The Value of Ancient Education in Basil of Caesarea
Many Christians in the 2nd and 3rd century feel a discomfort with ancient education. For one thing, the culture was largely shaped by pagan traditions, by myths of the gods and the pagan understanding of religion. On the other hand, according to early Christian ideas, it was in any case consecrated to the soon expected end of the world or at least not relevant to salvation.
A rejection of pagan education can then be observed in the 4th and 5th century in ascetic monasticism. However, many great theologians took a different position, among them Basil of Caesarea, although he also lived as a monk. This intellectual representative of the Christian religion of the 4th century expresses himself on a central aspect of Greek education in his short writing “To the Youth” – a work that the humanists of the Renaissance later eagerly reproduce. What value does ancient education have in Basil’s eyes?