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By Bas Van Bommel

This booklet demanding situations the typical view that classical schooling in 19th-century Germany was once ruled through a revolutionary excellent known as "neohumanism." the existing perfect of schooling on the German Gymnasien used to be emphatically conventional and is healthier defined as classical humanism. additionally, this 19th-century classical humanism dynamically relating to smooth society and will hence be noticeable because the continuation of a residing culture.

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56 Since both his parents died when he was three years old, he grew up in very difficult circumstances under the guardianship of his step-grandparents. Being of lower middle class origin, a university career initially seemed an unlikely prospect. However, as his eminent talents were discovered at the Gelehrtenschule of Naumburg, he was encouraged to graduate. Thanks to a small inheritance from his parents he could afford to study theology, philosophy and philology in Leipzig. As a student, he was extremely poor and had to make some money as a private tutor.

24 Yet it is a pressing question how the ‘neohumanistic’ ideal of education endorsed by 19th-century academic philologists related to the practice of Gymnasium education. Which reasons do we have to believe that ‘neohumanism’ as represented by the above group of well-known educationalists made its entry into the schools? ”25 At the ‘neohumanistic ’ Gymnasium classical Greek was much more prominently represented than it was in the past. 26 With the Prussian reforms of 1809 – 1819, the requirements for ancient Greek were pitched exceptionally high.

Finally, the gradual decline of the ‘neohumanistic’ ideal from the 1830s onwards is closely connected to the transformation of the humanistic Gymnasium into a training ground for officials of the modern bureaucratic state. 46 The current tendency to look upon the late 18th and 19th centuries chiefly from a perspective of modernity is found among historians of widely different signature and has been frequently observed by theorists of historiography, most notably by Arno Mayer in The Persistence of the Old Regime (1981).

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