History of Education. E. L. Kemp

Nathaniel Butler
1902 The Elementary School Teacher  
of Pedagogy in the State Normal School, East Stroudsberg, Pennsylvania. [Lippincott's Educational Series.] Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, I902. Pp. xxiii+385. $I. STUDENTS of education, and the general reader as well, have reason to be glad that the fact that there were several good histories of education already in hand did not deter Professor Kemp from the task of adding one to the number. Probably the book will be read with especial interest by those to whom it comes as a survey of ground
more » ... survey of ground already familiar to them in detail. It leaves upon such a reader an impression not unlike that made by a swift tour in the companionship of an intelligent inhabitant, through country traversed previously and with more detailed examination. Yet its value will be almost as great as a guide-book to one yet unfamiliar with the ground. The author's treatment of his subject is clear, interesting, rapid-almost too rapid for the class of readers for whom the book seems intended. It interests; it points out all the important and significant features; it helps, though not always, to an intelligent understanding of causes and results. But the reader wishes to supplement all this, and he must do so, even to gain the ends the author proposes. The value of the book would be considerably increased by a few references to collateral material and by a few explanatory notes. For example, to readers who stand in need of the sort of information afforded by these pages the brief statement is not luminous that "out of the combination [of Greek philosophic ideas with oriental religious conceptions] grew the neo-Platonic movement of the third century A. D." The reader is informed that in India " frequently older pupils assist in teaching the younger ones. This suggested the monitorial system to a famous English teacher who introduced it into England." It would be more satisfactory and instructive to the student beginning the study of the history of education if Dr. Andrew Bell had been named instead of "a famous English teacher," and if at least a reference had been given to p. 280 of the book, where Dr. Bell's enterprise is explained. These cases illustrate what seems to us slight but frequently recurring blemishes. No doubt it is an excellent quality in a book that it sends its reader in search of wider information than it affords. In this direction the value of Professor Kemp's book is considerably enhanced by the bibliography that follows the text. Beginning with the earliest times, education among the oriental nations is treated in five short chapters, not because, in the opinion of the author, these made important contributions to western education, but because " the systems are very interesting, and the development of them was so simple that the understanding of them is easy and serves as a helpful introduction to the study of the advanced and complicated systems of the more progressive peoples." The best of these sketches is that of education in Persia, whose superiority to other eastern nations, save the Hebrews, is shown to consist in her loftier ethical conceptions. After the oriental nations, Greece and Rome are treated briefly, and then follows, within eight pages, a masterly study of "The Founder of Christianity" as a teacher. Here for the first time we detect the modern 135 This content downloaded from 080.082.
doi:10.1086/453162 fatcat:drphuabbcnetlix3w77p6fkcnu