Page images

presbyterians and congregationalists for example have exacted as a rule a comparatively good general and professional education. The methodists on the other hand have not laid so much stress on intellectual training. They did not open a theological school till 1840 and even in 1899 the methodist seminaries did not report so many students as the presbyterian though in the United States there were probably about four times as many methodists as presbyterians. Almost from the date of their organization, however, the methodists have maintained a scheme of systematic theological examinations, and recently progress has been made toward a more thorough training. They now supervise with special care the scholastic work of their higher institutions of learning.

It is commonly asserted that many theological seminaries notwithstanding their comparatively high admission requirements do not maintain the educational standards required by other professional schools, and that students in these seminaries are seldom dropped through failure to reach a satisfactory intellectual standing. As the Rev. W. F. Whitaker of Albany says, however, we should not overlook the fundamental difference between theology and other professions. Physical disease demands everywhere the same skill but intellectual training necessary for the cure and care of souls varies with varying needs.

University relations—Some theologians magnify the advantages that arise from the pursuit of a common purpose in independent seminaries. In their judgment these seminaries accomplish much more thorough work in theology than that done for example at Oxford and Cambridge. Other writers emphasize the fact that “the theologian needs the contact of other minds just as do other specialists,” and that it is a mistake to divorce the study of theology from that of the other sciences. In the United States the seminaries long restricted the study of theology to candidates for the ministry; laymen neglected this field almost entirely and theologians on the other hand were narrowed by the seclusion of the seminary.

The work of independent theological schools is of course much more thorough than that which the secular colleges attempted with the aid of individual clergymen, but the isolation of these schools is a disadvantage when we compare them with some of the great universities abroad in which theology is the leading faculty. The recognition of this fact marked the third step in the development of theological education in this country. In 1819 Harvard' and in 1822 Yale’ organized separate theological faculties. In 1899, 46 colleges and universities had theological faculties, and 13 independent schools had entered into such relations with neighboring universities that their students were able to enjoy many university privileges. These friendly relations now exist, even between different denominations. The Episcopal theological school at Cambridge, Mass. has for example many of the advantages offered by Harvard university, the Episcopal divinity school at Philadelphia shares advantages offered by the University of Pennsylvania, the Union theological seminary in New York those afforded to the students of Columbia and New York universities. Present tendencies— Dr C. A. Briggs wrote as follows on theological education in 1892 : “The course in theology is still very defective in the great majority of the theological schools . . . but no one can deny real and great progress . . . The backbone of theological training is still Hebrew exegesis, Greek exegesis, church history, systematic theology, pastoral theology and homiletics . . . The scientific method is beginning to revolutionize theological education; but this movement is only in its beginnings." In recent years there has been a tendency to extend the elective system in seminary courses. Some theologians contend that these courses should be entirely elective; others,

1 The first professorship established in the university was the Hollis professorship of divinity, established in 1721. The differentiation of the divinity school from the college was very gradual.

* The chair of divinity was established in 1755.

that they should require a symmetric training in all fundamental branches, and that the choice of studies should be limited to those that are demanded by special tastes or by special lines of work. In an essay on the education of protestant ministers, published in the Princeton review in 1883, and republished in 1898 in Educational reform, President Eliot gives the following suggestions touching this matter: “The subjects which in our day should be set before a candidate for the ministry are divisible into two classes: those which every candidate should master, and those from which every candidate should make a limited selection. The preliminary subjects which every student of theology should in my judgment be required to master are as follows: 1 Languages: Greek (including New testament Greek), Latin, Hebrew and German 2 English literature, with practice in writing, and study of style 3 The elements of psychology 4 The elements of political economy 5 Constitutional history, or the history of some interesting period of moderate length 6 Science: botany, zoology, or geology, studied in the laboratory and the field. The requisitions in the languages other than English are the only ones in this list which are now habitually enforced in theological seminaries.”

“Having finished the preliminary required studies, the candidate for the ministry is ready to enter upon the advanced studies which may properly be called professional. Since preaching is to be his most important function, he will naturally give a good share of his time to homiletics and the practice of writing and speaking. The other subjects which are now included under the comprehensive term “theology’ or ‘divinity' may be grouped as follows:

1 Semitic studies: linguistic, archeologic and historical 2 New testament criticism and exegesis 3 Ecclesiastical history 4 Comparative religion or historic religions compared 5 Psychology, ethics, and the philosophy of religion 6 Systematic theology, and the history of Christian doctrine 7 Charitable and reformatory methods, and the contest of Christian society with licentiousness, intemperance, pauperism and crime.”

“Any three of these seven groups thoroughly studied, in addition to homiletics and the preliminary required studies, would in my judgment give a far better training for the protestant ministers of our day than is now offered in any theological seminary in my knowledge.”

In this essay Pres. Eliot deals only “with the surroundings and mental furnishing of the minister, not with his inspiration." He does not maintain that there is no need of uneducated ministers or that men of genius are dependent on systematic training or that “sensibility, earnestness and piety" are not the most essential qualities. He does say, however, that men of genius are rare and that it is not the business of universities and theological seminaries to provide “uninstructed exhorters.”

3 LAW Early law schools—The first American law school was founded at Litchfield, Ct. in 1784 and discontinued in 1833. Though not connected with any university it seems to have made an excellent record. Of Io.23 graduates, 5o became members of congress, 15 U. S. senators, 40 judges of the higher state courts, Io governors of states, 5 cabinet officers, 2 justices of the federal supreme court, 1 vice-president of the United States and several foreign ministers. A course of lectures in law was delivered in the College of Philadelphia in 1791 by James Wilson who had been appointed professor of law in that institution, but his work was discontinued before the close of the second course. In 1797 James Kent made a similar attempt at Columbia, but he gave only one course of lectures. The Harvard law school, established in 1817, was the earliest school in the country connected with a university and authorized to confer degrees in law. The course was lengthened to 3 years in 1877. There were no examinations for the degree till 1871, and none for admission till 1877. At the beginning of the year 1897 the rule came into force by which only graduates of approved colleges and persons qualified to enter the senior class of Harvard college are admitted as regular students. The Yale law school was established in 1824, that of the University of Virginia in 1825 and the Cincinnati law school in 1833. Development of law schools since 1858— Law schools had exercised little influence on the legal profession in this country up to the time of the opening of the Columbia law school in 1858. The extinct Litchfield school and the unsuccessful attempts at the college of Philadelphia and Columbia constitute the record up to 1800. 3 of the existing schools were established between 1801 and 1825, 7 between 1826 and 1850, 24 between 1851 and 1875, 50 between 1876 and 1900. The growth of the Columbia law school was quite

« PreviousContinue »