Humanism and Protestantism in Early Modern English Education: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Humanism and Protestantism in Early Modern English Education

1st Edition

By Ian Green


400 pages

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pub: 2016-03-18
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This volume is the first attempt to assess the impact of both humanism and Protestantism on the education offered to a wide range of adolescents in the hundreds of grammar schools operating in England between the Reformation and the Enlightenment. By placing that education in the context of Lutheran, Calvinist and Jesuit education abroad, it offers an overview of the uses to which Latin and Greek were put in English schools, and identifies the strategies devised by clergy and laity in England for coping with the tensions between classical studies and Protestant doctrine. It also offers a reassessment of the role of the 'godly' in English education, and demonstrates the many ways in which a classical education came to be combined with close support for the English Crown and established church. One of the major sources used is the school textbooks which were incorporated into the 'English Stock' set up by leading members of the Stationers' Company of London and reproduced in hundreds of thousands of copies during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Although the core of classical education remained essentially the same for two centuries, there was a growing gulf between the methods by which classics were taught in elite institutions such as Winchester and Westminster and in the many town and country grammar schools in which translations or bilingual versions of many classical texts were given to weaker students. The success of these new translations probably encouraged editors and publishers to offer those adults who had received little or no classical education new versions of works by Aesop, Cicero, Ovid, Virgil, Seneca and Caesar. This fascination with ancient Greece and Rome left its mark not only on the lifestyle and literary tastes of the educated elite, but also reinforced the strongly moralistic outlook of many of the English laity who equated virtue and good works with pleasing God and meriting salvation.


’A feast of learning.’ Northern History 'Green demonstrates that to really comprehend early modern people it is necessary to know a great deal more about how they were educated to think about their roles in society. His argument is convincing and deserves to be read by anyone interested in early modern English culture.' American Historical Review '… [Green] has produced a work of solid scholarship that will have something for almost any student of early-modern English educational or religious history.' The Catholic Historical Review 'Ian Green in Humanism and Protestantism in Early Modern English Education has written a classic study that all early modern scholars will want to own.' Sixteenth Century Journal ’This volume makes a significant contribution to early modern studies, and offers indications for future research in a wide range of areas. It will be of interest not only to historians of education but also to scholars of cultural, linguistic and social history.’ English Historical Review

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Historiography and sources; Grammar schools and grammar teachers in Protestant England; The uses of Latin in the lower forms of grammar schools; The uses of Latin and Greek in the senior forms and universities; Protestant influences in grammar schools and universities; Assessing the impact; Index.

About the Author

Ian Green is Professor Emeritus of Early Modern History of the Queen's University of Belfast, and Honorary Professorial Fellow of the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

About the Series

St Andrews Studies in Reformation History

With the publication of its 100th book in 2012, the St Andrews Studies in Reformation Studies series celebrated an impressive publishing achievement. Since its establishment in 1995 the series has consistently offered high-quality, innovative and thought-provoking research in the field of early modern religious history. By encouraging authors to adopt a broad and inclusive interpretation of ’Reformation’, the resultant publications have done much to help shape current interdisciplinary interpretations of early-modern religion, expanding attention far beyond narrow theological concerns. Each title within the series has added to a body of international research showing how the ripples of the Reformation spread to virtually every corner of European society, both Protestant and Catholic, and often beyond. From family life, education, literature, music, art and philosophy, to political theory, international relations, economics, colonial ventures, science and military matters, there were few aspects of life that remained untouched in some way by the spirit of religious reform. As well as widening conceptions of the Reformation, the series has for the last fifteen years provided a publishing outlet for work, much of it by new and up-and-coming scholars who might otherwise have struggled to find an international platform for their work. Alongside these monographs, a complementary selection of edited volumes, critical editions of important primary sources, bibliographical studies and new translations of influential Reformation works previously unavailable to English speaking scholars, adds further depth to the topic. By offering this rich mix of approaches and topics, the St Andrews series continues to offer scholars an unparalleled platform for the publication of international scholarship in a dynamic and often controversial area of historical study.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General