Title

A TEXTUAL STUDY OF JEWISH EDUCATION: PEDAGOGIC PRINCIPLES AND POLICIES IN TORAH AND TALMUD (GEMORAH, BIBLE, HERMENEUTICS)

Date of Completion

January 1985

Keywords

Religion, General|Religion, Biblical Studies|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

This study is focused on the educational principles, policies, and practices described in the Torah and the Babylonian Talmud. For English-speaking readers, unfortunately, the educational ideas found in the Torah and Talmud have been largely inaccessible. The purpose of this inquiry is to better understand and make more available to English speakers the concepts of education described in the Torah and Talmud.^ The metholology used to investigate the theme of education in the Torah and Talmud is a combined conceptual analysis and policy study. Educational concepts are explored by means of hermeneutical explication. Enjoinders to educational policies in both texts are then identified and categorized according to seven educational components: aims of education, ideas about institutional structure, educational policy recommendations, curriculum, instructional methodologies, evaluation, and the preparation of educators. Additionally, Torah and Talmudic views of the roles of teachers and students are explored.^ The study demonstrates that a regard for education is central to the foundational works of Judaism. Basic principles of education are established in the Torah, including the policies of home learning and parental teaching. Analysis of the educational language of the Torah indicates that teaching was perceived as a process requiring alternative methodologies.^ An examination of references to education in the Talmud reveals a fundamental change from Biblical times. Schools replaced informal home learning, and teachers assumed most of the educational responsibility parents had previously borne. The curriculum of the school focused on the 613 commandments plus ancillary subjects such as anatomy, astronomy, biology, and mathematics, among others.^ Of primary importance for their implications regarding contemporary Jewish education are the following findings: (1) Parents are viewed by Judaism as partners with teachers and students in the educational process. (2) Education is considered by Judaism to be an activity which must be pursued continuously throughout life. (3) Teaching methodologies vary and should be applied with skill and purposefulness. (4) No division is made by Judaism between secular and religious studies. This holistic approach to learning reflects the ontology and teleology of Judaism. ^