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fessional character of the instruction in religion. In Saxony, as probably throughout Germany, official action does not follow closely upon the desires of the teachers.


Summing up the situation in Saxony a year and a half since the Zwickau meeting, there has been a thorough arousal of public interest in the problem, a broad and penetrating discussion of the great questions at stake, and the gradual shaping of a public sentiment which must result sooner or later in positive and helpful reforms. Men of all parties are agreed that reform is necessary; they differ only as to the method and direction of reform. The earnest contests of the year have cleared the atmosphere and narrowed the struggle down to the larger essentials, and in the last months the center of contest has shifted from the public arena to the legislative forum, where the issue must at length be fought out. It remains for the second part of this report to define more particularly what these larger problems are, as they have emerged in the course of the debate.



As noted above, the progress of the debate has revealed a general demand for the revision of religious instruction in the public schools. Very few would advocate the retention of the present system without modification. In that degree there is a positive consensus of opinion which must ultimately manifest itself in practical results.

Among men of larger outlook in Germany there is also a growing sense of the need of cooperation among all the interests concerned in the work of reform. While rivalries and jealousies make more clamor, the deeper feeling of common interest and mutual dependence more truly represents the conditions. The serious, capable leaders on both sides are seeking common ground. Material changes will

4 The question of the confessional versus the nonconfessional school occupies a very large place in the public debates of the Landtag. See references above. The resolutions adopted by the Representative Assembly of the Sächsischer Lehrerverein at Dresden, January 3, 1910, indicate that while the ponconfessional school is the ideal of the teachers, they realize that the time is hardly ripe for it. On the question of pressing at once for the nonconfessional school, the vote stood 184 to 149 against. Leipz. Lehrerzeit. 17 Jahrg, 312–313. See the same journal, Beilage to No. 16, 9-18, for the debate in full and the resolutions adopted. Obviously Saxony, with its enormous predominance of the Lutheran population, is not ready to break with the confessional school. But the movement is rapid in that direction.

In Germany at the present moment there is a very pronounced impulse toward school reform all along the line. Päd. Jahresschau I. xiii.

not come without discord and strife, but in the main the advance will be toward a solution which unites more than it divides.

The greater problems involved in the present situation may be considered as

A. Pedagogical and administrative.
B. Fundamental and ultimate.


ADAPTATION OF THE INSTRUCTION TO THE CAPACITY OF CHILDREN. At all stages of the discussion both sides have appealed freely to pedagogical principles” in support of their respective positions. There has been much talk of Herbart, of pedagogical psychology, and the like. The teachers have urgently kept at the front the demand that in religious instruction, as in other studies, the subject matter and the method be adapted to the capacity of the child, in accordance with modern pedagogical ideas. They and their supporters have worked out numerous Lehrpläne, or courses of study, in the endeavor to reconstruct the religious curriculum on pedagogical lines. The extremists among them, taking the position that religion is wholly a matter for adults, would deny the.subject any place in the school programme; but these are a relatively small group. Most teachers and educational workers urge only that the teaching of religion be fitted to the receptive capacity of the child and work for the reconstruction of the curriculum on those lines. They criticize the current courses and methods in religious instruction as presenting to the child subjects far beyond his comprehension, and in such a manner as to arouse no response of his own nature. They contend that the responsiveness of the child is the touchstone of success in teaching, and that this truth is peculiarly pertinent when the subject of instruction is so vital and so personal.

The conservative churchly party, on the other hand, maintains that in religious teaching as in all else the child must, in the nature of the case, learn many things which only the future can make fully plain and comprehensible to him. They argue that to withdraw from the educational system all elements which are thus essentially investments in future good would be to render it poor and barren. The vital concern of the school, as they see it, is to fill the mind and heart of the

. The irenic, open-minded tone of many of the clergy, even when earnestly opposed to radical reform, is a hopeful sign.

• Zwickau Theses, No. 3: “ The coure of study and the method of instruction must conform to the nature of the child-mind"; No. 6: “ The religious matter to be learned should be remodeled and materially reduced in accordance with psychological-pedagogical principles". For a sober discussion of the principles involved see Franke, Der Kampf um den RU. 72-96 (Kind und Religion). See also Eberhard, Die wicht, Reformbestreb, 31-36.

« The statement of Professor Friedr. Paulsen is fairly representative: “The general exclusion of Religionsunterricht from the school is impossible ; on the contrary its reconstruction is imperative." Rein, stimmen II. 33.

child with great truths which his own growing experience may interpret and illuminate. And they find in this method no breach with sound pedagogical principles.

The effect of the debate, as thus wrought out, has been to deepen in all minds the already profound interest in the laws of sound teaching, and good must come of it as applied to religious teaching and to the other branches of the modern curriculum.


The current discussions give large place to the selection and arrangement of the Lehrstoff—the subject matter of instruction. Leaving to one side the radicals who would exclude all religious considerations from the schoolroom, there are endless divergences of opinion as to the materials to be used. Only the more essential aspects can be considered here.

The materials of religious instruction as at present constituted are drawn from five sources: The Bible, the catechism, church history, hymnology, and general literature. The liberalizing tendency has shown itself in the gradual growth of the last-named element, but it still constitutes an altogether minor factor in the average school curriculum. The Bible and the catechism continue to furnish the greater part.

In the distinctive field of Bible study many problems are in debate—the right proportions of Old Testament and New Testament, the relative emphasis on historical and devotional, the question of the “ Schulbibel,"d and so on. But the more vital issues here relate to the interpretation of the Bible, rather than to selection and arrangement.

Of most concern is the question whether the Bible shall supply the chief materials or not. In that matter there is evident a tendency to reduce the amount of biblical Lehrstoff, but to improve the quality by more judicious selection. Beyond a certain point the churchly party resists such reduction, since its interest calls for a broad knowledge of the Bible on the part of the child, as preparation for confirmation and for membership in the church. At this point the contestants take sharpest issue. The selection of materials depends on the ultimate aim of instruction. The extreme radicals aim only

a In many ways it is manifest that this controversy as to the place and method of religious instruction has served as a powerful stimulus to general pedagogical science.

For the place this matter occupies in the current debate in Saxony, see p. 18 above.

"An excellent manual for the work in church history is Reiniger, Präparationen. The series of Reukauf und Heyn also provides a Kirchengeschichte.

4 Whether to use in the schools a book of selections instead of the whole Bible. Numerous Schulbibel have been prepared, but the use of them has hardly become general. See list in Meltzer, Verzeichnis, 52–53. Among the best known are the “ Biblische Lesebücher" of Reukauf and Heyn. For comments on the Schulbibel question see Eberhard, Die richt. Bestreb. 28; Franke, Der Kampf um den RU. 86 : Scherer, Führer II, 66-69. See also the discussion of the question on p. 24 of this report.

. For discussion of aims, see B, page 35.

at moral character, and would exclude nearly or quite all biblical literature as too much implicated in dogmatic issues; the liberal revisionists aim at the general development of religious life and character, and would use such biblical selections as contribute effectively to that end; the conservatives aim at thorough grounding in the confessional standards and preparation for membership in the church, and would hold fast to the Bible as necessary to that result."

The teachers of Saxony, as they have defined themselves in the Zwickau articles and in their proposed Lehrplan, wish to keep instruction distinctively Christian but not confessional or ecclesiastical, and in consequence assume toward the Bible a respectful but hardly conventional attitude. The theses nowhere advocate the predominant use of biblical materials. There is in them no thought of a systematic training in the Bible, nor does any such ideal underlie the more recent plans of courses of study advocated by the teachers of Saxony.

There is thus a distinct line of cleavage between those who seek to produce in the child a general awakening of the religious instincts and those who, through the use of the Bible, seek to direct the religious instincts into Christian and confessional lines. As vary these divergent aims, so vary the selection and use of matter from the sacred scriptures.

In the present controversy, however, the problem of the Bible is quite overshadowed by the problem of the catechism. The Shorter Catechism of Luther, dating from 1529, consists of five parts, comprising in order the Ten Commandments, the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the “ Sacrament of Holy Baptism," and the “Sacrament of the Altar” (the Communion). Luther's explanations, arranged in the form of question and answer, form far the larger part of the catechism, and were definitely designed for memorizing. The learning of the document in all its parts is generally required of the children in the Volksschule.

* Intermediate between the several groups there are of course countless diversities of opinion.

Zwickau Theses, No. 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." These sentences imply the free use of the Bible but do not prescribe it. Reference may be made once more to the volume Im Strome des Lebens and its use of Bible passages. See page 20. See also the comment on p. 23 above.

For a concise account of the debate on the Catechism question see Päd. Jahresschau II. 216–219; III. 173, 176-177. The current literature is very large. Among noteworthy treatments are: (1) Against the Catechism : most of the papers in Rein, stimmen ; Arzt, Welche Mängel, 15-38; Lentz, Der mod. RU. 27-32, 75-82; Reukauf, Didaktik des ev. RU. 187-229; Scherer, Führer II. 69-83. (2) For the Catechism : Bang, Zur Ref. des RU. 23-27; do., Grundlinien, 29-36 ; Braasch, Stoffe und Probl. 167-221 ; Dietterle, Die Ref. des RU. 60-64 ; Franke, Der Kampf um den RU. 87-92 ; Rietschel, Zur Ref. des RU. 22-46; Trarbach, Ref. des RU. 26-28, 39-98; Wilcke, Der kleine Katech, Luthers; Leipz. Lehrerzeit, 17 Jahrg. 14-15. For the Catechism problem in the Catholic schools of Germany see Päd. Jahresschau 1. 170-177 ; II. 233–241.

4 For English translation see Schaff, Creeds of Christendom I. 74–92.

The opposition to catechism instruction attacks it at three points: First, that its subject-matter is not adapted to the needs of children; second, that it gives support to an outworn system of doctrine; third, that the memory work is an excessive burden. The catechism question thus lies at the heart of the reform movement and is a cardinal issue. Aside from the pronounced conservatives, practically all parties are united in the endeavor to exclude the catechism from the schools. That demand was included in the programme of the Hamburger Protestantenverein. The pronouncements of the Zwickau Theses on the subject are clear and definite. Even those who would retain the catechism call for a radical reduction in the amount of memory work and a thorough reform in the methods of instruction. The required memory work is the bugbear of both teachers and pupils, and is clearly responsible for much of the dislike of the subject on the part of both. The memory work includes Bible passages, hymns, etc., as well as catechism, but the latter undoubtedly lays the heaviest burdens borne by the schools.9

a As examples of the relative proportions of text and comment may be cited the following typical passages :

THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT: Thou shall not kill.- What does this mean? Answer: We should so fear and love God as not to do our neighbor any injury or harm in his body, but help and befriend him in all bodily troubles. Schaff, Creeds, i. 75.

THE SECOND PETITION: Thy kingdom come.-- What does this mean? Answer: The kingdom of God comes indeed of itself, without our prayer; but we pray in this petition that it may come also to us. How can this be done ? Answer: When our heavenly Father gives us his Holy Spirit, so that by his grace we believe his holy Word, and live a godly life here in time, and hereafter in eternity. Schaff, Creeds, I. 81.

The child is required to learn thoroughly both the texts and the answers to the questions, Class-room work consists mainly of memory drill on these passages.

» Professor Rein, of Jena, in summing up the “ Stimmen” he has collected, lays down as his first principle the statement : “ Instruction in the Catechism does not belong in the school curriculum either in the lower or the higher grades. It is wholly the affair of the church.” Rein, stimmen II. 51.

The Hamburg teachers would keep the Shorter Catechism as an historical document, but not otherwise. Entuurf eines Lehrplans, 2. The more conservative Lehrer-Union retains the catechism in its Lehrplan. See also Sorgen, etc., for defensive argument. The latest Lehrplanentwurf of the Hamburg teachers excludes the catechism. Leipz. Lehrerzeit. 17 Jahrg. 179.

& Zwickau Theses, No. 5: “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." For trenchant criticism of the fifth thesis see Rietschel, Zur Reform des RU. 22-46. As noted in Part I., the Lehrplan indorsed by the Saxon reform excludes the catechism.

• Resolutions of the Meissner Landessynode, No. 5: “In Catechism instruction it regards a change in the method of treatment and in the amount to be memorized as necessary. But it wishes to know that the teaching of youth is well grounded in the spirit and confession of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, and maintains that for this purpose the popular Evangelical Lutheran confession, the Shorter Catechism of Luther, cannot be replaced."

1 The literature of the subject is saturated with protests against the excessive memorizing. Various writers quote the words of Peter Rosegger : “ It seems as if the present instruction in the Catechism were designed to make a man hate the religious world from his youth up." Arzt. Welche Mängel. See also Päd. Jahresschau III. 172; Franke, Der Kampf um den RI. 85.

Funke, Vorschläge, proposes a plan for reducing the memory work in the Saxon course of study.

. For the place of this subject in the Saxon debate, see p. 18 above,

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