle with the question for centuries, most concluding that all ideas that are taken captive for Christ may be used profitably by Christians. Examining this ongoing conversation about classical, Christian education will serve to answer many of our own questions today. Then, we will be able to consider that our understanding of classical, Christian education today depends more on the medieval church schools …show more content…
He culls whatever is useful from mathematics, the fine arts, literary studies, and, of course, philosophy, and protects the faith from all attacks” (171 ). For Clement, the study of the liberal arts prepared the individual to possess a solid faith and to share that hope with others. Origen (c. 185-250) became head of the catechetical school in Alexandria at the age of seventeen or eighteen. Educated in both the Scriptures and Greek literature himself, Origen urged others to continue this practice. He compared this classical, Christian education to the Israelites plundering Egypt before the Exodus, a comparison which continued to be repeated by future generations as they pondered a classical, Christian education. In his analogy, he demonstrated that the gold and silver of the pagan Egyptians was used to make the holiest vessels in the tabernacle (178). Similarly, he urges students to use the treasures of the Greek philosophers and poets to build up the sacred faith of Christianity. Basil the Great (c.329-379), bishop of Caesarea, considered the study of the ancient writers, poets, and orators to be preparatory exercises for the deep study of Scriptures: “So we must consider that a contest, the greatest of all contests, lies before us, for which we must do all things, and, in preparation for it, must strive to the best of our power, and must associate with poets and writers of prose and orators and with all men from whom