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From 'Humanist' to 'Godly'?: The Changing Social Function of Education in Early Modern English Grammar Schools

Hansen, Emily (2015) From 'Humanist' to 'Godly'?: The Changing Social Function of Education in Early Modern English Grammar Schools. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the social function of England’s grammar schools between approximately 1480 and 1640, and how this changed due to the influences of both humanism and religious reform. It explores the grammar school curriculum, including instruction in Latin grammar and in rhetoric, as well as the teaching of Greek, religious instruction, and the general ‘experience‘ of attending school in the early modern period; it also addresses the process of founding and administering a school, the role of the schoolmaster, and the overall purpose of grammar school education, and who within society was able to benefit from that education. This thesis argues three main points: the first is that, despite becoming part of an educational ‘framework’ which was meant to help encourage religious understanding, the religious instruction found in a grammar school was in fact a very small proportion of the curriculum compared to the study of classical literature. Second, despite contemporary criticism of the humanist curriculum of grammar and rhetoric taught in the grammar schools, this curriculum remained in place continuously throughout the early modern period. Third, the definition of an ‘educated’ person was someone who had received instruction in the grammatical and rhetorical curriculum of the grammar schools, whether this was in a grammar school itself, or from a private tutor. The grammar school curriculum, and the ideal educated person which it was meant to produce, was kept very separate from other subjects, such as mathematics and modern languages and instruction in the vernacular. Grammar schools were put to use, officially, in upholding loyalty to the established church, and encouraging the spread of religious knowledge, yet the means to this end was primarily via the teaching of classical, secular, material.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Education, Schools, Humanism, Reformation
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.667693
Depositing User: Miss Emily Hansen
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2015 12:27
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2018 15:21
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10120

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