Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
Bible History

Naves Topical Bible Dictionary

education Summary and Overview

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education in Smith's Bible Dictionary

There is little trace among the Hebrews in earlier times of education in any other subjects than the law. The wisdom therefore and instruction, of which so much is said in the book of Proverbs, are to be understood chiefly of moral and religious discipline, imparted, according to the direction of the law, by the teaching and under the example of parents. (But Solomon himself wrote treatises on several scientific subjects, which must have been studied in those days.) In later times the prophecies and comments on them, as well as on the earlier Scriptures, together with other subjects, were studied. Parents were required to teach their children some trade. (Girls also went to schools, and women generally among the Jews were treated with greater equality to men than in any other ancient nation.) Previous to the captivity, the chief depositaries of learning were the schools or colleges, from which in most cases proceeded that succession of public teachers who at various times endeavored to reform the moral and religious conduct of both rulers and people. Besides the prophetical schools instruction was given by the priests in the temple and elsewhere. [See SCHOOLS]

education in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

EDUCA'TION . Of secular education, in our sense of the word, the Jews knew little, but they enjoined the duty and enjoyed the privilege of religious and moral training at home and in public worship far more than any nation of antiquity. They learned from their parents and their public teachers, the Levites, and later the Rabbins, to read and write and commit the Law. During the Captivity they were brought into contact with the extensive learning of the Chaldaeans. Moses derived his knowledge from Egyptian priests, and Solomon was both a scholar and a wise man, to whose open mind the gathered treasures of instruction and the books of nature and human life brought lessons of priceless wisdom. The people at large must have been ignorant of things outside of religion, and their religious exclusiveness would tend to keep them so, but there were men among them acquainted with mensuration, Josh 18:8-9, and with foreign languages, 2 Kgs 18:26, and who were skilled in writing, like the chronialers of the various kings, and in keeping accounts, like the scribes who are often mentioned. In the days of the monarchy the advantages of education were secured by many in the so-called "schools of the prophets." After the Captivity the Rabbins regularly gave instruction in the synagogues upon the Bible and the Talmud. In the entire history it holds good that boys remained up to their fifth year in the women's apartments and then their fathers began to instruct them in the Law. Later, the boys began at this age the Rabbinical books. The Captivity was in many respects an incalculable blessing to the Jews. It taught them that there was something worth learning outside of the Mosaic books. Hence, after their return, they were a greatly-improved people. It was then that synagogues sprang up, furnishing practical instruction. After Jerusalem fell the Jews kept up these schools, and they exist even in this day. One valuable custom was the learning of a trade on the part of each one. Well known is the instance of Paul, who, although well trained, a pupil of Gamaliel, still could, and did, make tents. Acts 18:3; Acts 22:3. Girls were generally without much more education than the rudiments, yet they could attend the schools and learn more than to do needle-work, keep house, and care for the children. Women were far higher in the social scale among the Jews than at present among the Orientals. The sect of the Essenes, by preference celibates, took great pains to instruct children, but confined their attention chiefly to morality and the Law. The Rabbins taught the physical sciences. In these schools the teachers sat on raised seats; hence Paul could say literally that he was brought up at the feet of Gamaliel. Luke 2:46; Acts 22:3. Unmarried men and women were forbidden to teach boys. The ancient Jews enjoyed more advantages in mental training than other contemporary nations. And if they knew little about matters of common information among us, they knew more than did the great mass of people living outside of Judaea.

education in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Chiefly in the law of God (Exodus 12:26; Exodus 13:8; Exodus 13:14; Deuteronomy 4:5; Deuteronomy 4:9-10; Deuteronomy 6:2; Deuteronomy 6:7; Deuteronomy 6:20; Deuteronomy 11:19; Deuteronomy 11:21; Acts 22:3; 2 Timothy 3:15). The Book of Proverbs inculcates on parents, as to their children, the duty of disciplinary instruction and training in the word of God. This was the ONE book of national education in the reformations undertaken by Jehoshaphat and Josiah (2 Chronicles 17:7-9; 2 Chronicles 34:30). The priests' and Levites' duty especially was to teach the people (2 Chronicles 15:3; Leviticus 10:11; Malachi 2:7; Nehemiah 8:2; Nehemiah 8:8-9; Nehemiah 8:13; Jeremiah 18:18).

The Mishna says that parents ought to teach their children some trade, and he who did not virtually taught his child to steal. The prophets, or special public authoritative teachers, were trained in schools or colleges (Amos 7:14). "Writers," or musterers general, belonging to Zebulun, who enrolled recruits and wrote the names of those who went to war, are mentioned (Judges 5:14). "Scribes of the host" (Jeremiah 52:25) appear in the Assyrian bas-reliefs, writing down the various persons or objects brought to them, so that there is less exaggeration than in the Egyptian representations of battle. Seraiah was David's scribe or secretary, and Jehoshaphat, son of Ahilud, was "recorder" or writer of chronicles, historiographer (2 Samuel 8:16-17); Shebun was Hezekiah's scribe (2 Kings 18:37).

The learned, according to the rabbis, were called "sons of the noble," and took precedence at table. Boys at five years of age, says the Mishna, were to begin reading Scripture, at ten they were to begin reading the Mishna, and at thirteen years of age they were subject to the whole law (Luke 2:46); at fifteen they entered study of the Gemara. The prophetic schools included females such as Huldah (2 Kings 22:14). The position and duties of females among the Jews were much higher than among other Orientals (Proverbs 31:10-31; Luke 8:2-3; Luke 10:38, etc.; Acts 13:50;