B B Warfield on Classical Education


I am a teacher of Christian theology, and as the principle source book of Christian Theology is a Greek book, and a large part of its literature is written in Latin, I am predisposed to desire that Greek and Latin should have a large place in academic training. I fully recognize, however, that the training given in our academic institutions should not be determined by the needs of any one profession. Its primary object, in my view, in fact is not so much to impart knowledge as to form mind; and it is because I have a clear and, as I believe, well founded conviction that a sound classical training provides the best means at our disposal for a sound mental discipline that I am an earnest advocate of it. Were we for any reason debarred from the use of the classics, I have little question that much the same training which we now obtain from them could be obtained without them. But neither do I have that much doubt that the same training could not be obtained without them without a larger expenditure of both labor and effort. So long as we have the choice in a free field the classical course, in my judgment, should be chosen as supplying the best means as yet known of general mental discipline. What I chiefly value in it is the quality of mind which it produces.

– Benjamin B. Warfield

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