The Greek Question Again.
"Some weeks ago a vote was passed by the universities of Prussia opposing the admission of graduates from the so called "Realschulen" (schools without instruction in Greek) to the study of law and medicine. But it seems now that the importance of this action has been over estimated, and that it offers but another proof of the tenacity with which the members of ancient corporations cling to existing institutions even in the face of reason. Public opinion in Germany is undoubtedly moving against this academic verdict. A book has just been published which shows that the opposition to such an artificial attempt to restrict the popular tendency is no longer confined to the interested party itself, but is shared even by a man whose well known impartiality and established position give to his views an unusual weight.
Doctor Paulsen, Professor of Philosophy and Pedagogics in the University of Berlin, concludes his admirable 'History of Higher Education in Germany from the Reformers to the present time' with a review of the present needs of education in that country. No one could acknowledge more frankly and gratefully than does Professor Paulsen how much Germany owes to the study of the classics. He shows that since the time of Luther it has been the dominent force in education. He traces the various phases of its development, and gives most carefully drawn pictures of the men who were distinguished in this field. But the study of the past does not blind this author to the demand of to day. The historical development of the last three centuries, he says, may be defined as a slow but steady progress toward the formation of a distinct modern culture, separating itself gradually from the ancient civilization out of which it grew. To day this modern society has reached its maturity. To Erasmus the ancients were models of living; even Goethe considered the Greeks as unattainable ideals of beauty and greatness. For us they are the objects of research and criticism. It would be absurd to educate our boys as if they belonged to the age of the humanists. What we want above all is to make them understand their own world, the people of which they are a part, the life of nature about them, the men among whom they have to make their way. These are the indispensable parts of modern education.
Now is it possible to combine with these a thorough study of the ancient world? The bad results of recent attempts to accomplish this in Germany justify Professor Paulsen in denying this possibility, and consequently he does not hesitate to exclude all classical study except the elements of Latin from the curriculum of the Gymnasium. In its place he puts a broader and more detailed treatment of history in all its branches, a more thorough study of the German language and literature, an elementary course in philosophy, comprising ethics. logic, psychology, and politics. Natural science and mathematics would also gain by the proposed change."