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International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS) | Volume V, Issue XI, November 2021 | ISSN 2454–6186

History of Christian Education: Latin and Syriac Fathers

Youssry Guirguis, PhD
Asia-Pacific International University, Muak Lek, Saraburi, Thailand

IJRISS Call for paper

Abstract: “Men learn while they teach.” Seneca
Christian education can be considered to have been advanced with the early church fathers who wrote in Latin. They made significant contributions in numerous areas of education, such as philosophy, religion, science, poetry, polemical language, rhetoric, establishing of school curriculums, and other literature. Their unique input to Christian education paved the way for greater development in educating the laity. By contrast the Syriac fathers aimed to make society more meaningful. They emphasized that good teaching and learning was Christocentric and help individuals to become good Christians. Their missionary approach to Christian education focused on apologetics, hymnology, homilies, and typologies as iconoclastic weapons to defend the Christian faith. Their theories are discussed to assist educators to adapt the concepts they employed, which, in turn, will impact classroom learning.

I. TERTULLIAN (AD 155-240).

Tertullian (Quintus Septimius Floren Tertulianus) was born in Carthage, North Africa (modern day Tunisia), around the year AD 160 to pagan parents (Morrison, 2013, p. 321). The society in which he lived was sloppy and corrupted with idolatry. His father used to be the leader of a Romanian band in Africa, nicknamed “Proconsula Centurion.” He is considered to be the priest of Carthage and the father of theology in the Latin Church. He was one of the first Christian apologists (Pillet, 1881, pp. 100-102).
Highly educated and a prolific writer with excellent knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages, Tertullian used his background to defend the Christian faith as an apologist. He was a controversial and uncompromising figure in the history of Christianity in general and to Christian education (CE) in particular. He permitted Christian children to attend the pagan school as “a matter of necessity but refused to let Christians teach in those same schools” (Anthony, & Benson, 2013, p. 86).