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given in the schools of Germany is out of harmony with the science and philosophy of the modern world. In place of the existing system the Bremen teachers would substitute a course of moral instruction based on modern experience and drawing its materials chiefly from modern literature. They would separate the moral instruction wholly from its religious connections and would bring it into relation with the regular studies of the course rather than deal with it as itself an independent branch of instruction. The memorial closes with the general outline of a plan for moral instruction in the schools of the city.

Meanwhile a more limited movement in the same city was pointing the way to a like demand for the exclusion of religious teaching from the schools. In February, 1905, a group of Bremen teachers organized the “ Vereinigung für Schulreform” and immediately devoted their thought to this problem. They sent out a letter of inquiry to many educational workers throughout Germany, asking for opinions as to the abolition of religious instruction. Some eighty replies were received; and these documents, together with the letter of inquiry and the Denkschrift of the Bremen teachers, are printed in the volume Religionsunterricht? Achtzig Gutachten (Leipzig, 1906), edited by Fritz Gansberg, one of the Bremen teachers. Among the testimonies are many from men and women prominent in the educational work and intellectual life of Germany—the late Theodor Barth of Berlin, Wilhelm Bode, Professor Ernst Haeckel, Eduard von Hartmann, Paul Heyse, and others almost equally prominent. Nearly all who contribute to the volume favor the dropping of religion from the schools, and bear witness to the strength of this radical wing of the reform party.

The Senate of Bremen did not give its approval to the radical proposals of the teachers, though the Denkschrift moved that body to undertake the more necessary measures of reform. But the Bremen manifesto became at once widely influential in other parts of the land, and has served as the point of departure for much subsequent discussion and agitation. In some states and cities, as in Bremerhaven, Hamburg, and Leipzig, its programme for the total abolition of Religionsunterricht has met with considerable favor; but it has served quite as largely to stimulate opposition to all change or to give the impulse to more temperate reforms.

* Päd. Jahresschau I. 397.

Immediate discussion of the Bremen plan concerned itself largely with the substitution of moral instruction for religious instruction in the schools. As the organ of the Bremen teachers, the journal Roland has served to disseminate their ideas. For the polemical literature called out by the Bremen proposals, see Päd. Jahresschau I. 397-401.


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The most noteworthy manifestation of the reform spirit definitely influenced by the Bremen agitation showed itself in the neighboring free city of Hamburg. For some years the “Lehrergruppe im Hamburger Protestantenverein " had been studying the problem. In May, 1907, on the occasion of a general revision of the course of study, the teachers in sympathy with the Bremen plan laid before the Hamburger Schulsynode—the general assembly of the teachers— the proposal to give their support to the abolition of religious instruction. The proposal was defeated by a vote of 199 to 149, thus placing the Hamburg teachers in opposition to the more radical policies of Bremen. Thereupon the Lehrergruppe im Hamburger Protestantenverein came back to the problem, and later in 1907 published its proposals for the reform of the religious instruction. The fundamental principle of the proposed reform was stated in these words: “ The point of departure for religious instruction is formed on the one hand by the position and needs of the child's mind and on the other by the demands of developing science and culture." The purpose of religious teaching is defined as “the awakening and encouragement of the religious-ethical life of the pupil on the basis of the gospel, with collateral reference to the Old Testament and to the historical development of Christianity.”

On this basis the Entwurf outlined a course of study for the eight years of the Volksschuleone hour a week for the first three years (Unterstufe), two hours a week for the fourth and fifth years (Mittelstufe), and two hours a week for the last two years (Oberstufe). The Lehrplan is conservative in character, its materials being drawn chiefly from the Bible, with considerable use of legends, tales, and poems from other sources. The course is worked out on the concentric circle” theory so prevalent in German pedagogy. In the fifth school year there is given a “ simple life picture of Jesus; and in the seventh year the life of Christ is traversed more in detail, constituting the entire subject matter of the year's work. In the eighth year the apostolic period is studied, and a few characters from later church history are brought into the course—Boniface, St. Francis, Luther, and other reformers. The Hamburg plan was thus at once broadly Christian and Protestant.

The publication of the Lehrplan at once called out opposition of two sorts in the city. A group of Hamburg pastors published a pro

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Päd. Jahresschau II. 209; Sorgen, Bedenken, Wünsche, 9. As early as 1888 a considerable element among the Hamburg teachers favored the abolition of RU. Gansberg, Religionsunterricht ? Achtzig Gutachten, 23.

Entwurf eines Lehrplans für den RU. in der Sklase. Volksschule. Hamb. 1907. For good summary, see Päd. Jahresschau II. 219-220.

test against the proposed changes in the course of study, charging the innovators with the attempt to destroy the evangelical Lutheran character of the system, and with opening the door to all kinds of dangerous doctrines. The pastors protested in particular against the entire omission of the Shorter Catechism of Luther from the course. “For the sake of our schools and of our people, the Bible and the catechism must remain the source and norm of religious-ethical instruction in the Volksschule. Because the people themselves are predominantly Lutheran, the instruction must remain Lutheran, and not merely Christian or religious.” The pastors object strongly to the introduction of modern theology into the instruction, and illustrate their objection by a detailed critique of the proposed plan. They insist that the primary purpose of religious teaching shall continue to be the preparation of the child for membership in the church, and hence the thorough grounding of the child's faith in the “ saving truths” of the gospel. The contention of the Hamburg pastors was, therefore, for the retention of the present confessional instruction in all its essential features.

In reply to this challenge, the Hamburg teachers issued a second pamphlet, Freiheit und Recht, in which they defended themselves against the charge of irreligion and tried to make their position plainer.

The opposition to the Entwurf of the Hamburg teachers found expression in another way. A group of the more evangelical teachers, organized under the name of the “ Lehrer-Union," put forth a critique of the proposed course of study, accompanying their critique with a plan of their own. Their position is of the most conservative nature. They condemn the proposals of the majority for reducing the number of hours of religious instruction, for dropping the catechism, and, above all, for bringing the religious instruction under the influence of modern theology. They object to the contemplated plan as not calculated to promote the religious growth of the child and as therefore bad pedagogically. And in conclusion this conservative wing of the Hamburg teachers brings forward a course of study of its own, laid down mostly on usual lines, but with a serious attempt to meet the current criticisms as to the amount, arrangement, and handling of the materials of instruction. The materials are drawn entirely from the Bible, the Shorter Catechism, and church history

and song.

* Behrmann et al., Sorgen, Bedenken, Wünsche, in Bezug auf den RU. in den öffentl. Schulen Hamburg8. 2te. Aufi. Hamb. 1907.

Hamburg, 1907. The contents of this treatise are briefly summarized in Päd. Jahresschau 11. 220. Denkscrift nebst Lehrplan-Entwurf für den

den Hamburgischen Volksschulen. Herausgegeben von der Hamburger Lehrer-Union. Hamburg, 1907.


As contrasted with the earlier movement in Bremen, it is obvious that the Hamburg propaganda worked on conservative lines, seeking not the abolition of religious teaching but such a reform of it as would bring it into harmony with modern thought and modern pedagogical standards. Like the Bremen plan, the movement in Hamburg did not get beyond the stage of discussion, since the school authorities of the city did not choose to put the recommendations of the teachers into effect. The Hamburg proposals have, however, attracted much attention and have contributed largely to the progress of general debate in Germany. The Hamburg teachers also have not given over their labors for reform, and during the past year have brought forward a new outline of a course of study embodying their maturer ideals. The materials of the new Lehrplan are drawn from the Bible, church history, and German poetry, art, and music, with a marked increase in the amount of the nonbiblical elements. In the eighth year the course offers systematic instruction in practical ethics.


Without attempting here to trace the progress of the reform ideas in Prussia, Bavaria, Württemberg, and the lesser States of the Empire, it may be said that in one form or another all parts of the land have felt the new impulses and have responded to them, each in its own way. In no other States, however, has the reform programme taken such definite and positive form as in the cities of Bremen and Hamburg and in the Kingdom of Saxony.

The Lehrerverein of the Kingdom of Saxony comprises about 14,000 members, divided into 77 district unions (Bezirksvereine), these again being subdivided into about 240 local branches (Zweigvereine). The national Lehrerverein of the Empire meets every two years, and is generally attended, although its voting membership is limited to the elected representatives of the district unions, comprising only 310 members.d By far the strongest district union in the Verein is that of Leipzig, embracing about 2,800 members.e

a The journal Der Säemann, Hamburg, is the organ through which the teachers have presented their ideas.

• The proposed course of study as prepared by a committee of the Hamburg Schulsynode is printed in Leipziger Lehrerzeitung, 16 Jahrg. 873-874, and discussed in do. 17 Jahrg. 178–179.

« The most general issue has been the abolition of clerical supervision. This question and the other problems involved will be considered in the latter part of this report.

& Rietschel, Zur Reform, 3. The Sächsische Schulzeitung is the organ of the national organization.

e The Leipziger Lehrerverein has its own organ in the Leipziger Lehrerzeitung, which has had a leading part in the present debate. The writer is much indebted to the files of this journal for material used in the report.

While for a long time the question of religious instruction has received attention from individuals and groups of individuals in Saxony, the beginnings of the present more active agitation date back to the annual meeting of the Lehrerverein at Dresden in 1905. At that meeting, after debating the problems of reform, the Verein appointed a committee of two to report a programme of reform measures, to be presented at the meeting of 1908. During the next three years the members of the committee, consisting of School Director Arnold, of Chemnitz, and Lehrer Arnold, of Pirna, worked out their proposals, having the assistance of their local unions in this task, and they presented a united report at the meeting in 1908.

The annual meeting of 1908 was held at Zwickau, on September 28 and 29, and was attended by upward of 4,000 teachers. The report of the committee was discussed, amended, and adopted, the vote being almost unanimous.d

The nine resolutions thus indorsed by the teachers of Saxony, since generally known as “die Zwickauer Thesen," have furnished the basis of all subsequent discussion.

They are as follows:

1. Religion is an essential subject of instruction and religious instruction an independent department (Veranstaltung) of the Volksschule.

2. Its task is to make the mind (Gesinnung) of Jesus live in the child.

3. The course of study and method of instruction must conform to the nature of the child mind, and the determination of these is exclusively the business of the school. The churchly oversight of religious instruction is to be abolished.

4. Only such subject-matter of instruction is to be considered as presents religious and ethical life clearly to the child. Religious instruction is essentially historical instruction. At the center is to stand the person of Jesus. Besides the appropriate Biblical materials, especial attention should be given to life pictures of the promoters of religious and ethical culture among our people, with particular reference to modern times. The experiences of the child are to be utilized in a profitable way.

5. The Volksschule must ex de systematic and dogmatic instruction. In the upper grades the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and the Lord's Prayer can be prescribed as an appropriate basis for a summary of the ethical ideas contained in the Christian religion. Luther's Catechism can not be the basis and point of departure for the religious instruction of the young. As an historical religious document and as the Evangelical-Lutheran creed, it is to be esteemed.

6. The religious matter to be learned should be remodeled and materially reduced in accordance with psychological-pedagogical principles, and the amount required should be lessened.

* Schulrat Bang, some of whose writings are cited below, has been particularly active for years in urging reform on conservative lines.

Rietschel, Zur Reform, 4; Sächs. Lehrerver., Die Umgestaltung des RU. 1. e Päd. Jahresschau III. 171 ; Sulze, Das rechte Verhältnis, 12.

& There were only twelve negative votes. The entire proceedings of the meeting were reported stenographically and are printed in Die Umgestaltung des RD. in den sächs. Volksschulen. Leipz. (1908).

. For the text of the theses, with comment, see Dic Umgestaltung, 30-43; for text alone, see Christiani, Die Zwick. Thesen, 5; Rietschel, Zur Reform, 4-5 ; Sulze, Das rechte Ver. hältnis, 12–13.

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