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EDUCATION JDEPT.



C



EDUCATION
IN ANCIENT ISRAEL



FROM EARLIEST TIMES TO 70 A.D.



BY



FLETCHER H. SWIFT

PROFESSOR OF EDUCATION
COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA



CHICAGO LONDON

THE OPEN COURT PUBLISHING COMPANY

1919



L A 4*7



DEFT-



COPYRIGHT BY

THE OPEN COURT PUBLISHING COMPANY
1919

Reproduced from original edition by the

CARLISLE Lithotone process of printing.

A. CARLISLE & CO.,

UPHAM & RUTLEDGE, INC.

1 35 Post Street
SAN FRANCISCO

1936

EDUCATION DEPT.



AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED TO

MY FATHER

WHO, FROM MY EARLIEST YEARS,
TAUGHT ME TO KNOW, REVERENCE AND LOVE THE LAW.



M56924



PREFACE.

Most treatments of Hebrew education available in Eng-
lish are either out of date or inadequate. The longer one
studies the origins of modern education the more difficult
does he find it to explain the meagerness of the accounts of
Hebrew education thus far presented. Authors of educa-
tional histories who have felt it incumbent upon them to
include in their treatment of Greek education a discussion
of music, dancing, physical and military training, have
omitted these and other equally important topics from their
discussions of Hebrew education. The fact that the infor-
mation concerning these phases of ancient Hebrew educa-
tion is in many cases meager and incomplete is no reason
for failing to present such data as are available.

The following account is, I believe, the first attempt in
English to give education in Ancient Israel any such broad
treatment as has long been accorded to that of other ancient
peoples. There is no people whose history presents more
difficulties, and none which leaves more room for the play
of the personal equation of the writer. It is not to be
expected that all the positions presented in this little volume
will commend themselves to every reader. It is not offered
in any sense as an apologetic of any theory of Hebrew
history. Its aim is set forth in the statement of its problem
(see page 4). It is hoped that whatever may be its defects
it will lead the reader to see that the environment in which
the native genius of the Hebrews ripened was a rich and
varied one, and that the educative influences were many,
not few. If, in addition to this, it stimulates future writers



VI PREFACE.

upon Hebrew education to break away from narrow tradi-
tional limits it will not have been written in vain.

The fact that the present account does not extend beyond
70 A. D. accounts for omitting from the bibliography a
number of standard authorities (e.g., Grassberger) which
deal solely or chiefly with post-Biblical education.

In the spelling of Hebrew words, the Jewish Encyclopedia
has been followed except in cases where some change seemed
necessary in view of the public for whom the present volume
is designed.

An explanation of the use of numerals and letters in the
citation of authorities will be found in the note preceding
the Bibliography at the end of the volume.

The author wishes to acknowledge the valuable assistance
he has received from Rabbi S. N. Deinard of Minneapolis,
formerly professor of Hebrew Literature and History, Uni-
versity of Minnesota, Professor Julius H. Greenstone of
Gratz College, Philadelphia, Professor Theodore G. Soares
of the University of Chicago, and Rabbi C. David Matt of
Minneapolis, each of whom gave the manuscript a most
careful reading and whose criticisms and suggestions have
led to a number of important revisions.

FLETCHER HARPER SWIFT.
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA,
February 5, 1919.



TABLE OF CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I.

PAGES

THE NATIVE OR PRE- EXILIC PERIOD, GENERAL SURVEY 116

Summary of Chapter 3

Introduction 3 7

Hebraism and Christianity 4

The Problem 4

Periods in Hebrew History 6

Periods in Hebrew Education 6 7

Historical Survey of the Native Period 7 11

The Conquest 7

Period of the Judges 8

Tribal Kings and Monarchy of Saul 8

Reign of David, 1010973 B. C 9

Reign of Solomon, 973933 B. C 10

Division of Kingdom, 933 B. C 10

Fall of Israel, 723 B. C 11

Judah, 933 B. C 70 A. D 11

Determining Factors in Hebrew Life 11 16

Nomadism 12

Environment 12

Contact with Foreign Nations 13

Distinctive Beliefs and Religious Conceptions 13

Book of Instruction and Reforms of King Josiah, 621 B.C.. 14

Primitive Conception of Yahweh IS

Prophetic Conception of Yahweh 1516

CHAPTER II.

EDUCATION DURING THE NATIVE OR PRE-EXILIC PERIOD 17 38

Summary of Chapter 19

General Characteristics, Social and Religious 19 20

The Twofold Ideal of Manhood . 20



Vlll TABLE OF CONTENTS.

PAGES

Educational Characteristics 20 21

Institutions Subjects Method 21

Boys' Education in Tribe and Family 2131

Who Was Taught 22

Teachers 22

Periods in Education 22

What Was Taught 2331

Industrial and Physical Training . 23

Military Training 2324

Athletics and Games 24

Music Dancing 24 25

Oral Literature Traveling Bards as Teachers 25 26

Written Literature Character and Evolution of the

Canon 2627

Reading and Writing 27

Use by Religious and Official Classes 28

Popular Use and Knowledge 28 30

Religion 30

Morals 30

Boys' Education Outside of the Family 31 38

Institutions 31

Temples 31

Teaching Orders 32 38

Levites and Priests 3234

a. Origin 32

b. Functions, Services as Teachers 33

Prophets or Orator-Teachers 34

a. Origin 34

b. Entrance into Public Affairs Characteristics 35

c. Literary Work 36

d. Education in Prophetic Communities . . /. 36

e. Services as Teachers Times and Places of Instruction 37

/. Methods ;.... 37

g. Educational Importance 38

CHAPTER III.

GENERAL SURVEY OF THE PERIOD OF REACTION TO FOREIGN IN-
FLUENCES, 586 B. C. 70 A. D 3946

Summary of Chapter 41



TABLE OF CONTENTS. IX

FACES

Historical Outline 4144

Babylonian Exile, 586-538 B. C 42

Literary Renaissance 42

Persian Period, 539332 B. C 42

Greek Period, 332167 B. C 43

Maccabean Period, 16763 B. C 43

Roman Period, 63 B. C. 70 A. D 44

General Characteristics 44 46

Hierocracy and Democracy 44 45

Hellenism Religious and Moral Decline 45

The Diaspora 46

CHAPTER IV.

EDUCATION IN THE FAMILY AFTER THE EXILE 4772

Summary of Chapter 49

The Family as an Educational Institution 49 53

Desire for Children 49

Parental Responsibility 50

Parental Authority a Divine Right 51

Parents as Teachers 52

Conception of Child Nature Corporal Punishment . . 52 53

Periods in Child Life and Education '. . 54 59

Childhood the Time for Learning 54

Distinguishing Rites 54 59

Rites of Infancy and Circumcision 54

Mothers' Purification Rites 55

Weaning Feast 55

Adolescent Rites 55

Circumcision 56

Zizit 57

Tefillin or Phylacteries 5758

Bar Mizwah 59

Educational Significance of Period Rites 59

Periods in School Life (Table) 5960

What Was Taught 6072

Industrial Education -. , 60

Music 61

Dancing 6162

Religion . . 6266



X TABLE OF CONTENTS.

PAGES

Holiness as the Ideal 62

Earliest Religious Education The Mezuzah 62

Religious Literature 63

Prayer 64

Festivals in the Home 64

The Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread 65

Morals 6667

Religious Basis 66

Virtues Emphasized Obedience 66 67

Manners 6& 72

Religious Basis 68

Simplicity, Meekness and Humility 69

Conversation, Whispering 69

Topics of Conversation 70

Curiosity 71

Table Manners Gluttony , 71

Ecclesiasticus on Table Manners 71

Neighbors 72

Hospitality \ 72

CHAPTER V.

EDUCATION IN SCHOOL AND SOCIETY AFTER THE EXILE 73108

Summary of Chapter 75

Educational Characteristics and Tendencies 76 79

Zeal for Education 76

Place of Religion and Morals in Post-Exilic Life and

Education 77

The Scribe as the Post-Exilic Educational Ideal 78

Physical Education Greek Influence 79

Who Was Taught 79

Teachers 8086

Decline of Priests and Prophets as Teachers 80

The Soferim or Scribes 80

Origin 81

The Ideal Scribe 82-33

Educational Services 84

Defects and Weaknesses 84

Rabbis . 84-85



TABLE OF CONTENTS. XI

PAGES

The Perushim or Pharisees 85

Origin Characteristics 85

Educational Institutions 86102

Rise of Universal Education 86

The Synagogue 8791

Origin and Spread 87

General Character and Purpose 87

Order of Service 8890

Educational Significance 90

Elementary Schools 9199

Origin and Extension . 91

Compulsory Education 92

Rival Claims of Simon ben Shetach and Joshua ben

Gamala 9295

Organization of Elementary Schools 95

a. Teachers : Numbers, Social Standing, Rewards 95

b. Aim of the Elementary School 96

c. Studies 97

d. Texts 98

e. Methods, Reviews, Incentives to Study 98

Results of Elementary Education 99

Schools of the Soferim 100102

Origin 100

Studies 100

a. The Halakah 101

b. The Hagadah : The Talmud 101

Methods . 101

Support 102

Festivals 103^-104

Origin, Number, Character 103

Table of Festivals 103104

Educational Significance 103

The Temple . - 104108

Influence Upon the Synagogue 104

Order of Service 105107

Educational Significance 107 108



Xll TABLE OF CONTENTS.



CHAPTER VI.



WOMAN AND THE EDUCATION OF GIRLS 109 116

Summary of Chapter Ill

Woman in the Home and in Society Ill

Social Status 112

Daughters Less Esteemed than Sons 113

Reverence and Respect for Women 113

Ideal of Womanhood 113115

Educational Institutions 115

Aim and Content of Education 116

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY 117 125

INDEX . 127134



CHAPTER I.

THE NATIVE OR PRE-EXILIC PERIOD.



THE NATIVE OR PRE-EXILIC PERIOD.

GENERAL SURVEY.

"For nearly two thousand years conceptions,
standards and ideals. . .originating in the spiri-
tual experience of the ancient Hebrews have in-
spired, rebuked, comforted and guided the na-
tions of an ever-extending Christendom." See
below, p. 4.

Summary of Chapter.

To the ancient Hebrews, Christendom owes the largest portion of
its religious and moral heritage. Our problem is to discover how
thislteritage arose, and what part education played in its development
and transmission.

The Hebrews were originally nomadic tribes. About 1150 B. O. 1
they invaded Palestine which they gradually conquered, meanwhile
advancing from nomadism to agricultural and industrial life. In Pal-
estine the various tribes united for a short time in a single monarchy.
This monarchy became divided about 933 B. C. into two rival king-
doms, Judah and Israel. Israel fell about 723 B. C. Judah continued
as a nation with varying fortunes until 70 A. D.

The history of Judah falls into two great periods, separated by
forty-eight years, 2 586-538 B. C., of enforced sojourn in Babylon,
commonly called the Exile. Prior to the Exile the Hebrews borrowed
much from foreign nations. Nevertheless, what they borrowed they
largely made over in accordance with their own native genius ; hence,
we call this period the Native Period.

INTRODUCTION.

As the Greeks and Romans may be said to have special-
ized unwittingly for the race, the former in intellectual

1 All dates prior to 586 B. C. must be considered approximate, see
below, notes 4 and 5.

2 Seventy years, if the Exile be considered (which it frequently is)
as continuing to the dedication of the second temple, 516 B. C.



4 EDUCATION IN ANCIENT ISRAEL.

culture and the latter in social institutions and law, so the
Hebrews may be described as the people who vicariously
Hebrairtn and created or evolved the major portion of our re-
psriatiarcitjr; %ious and moral heritage. One nation after
another through the channel of Hebrew experience has ap-
proached the Hebrew God of righteousness, and risen to
spiritual conceptions before unknown to it.

The early institutional divorce between Judaism and
Christianity and the continued independent existence of the
two has tended to obscure their original relationship. The
founder of Christianity was reared in a Jewish- home, went
to Jewish schools 8 and frankly based his sublimest teachings
;'pon those of the Hebrew prophets. For nearly two thou-
sand years conceptions, standards and ideals reborn in the
teachings and life of Jesus of Nazareth, but nevertheless
originating in the spiritual experience of the ancient He-
brews, have inspired, rebuked, comforted and guided "the
nations of an ever-extending Christendom.

What are the fundamental characteristics of Hebrew re-
ligion and morals, what part did education play in the devel-
opment of the religious and moral conscious-

The Problem. . .

ness of that race whose conceptions were des-
tined to dominate the spiritual life of a thousand alien
peoples and whose literary monuments have for centuries
served as primer and final text for Christendom? What
were the institutions, who were the teachers, what were the
methods through which this national consciousness and its
heritage of doctrines and ideals were stimulated, fostered,
preserved and transmitted? Before attempting to answer
these questions it may be well to recall the more important
periods in Hebrew history and to survey, however briefly,
a few of the most important events and movements con-
nected with each, as a basis for interpreting the educational
development of the Hebrews.

8 A. Edersheim, In the Days of Christ, Chap. VII, 118a; Martin
Seidel, In the Time of Jesus, pp. 122d-123a.



THE NATIVE OR PRE-EXILIC PERIOD.



TABLE I.

PERIODS IN HEBREW HISTORY.

I. Nomadism. From earliest beginnings to the conquest and
settlement of Palestine.

1. From earliest beginnings to invasion of Palestine, 1150
B.C.*

2. Period of the Judges: From 1150 B.C. or earlier to 1030
B.C.

II. Period of Monarchy.

1. Reign of Saul (at first over the tribe of Benjamin only)
1030-1010 B. C.

2. Reign of David, 1010-973 B. C.

3. Reign of Solomon, 973-933 B. C.
Monarchy divided 933 B. C.

III. Period of the Rival Monarchies Judah and Israel : From divi-
sion of the monarchy 933 B. C. to fall of the kingdom
of Israel, 723 B. C.

TABLE II.

PERIODS IN THE HISTORY OF JUDAH.

I. First Period of Home Rule: From the division of the mon-
archy, 933 B. C., to the beginning of the Babylonian Exile,
586 B. C.
II. Under Foreign Masters, 586-175 B. C.

1. Under Babylon, 586-538 B. C.

2. Under Persia, 538-333 B. C.

3. Under Greece, Egypt and Syria (Greek influence con-
tinuous), 332-175 B. C.

III. Home Rule Restored (Maccabean Period), 175-63 B.C.

IV. Under Rome : From Roman conquest, 63^B. C., to the fall of

Jerusalem, 70 A. D.

4 1230 B. C. is the approximate date given by many writers, see F.
Hommel, The Civilisation of the East, p. 80; James Frederick Mc-
Curdy, History, Prophecy and the Monuments, I, 225, sec. 183, gives
1160 B. C

5 See above, note 1. How widely historians differ will be seen by
comparing the dates in tables of H. P. Smith, Old Testament History,
pp. 499ff, with those of H. Graetz, History of the Jews, VI, 90ff.

6 722 is the date commonly given. 723 seems to be well substan-
tiated by the arguments of A. T. Olmstead, Western Asia in the Days
of S argon of Assyria, p. 45 and note 9.



6 EDUCATION IN ANCIENT ISRAEL.

The history of the Hebrews is the history of the rise,
development and final organization of a number of Semitic
Periods in tribes into a short-lived monarchy, the division
Hebrew History. Qf this monarc hy mto two states, Judah and

Israel, and the subsequent histories of these two separate
kingdoms. Tables I and II indicate the main periods in this
history.



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The periods in the history of Hebrew education neces-
sarily follow closely the .periods of political history, as



THE NATIVE OR PRE-EXILIC PERIOD. 7

changes in education are always closely related to political
and social changes. However, the uncertainty of our knowl-
Periods in edge concerning the time and origin of many
Hebrew Educa- educational changes forces us to be satisfied
with a somewhat loose division. The type
of dominant educational institution offers a concrete basis
for such a division. (Table III.)

HISTORICAL SURVEY OF THE NATIVE PERIOD.
It is, perhaps, between three and four thousand years
ago that a number of nomadic Semitic tribes, to be known
collectively to future generations as Israelites,

The Conquest. . . . ....

began making their way with their families,
flocks and herds into Palestine, that region of southwestern
Asia which lies between the eastern end of the Mediter-
ranean Sea and the northwestern border of the Arabian
desert. The fair and fertile country which they were enter-
ing and which they were destined to conquer was already in
the possession of a kindred people, the Canaanites, who
lived in walled cities and were much in advance of the in-
vading nomads in industries, social institutions and modes
of warfare.

The days of invasion and conquest are wrapt in ob-
scurity. It appears, however, that the process was long and
gradual, extending over several centuries. 8 Bloody conquest,
land purchase and intermarriage, all played a part. In the
end the Israelites were victorious and largely absorbed or
amalgamated their vanquished kinsmen. Meanwhile the
invaders had passed from the nomadism of the Arabian
deserts to a semi-nomadic, semi-agricultural life. Walled
cities became their homes. The tents of the desert were
given up for fixed abodes. 9

The new life and contact with the more advanced Cana-

8 See H. P. Smith, Old Testament History, pp. 73-86, for a critical
account of the Conquest.

P Chas. F. Kent, Biblical Geography and History, pp. 87-146, gives
a brief but clear historical survey of the invasion and settlement.



8 EDUCATION IN ANCIENT ISRAEL.

anites brought many changes, industrial, social, political,
intellectual and religious. "While hitherto not ignorant of
field-labor, they became now agriculturists with settled
abodes, houses, lands, vineyards and olive yards. Plowing,
in simple fashion, sowing and reaping, threshing and win-
nowing, gathering in grain and fruits. . .were added to (their
former occupation of) raising cattle." 10 "It is probable that
.... (the Israelites) learned from. . . . (the Canaanites) not
only agriculture and the simple arts, but also their system
of weights and measures and the mode of writing." 11

During the earlier centuries of the Conquest the various
tribes continued to maintain, independent of one another,
Period of the much of the tribal organization brought from
judges. the desert. "The sheiks have a certain in-

fluence due to the purity of their blood, but the influence
is never sufficient to coerce the freeman of the tribe." 12
Nevertheless, "as well defined communities arose, under the
influence of tfre example of Canaanite cities, municipal or-
ganizations were effected ; and we read of 'elders of the
city' (Judges viii. 16) ." 11 This condition of affairs led to a
period known as the Period of the Judges, characterized
by the leadership of tribal heroes in the still independent
and ununited tribes. "Out of the need of concerted action
in time of war grew the tribal champion whose leadership
extended beyond that of his own tribe ; and out of the
champion grew the 'judge' or arbiter in time of peace." 11

It was only a step for a tribe which had been accus-
tomed to follow tribal heroes as leaders in time of war and
Tribal Kings and to turn to them to settle disputes in times of
Monarchy of Saul p ea ce, to elect such a hero as Gideon, Jeph-
thah or Abimelech to a permanent position of leadership
and bestow upon him the title of king. This was probably
the manner in which the first step toward establishing a

10 Ismar J. Peritz, Old Testament History, p. 114.

11 Ibid., p. 118, p. 117.

12 H. P. Smith, Old Testament History, p. 88.



THE NATIVE OR PRE-EXILIC PERIOD.

monarchy was^taken through the election of Saul as the
king of the tribe of Benjamin. 13 Saul's sway apparently
came in time to include several tribes, but accurate knowl-
edge as to the extent of his domain is lacking. 14 What he
did for its organization is also left untold. 15

The next Israelite to gain an intertribal kingship of
importance was David of the tribe of Judah. Brought to
Reign of David the court of Saul in the capacity of court
1010-973 B. c. minstrel, he rose so rapidly in public favor
that he aroused the jealousy of the king and was obliged
to flee from court. He now placed himself at the head of
a band of outlaws (1 Samuel xxii. 2). 16 Recognition of
his courage, prowess and ability as a leader eventually led
to his election as king by the tribal sheikhs assembled at
Hebron, "the capital of Caleb or possibly of an alliance of
clans afterward merged into Judah." 17

At the beginning of David's kingship, Israel was an
aggregation of tribes "only feebly conscious of their com-
mon blood. Some of them were largely made up of Cana-
anite elements. Their jealousies of each other were noto-
rious." 18 David conquered the Jebusite city of Jerusalem
and made it the capital of his kingdom. His ambition fell
short of nothing less than the union of all the tribes of
Israel into a single kingdom with himself as king. 19 He
succeeded in laying the foundations of such a monarchy.
His position as king of Israel appears to have received defi-
nite recognition by outside powers as well as by the electing
tribes. The royal court was much more thoroughly organ-
ized than under Saul. Not the least important of his acts

13 Ibid., p. 116. 14 Ibid., p. 121.

15 For an excellent brief summary of the conclusions of scholars
concerning Hebrew history down to the establishment of the mon-
archy consult George Aaron Barton, A Sketch of Semitic Origins, pp.
270d-275b.

16 H. P. Smith, Old Testament History, pp. 129-130.

Ibid., p. 133. i 8 Ibid., pp. 142-143. Ibid., p. 137.



10 EDUCATION IN ANCIENT ISRAEL.

was the establishment at Jerusalem of the royal sanctuary
or king's chapel, destined to develop some three hundred
years later into the national temple and sole lawful place
of sacrifice.

In the year 973 B.C., shortly before his death, David
proclaimed his son Solomon king. The new monarch as-
Reign of Solo- sumed toward his subjects the attitude, not
mon 973-933 B.C. o f an electoral king of free tribesmen, but of
an oriental despot. Ignoring the traditional division into
consanguineous tribes, Solomon divided his territory into
geographical districts, each ruled over by a pasha. 20 Solo-
mon was the victim of the building mania "that possesses
all 'grand monarchs.' " He not only rebuilt the capital but
fortified various other cities. 21 He gloried in wealth, costly
buildings and luxury. His resplendent palace and temple
were of a beauty and costliness so unprecedented as soon to
become symbols of regal grandeur. He entered the world of
commerce and built his own ships and sent his own servants
under Phoenician masters to trade with Arabia. In order
to carry out his worldly ambitions Solomon oppressed his
subjects in a manner scarcely to be endured by the descend-
ants of the free-born sons of the desert. He levied heavy
taxes upon them, compelled them to serve without pay in
the erection of public works and forced them to labor in
alien states.

To Solomon is ascribed a reign of forty years. The
dissatisfaction and unrest created by his policies found ex-
Division of the P res sion in an appeal addressed to his son
Kingdom Rehoboam, upon his accession to the throne.

The appeal was in vain. Rehoboam was deaf
to all entreaties (1 Kings xii). Revolt broke out. Only
two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, remained loyal to the reign-
ing house. These two formed the kingdom of Judah with
Jerusalem as its capital. The remaining tribes set up the

20 Ibid., p. 157. 21 Ibid., p. 158.



THE NATIVE OR PRE-EXILIC PERIOD. 11

kingdom of Israel in the north with Shechem 22 as its capital
and Jeroboam as its king.

Israel, after a checkered history covering about two
hundred years (933-723 B.C.), fell under the onslaught of
Fail of Israel the Assyrian kings, Shalmaneser IV (d. 727
723 B.C. B.C.) and Sargon (reigned 727-705 B.C.).

Many of its inhabitants were scattered throughout the prov-
inces of Assyria and were absorbed by the surrounding pop-
ulation. A similar fate appears to have attended those whom
Sargon allowed to remain in Palestine. The kingdom of
Israel had fallen to rise no more.

The history of Judah extends from its establishment


1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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