Date of Award

Spring 1973

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Collins, Peter M.

Second Advisor

Dupuis, A. M.

Third Advisor

Nordberg, Robert B.


The specific purpose of this study is to provide a detailed description of the first Christian schools in regard to their origin, curriculum, methods of instruction, pupils, and teachers. While histories of Western education have dealt with these early schools, they have done so in a summary fashion. Therefore, it may be said that this study aims to do more thoroughly what they have done summarily. At the same time, it is hoped that this study of the first schools of the Church will make a small but useful contribution to the study of Christian culture. Western civilization has drawn upon three cultural sources in its development: the Judea-Christian culture, the Graeco-Roman culture, and the indigenous culture of the European peoples. But to some extent, the cultural legacy of each of these sources has been either neglected or exploited. The neglect of the Judea-Christian heritage has been such that William G. Pollard has remarked: " our whole civilization has in effect lost its capacity to respond to its Judea-Christian heritage." While that neglect cannot be undone, it does not have to be continued. Christopher Dawson in The Crisis of Western Education writes: "It is therefore necessary for educators to make a positive effort to exorcise the ghost of this ancient error and to give the study of Christian culture the place it deserves in modern education." By this, however, he does not mean a study only of the artistic achievements of that culture but a study which would focus chiefly upon the social institutions and values of Christian culture in every age. But certainly, the schools of the early Church belong to such social institutions. Therefore, I entertain the hope that this study of the first Christian schools will be of some help in the study of Christian culture, one source of Western civilization...



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