Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Reformed Irenicism

What Schools Are and What They’re For (Part 1)

The next two questions of Chytraeus’ catechism deal with scholae, “schools.” Chytraeus has a broad view, as noted previously, of the complementary nature of faith and learning. Thus the subjects learned in school are “pleasing to God” (Deo gratas) as a broad category; under that broad category, they are said to be necessary both to church and commonwealth. Some might think that the study of literature (construed broadly) is useless, but Chytraeus believes that it is necessary because of the way in which man has been created. Man is made to know God; man must know God rightly, in Jesus Christ; what Jesus Christ taught was committed to writing in Scripture; therefore we need teachers who are skilled in literary study to read and teach what Scripture contains.

Quid sunt Scholae?

Scholae sunt coetus docentium & discentium literas, linguas & artes, Deo gratas, & Ecclesiae Dei ac Reipublicae necessarias.

Propter quas caussas necesse est coli in Scholis studia literarum, & praecipue Catechesin disci?

Homines ideo conditi sunt, ut Deum conditorem & Filium ipsius redemtorem nostrum IESUM CHRISTUM agnoscant, invocent, & colant, iuxta doctrinam ab ipso traditam & libris Prophetarum & Apostolorum comprehensam. Quare aliquos homines esse oportet literarum peritos, qui hunc librum doctrinae coelestis legere, & alijs praelegere,1 & explicare possint.

What are schools?

Schools are gatherings of those teaching and learning literature, languages, and the arts, pleasing to God and necessary to the Church and also to the commonwealth.

For what reasons is it necessary that literary studies be cultivated in schools, and especially that the catechism be learned?

Men are created for this reason: so that they may know God their creator and his Son our redeemer Jesus Christ, and may call upon him and worship him, according to the doctrine handed on by him and contained in the books of the Prophets and Apostles. Therefore it is right that some men be skilled in literature, in order that they may be able to read this book of heavenly doctrine and lecture upon and explicate them for others.

  1. Again, there is a misprint in the edition I am using, which gives praelegete where it should have praelegere

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.

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