Thursday, July 02, 2020


A Reproach to the Modern World

Anthony Esolen, Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture (Washington: Regnery Publishing, 2017), p. 50 (on a schoolhouse in Orwell Corners, Prince Edward Island):
In their justified pride, the caretakers of the schoolhouse, now a museum piece of Canadiana, had collected actual lessons written up by the first students of the school in 1895. I don't think they offered these artifacts as a reproach to the modern world, but they surely were that. Two of the lessons stand out in my mind. Each took up a single sheet of paper. One of them was headed by a couple of verses of devotional poetry. Beneath the verses, the student had parsed every word in the verses, describing what part of speech it was, what grammatical form it bore (case, number, and gender for nouns and adjectives; person, number, tense, mood, and voice for verbs), what function it served in its clause, and what relation it bore to other words. The student's performance was entirely correct. The other lesson was obviously an introductory one: the student wrote a noun in its singular and plural forms, in the nominative, genitive, dative, and accusative cases. This second student was clearly one of the younger children, as you could tell from an occasional roughness in his printing. The word in question was doulos: Greek for "servant." The children were evidently studying koine Greek, so as to be able to read the New Testament in the original tongue.
Hat tip: Wrath of Gnon.

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