Education, Degraded to a Trade

Mark Pattison, Suggestions on Academical Organisation

“For teaching, there is required a persuasion, as well as for advocacy, though of a different kind. The highest education cannot be given through a literature or a science which has no other than an educational value. Classical learning, or Greek and Latin, is often spoken of by its advocates in this country as if it had no intrinsic value, as if it was an instrument of training and nothing more. If this were the case, Greek and Latin, however proper a matter for school discipline, would not be an adequate subject of the superior education. The university is hereby distinguished from the school, that the pupil here takes leave of disciplinal studies, and enters upon real knowledge. The further consideration of this distinction belongs to the section on ‘Studies;’ it only concerns us here as it points to a difference between the school teacher and the university teacher. The student comes to the university to enter upon the studies of men, to grapple with those thoughts which are occupying the men of the time. He is the apprentice of a faculty which is to introduce him into the real business of life. The teacher here cannot be content with knowing a little more than his pupil, with reading ahead of him; he must be a master in the faculty. Our weakness of late years has been that we have not felt this; we have known no higher level of knowledge than so much as sufficed for teaching. Hence, education among us has sunk into a trade, and, like trading sophists, we have not cared to keep on hand a larger stock than we could dispose of in the season. Our Faculties have dried up, have become dissociated from professional practice at one end, and from scientific investigation on the other, and degrees in them have lost all value but a social one. The intrinsic value of knowledge being thus lost sight of, and its pursuit being no longer a recognised profession, it is easy to see how the true relations of teacher and learner have become distorted or inverted. The masters of arts, the heads and fellows of the colleges, who constituted the university, and who were maintained here ‘to godliness and good learning,’ have become subordinate to the uses of the students, for whom alone all our arrangements are now made. It is because our own life here is wanting in scientific dignity, in intellectual purpose, in the ennobling influences of the pursuit of knowledge, that it is owing that our action upon the young is so feeble. The trading teacher, whatever disguise he may assume whether he call himself professor or tutor is the mere servant of his young master. But true education is the moulding of the mind and character of the rising generation by the generation that now is. We cannot communicate that which we have not got. To make others anything, we must first be it ourselves.”

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Struggling With the Fetters of an Impossible System

Mark Pattison, Memoirs

“I may take this opportunity of explaining what my position in college as tutor was at this time. At that time there was no subdivision of labour such as is now established in the form of combined lectures. The tutors of each college taught everything that was taught in the college to all its students. Under this monstrous abuse, of which I have written the history several times in other places, a zealous tutor was entirely baffled as to what course to take; if he wanted to make a good lecture on any one classical book, say Herodotus, he must devote an amount of time to his preparation for it which was quite inconsistent with his also doing well the other lectures he had to give — looking over Latin writing, teaching English composition, seeing that men know their divinity, and the vague but heavy duties of personal inspection and advice. I never could let routine be routine, or do anything with any comfort to myself, unless I tried to do it as well as I could. It so happened that among other lectures Herodotus fell to me. I took vast pains with this;  read up everything I could, and after some terms’ apprenticeship and much bungling, became able to give what was for those times a really good lecture. But then to do this it was impossible to keep up equally well with Livy and Sophocles and the Greek Testament, and perhaps another book or two. I had the mortification of sitting there and hearing men translate Sophocles to me unprofitably, as knowing I could not teach them the niceties of Greek erratic idiom. Here I was but struggling with the fetters of an impossible system, though it was not till years after that I came to conceive where it was that the fault lay. I was honestly labouring to make the best I could of my Sparta. But I had other college difficulties to contend with in my colleagues.”

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Sad Reflections: A Scholar’s Life

Mark Pattison, Isaac Casaubon 1559 – 1614

“Casaubon anxiously compares the hours spent in his study with those bestowed on any other occupation. Unless the first greatly preponderate, he is unhappy. When the claims of business or society have taken up any considerable part of the day, his outcries are those of a man who is being robbed. When he has read continuously a whole day, from early morning till late at night, ‘noctem addens operi,’ he enters a satisfactory ‘to-day, I have truly lived,’ ‘hodie vixi.’ Taking some entries of the first period, we have such as the following:—

‘To-day I began my work very early in the morning, notwithstanding my having kept it up last night till very late.’

‘Nearly the whole morning, and quite all the afternoon perished, through writing letters. Oh! heavy loss, more lamentable than loss of money!’

‘To-day I got six hours for study. When shall I get my whole day? Whenever, O my Father, it shall be thy will!’

‘This morning not to my books till 7 o’clock or after; alas me! and after that the whole morning lost; nay, the whole day. O God of my salvation, aid my studies, without which life is to me not life.’

‘This morning, reading, but not without interruption. After dinner, however, as if they had conspired the destruction of my studies, friends came and broke them off.’

‘This morning a good spell of study. After dinner friends, and trifling talk, but very bothering; at last got back to my books.’

‘To-day, though far from well, got eight hours for my books.’

Such is the general character of the entries during the first period. The simple ‘studuimus et viximus’ [we have studied and lived] is the short expression of the feeling of this time.”

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Ignorant Schoolteachers: A Gift to Philosophy

Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Philosophers – Epicurus (10.2)

“They say that Epicurus spent some time in Colophon, and after gathering together some disciples there, returned to Athens during Anaxicrates’ archonship. For a while, he philosphized along with others, but subsequently founded a school of thought named after him. He himself said that he applied himself to philosophy when he was fourteen. Apollodorus the Epicurean says in his first book On the Life of Epicurus that he came to philosophy because of his contempt for schoolmasters when they were unable to explicate the passage concerning Chaos in Hesiod. Hermippus says that Epicurus was schoolteacher, and when he happened upon the books of Democritus, he was drawn to philosophy. For this reason Timon said of him,

‘The last and most impudent of the physicists, a teacher of elements coming from Samos, the most poorly-educated person alive.’”

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χρόνον δέ τινα διατρίψαντα αὐτόθι καὶ μαθητὰς ἀθροίσαντα πάλιν ἐπανελθεῖν εἰς Ἀθήνας ἐπὶ Ἀναξικράτους: καὶ μέχρι μέν τινος κατ᾽ ἐπιμιξίαν τοῖς ἄλλοις φιλοσοφεῖν, ἔπειτα ἰδίᾳ ἀποφαίνεσθαι τὴν ἀπ᾽ αὐτοῦ κληθεῖσαν αἵρεσιν συστήσαντα. ἐφάψασθαι δὲ φιλοσοφίας αὐτός φησιν ἔτη γεγονὼς τετταρεσκαίδεκα. Ἀπολλόδωρος δ᾽ ὁ Ἐπικούρειος ἐν τῷ πρώτῳ περὶ τοῦ Ἐπικούρου βίου φησὶν ἐλθεῖν αὐτὸν ἐπὶ φιλοσοφίαν καταγνόντα τῶν γραμματιστῶν, ἐπειδὴ μὴ ἐδυνήθησαν ἑρμηνεῦσαι αὐτῷ τὰ περὶ τοῦ παρ᾽ Ἡσιόδῳ χάους. φησὶ δ᾽ Ἕρμιππος γραμματοδιδάσκαλον αὐτὸν γεγενῆσθαι, ἔπειτα μέντοι περιτυχόντα τοῖς Δημοκρίτου βιβλίοις ἐπὶ φιλοσοφίαν ᾆξαι: διὸ καὶ τὸν Τίμωνα φάσκειν περὶ αὐτοῦ:

ὕστατος αὖ φυσικῶν καὶ κύντατος, ἐκ Σάμου ἐλθὼν γραμμαδιδασκαλίδης, ἀναγωγότατος ζωόντων.

An Idyllic University Life

Mark Pattison, Suggestions on Academical Organisation:

“As teaching institutions, their universities have great merits and equally great defects. But as establishments for the cultivation and encouragement of the highest learning, the German universities have left everything of the kind at this moment existing in Europe behind them. Though known to us as the German system, there is, however, nothing peculiarly Germanic in the arrangements of their universities, so far as their commanding reputation is due to those arrangements. The only peculiarity which they derive from country is one which may possibly be lost to them before long. The rivalry between a number of petty states, ambitious to compensate for their political insignificance by distinction in science, has been at least one cause of the eminence which the German university system has now attained. However this may be, it is not as schools, but as centres of mental activity in science, that these institutions command the attention of Europe, and have become the referees to whose verdict every product of mind must be unconditionally submitted. The German university, Dr. Dollinger goes so far as to say, has nothing but the name in common with the university of France, or the universities of England. It is an association of men of learning and science, under the title of professors. The position created for them is such as to place them under the most powerful inducements to devote their whole mind and energies to the cultivation of some practical branch of knowledge. In a large university, such as Berlin, every science, and almost every subdivision of science, is represented. Of teachers of various grades, Berlin numbers now about 170. These are not endowed out of Church property, or out of rent of land in any shape, but are paid out of the annual taxation. This is not certainly an advantage either to themselves or to the country, but is mentioned to show what sacrifices other countries, not so rich as ourselves, are willing to make for an object which we have not yet come in sight of as a desideratum. The reputation of Berlin rests not upon any education given to its 2000 students, but upon the scientific industry of its professors. ‘The life of a professor’ (Professor Ritschl is reported to have said) ‘would be a very pleasant one if it was not for the lecturing.'”

Gallienus: Emperor of Pranks

Historia Augusta, Duo Gallieni (XII):

“Gallienus was, moreover, exceedingly clever, and I would do well to add a few examples of his sharp wit here. Once, when he had a huge bull sent into the amphitheater and the gladiator who was sent to kill him proved unable to kill the bull even after being brought out ten times, Gallienus sent the man a crown. When everyone began to murmur and wonder what the world was coming to for a totally incompetent person to be crowned, Gallienus ordered a herald to announce, ‘It is a difficult thing not to wound a bull so many times.’

Similarly, when a certain merchant had sold glass gems as real to his wife, and she (after discovering the trick) wanted him to be punished, Gallienus ordered that the merchant be seized and thrown to the lions. Then, a chicken was sent up from the amphitheater’s holding cage. When everyone was marveling at such an absurd sight, Gallienus ordered the herald to declare, ‘He has committed an imposture, and suffered one in turn.'”

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Fuit praeterea idem ingeniosissimus, cuius ostendendi acuminis scilicet pauca libet ponere: nam cum taurum ingentem in harenam misisset exissetque ad eum feriendum venator neque productum decies potuisset occidere, coronam venatori misit,  mussantibusque cunctis, quid rei esset, quod homo ineptissimus coronaretur, ille per curionem dici iussit: “Taurum totiens non ferire difficile est.” Idem, cum quidam gemmas vitreas pro veris vendidisset eius uxori atque illa re prodita vindicari vellet, subripi quasi ad leonem venditorem iuissit, deinde e cavea caponem emitti, mirantibusque cunctis rem tam ridiculam per curionem dici iussit: “Inposturam fecit et passus est.”

What’s Troubling Telemachus?

When Athena first goes to Ithaca to see Telemachus in the Odyssey, the narrator shifts focus and describes Odysseus’ son witnessing Mentes’ appearance (Athena in disguise, 1.113-120):

“God-like Telemachus saw her first by far.
For he was sitting among the suitors, tortured in his dear heart,
Dreaming about his noble father in his thoughts, if he should come home
From somewhere and scatter the suitors from his home,
And have his own place [honor] and rule over his possessions.
As he say imagining these things, he saw Athena,
And went straight to the entryway, rebuking himself
That a guest should stand in the doorway for so long…”

τὴν δὲ πολὺ πρῶτος ἴδε Τηλέμαχος θεοειδής·
ἧστο γὰρ ἐν μνηστῆρσι φίλον τετιημένος ἦτορ,
ὀσσόμενος πατέρ’ ἐσθλὸν ἐνὶ φρεσίν, εἴ ποθεν ἐλθὼν
μνηστήρων τῶν μὲν σκέδασιν κατὰ δώματα θείη,
τιμὴν δ’ αὐτὸς ἔχοι καὶ κτήμασιν οἷσιν ἀνάσσοι.
τὰ φρονέων μνηστῆρσι μεθήμενος εἴσιδ’ ᾿Αθήνην,
βῆ δ’ ἰθὺς προθύροιο, νεμεσσήθη δ’ ἐνὶ θυμῷ
ξεῖνον δηθὰ θύρῃσιν ἐφεστάμεν·

Telemachus is roused from a reverie by the appearance of a new stranger—and the characterization of his repose intrigues me. He does not appear to me to be a man of action except in the offering of hospitality. His emotional state is withdrawn: he inhabits his own thoughts, he is emotionally distressed, and he fantasizes about things being different from what they are. His first response is to rebuke himself for failing to live up to the very standard of hospitality that has been offered to the suitors, the abuse of which is a source of his frustration, and his daydream that his father will come home and put everything to rights.

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By Giovanni Battisa Tiepolo, 18th Century

Although the phrase τετιημένος ἦτορ (“tortured/troubled in the heart”) does not have broad representation in the extant epic tradition, it does appear to have a rather marked one that indicates forced action or unwilling inaction. For instance, in the Iliad Ajax has to retreat from the Achaeans unwillingly (ὣς Αἴας τότ’ ἀπὸ Τρώων τετιημένος ἦτορ / ἤϊε πόλλ’ ἀέκων, 11.556-557). Odysseus describes himself the same way when mentioning the night he spent sleeping alone in the bushes on the shore of Skheria (7.287). The conceptual union between these two instances is that both Ajax and Odysseus are compelled to action by external forces. Later on in the Odyssey, the narrator describes Amphinomos suffering in the same way in book 18 when he feels fear at Odysseus-in-disguise’s prophecy (153-155)

“He went through the dear home, tortured in his heart,
And nodding his head. For he was imagining doom in his mind.
But there was no way to flee his fate….”

αὐτὰρ ὁ βῆ κατὰ δῶμα φίλον τετιημένος ἦτορ,
νευστάζων κεφαλῇ· δὴ γὰρ κακὸν ὄσσετο θυμῷ.
ἀλλ’ οὐδ’ ὧς φύγε κῆρα·…

Here, we have a thematic parallel for Telemachus’ first appearance. Amphinomos is full of dread over what he has just heard and cannot escape the future he is fearing. Note how both Amphinomos and Telemachus are characterized as occupied by their own thoughts, living an internal dream rather than engaging in the outside world.

There are other accounts that strengthen these associations in variations on the standard Homeric texts. When commenting upon Odysseus’ first appearance in book 5, the scholia record Aristonicus’ comment that the language is more fit (οἰκειότερον ἐν ᾿Ιλιάδι) for the Iliad at 2.721 where Philoktetes is described as “he lies there on the island suffering harsh pains” (ἀλλ’ ὃ μὲν ἐν νήσῳ κεῖτο κρατέρ’ ἄλγεα πάσχων, =Od. 5.13). He adds that it would be right for him instead to be “tortured in his heart” (νῦν δὲ ἔδει τετιημένος ἦτορ εἶναι, Schol. H ad Od. 5.13). Similarly Menelaos retreats from Patroklos’ body under force in book 17 of the Iliad, described as “troubled in his mind” (τετιηότι θυμῷ) and unwillingly—a phrase the scholia record appeared in the alternative τετιημένος ἦτορ in some manuscripts (Schol. Ad Il. 17.664b2). Another textual variant offers support: after Hera has been rebuffed by Zeus at the end of Iliad 1, most manuscripts depict Hephaestus as ministering to his mother, “white armed Hera” (λευκωλένῳ ῞Ηρῃ, 1.572) while the scholia report τετιημένῃ ἦτορ as a variant (Schol. bT ad Il. 1.572 Did. (?) λευκωλένῳ ῞Ηρῃ: ἄμεινον γράφειν „τετιημένῃ ἦτορ”). Hera’s ability to affect the action or even know Zeus’ plan has recently been limited—it makes sense that she would be characterized as being upset, unwilling, and trapped.

The description appears again once more with Telemachus and at a rather important juncture. After he has announced his departure at the assembly, Telemachus returns to his home in book two “tortured in his heart” (2.298) before he insults the suitors and declares that he is a grown man with a plan Od. 2.312–317):

“Isn’t it enough that you wasted my many fine possessions before, when I was still just a child [νήπιος], suitors? But now, when I am big, and I have learned by listening to the speech of other men, and the heart within me grows, I will discover some way that I may visit upon you wicked fates either when I go to Pylos or here in this country.”

ἦ οὐχ ἅλις, ὡς τὸ πάροιθεν ἐκείρετε πολλὰ καὶ ἐσθλὰ
κτήματ’ ἐμά, μνηστῆρες, ἐγὼ δ’ ἔτι νήπιος ἦα;
νῦν δ’ ὅτε δὴ μέγας εἰμί, καὶ ἄλλων μῦθον ἀκούων
πυνθάνομαι, καὶ δή μοι ἀέξεται ἔνδοθι θυμός,
πειρήσω, ὥς κ’ ὔμμι κακὰς ἐπὶ κῆρας ἰήλω,
ἠὲ Πύλονδ’ ἐλθὼν ἢ αὐτοῦ τῷδ’ ἐνὶ δήμῳ.

The application of the “tortured in the heart” phrase here troubled ancient readers—a scholion glosses its use as “not because he is sullen, but because he is thinking about how to leave” (φίλον τετιημένος ἦτορ] οὐκ ἐσκυθρωπακὼς, ἀλλὰ καὶ φροντίζων ὡς ἀποδημεῖν μέλλων, Schol ES ad Od. 2.298). The scholiastic adjustment here points both to the ‘typical’ interpretation of the line—that it indicates an isolated rumination—and the sense that something critical has changed here. As Telemachus moves into action and declares himself as an agent and a thinker, he also moves from his state of paralysis and rumination into a different part of his tale.