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Ordering Protestant Churches – Visitation and School Ordinances in the Palatinate (1556)

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Once the children have learned the rules of [grammatical] constructions, the schoolmaster shall ask about the structure [of the passage] and the relevant rules. Four days a week – Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays – the second hour of the morning shall be devoted to having the boys recite a section of an etymology from memory. Then the schoolmaster shall explain these rules and give examples.

Once they have learned their etymology, they shall recite [the rules of] syntax during this period, also from memory. Then the schoolmaster shall explain these rules and give examples. He shall also ask the boys to translate German statements into Latin in accordance with the rules of syntax. For example: “How does one say in Latin ‘Punishment certainly follows disobedience of God’s commands’?” S[tudent]: “Poena comitatur certo contemptum divinarum legum.”

And the schoolmasters shall make every effort to ensure that their pupils memorize the rules of grammar. And the folly of those who hold the rules in contempt and want to learn the language without learning any rules shall not be tolerated.

Also, it would be useful for the same [primer of] etymology and syntax and not many different ones to be used throughout the territory.

In all classes, Wednesdays and Saturdays shall be devoted to learning the catechism. [ . . . ] And strict orders shall be given that the same catechism be used throughout the land.

On these same days, a passage of Holy Scripture shall be explicated for the boys. [ . . . ] The schoolmasters shall diligently draw attention to points of grammar and shall clearly state the [passage’s] one true meaning for the boys without introducing strange disputations. The children shall also memorize some of the psalms and practice their prayers in this way.

Some schoolmasters want to read Holy Scripture alone; others not at all. Both of these positions are reprehensible. Rather, if one wants to teach conscientiously, what has been outlined in this ordinance is beneficial to the youth.

A third group consisting of those boys that are already competent grammarians shall be formed in the larger schools. In the first hour after noon, they shall be trained in music with the others, as stated above. After [music], they shall have Virgil expounded to them on Mondays and Tuesdays; selected Ciceronian letters, De amicitia, De senectute or Sallust on Thursdays and Fridays.

In the evening [they shall study] the rules of pronunciation and some appealing poems of Ovid of Pontus, Eobanus Hessus’ [Heroidum christianarum Epistolae], or some elegies of Sabinus [Georg Schuler] or Stigelius [Johannes Stigel].

First thing in the morning these same boys shall expound on Virgil or on Cicero’s letters as time permits. And the teacher shall have them compose a [Latin text] and ask them for the syntactical rule for each construction without allowing himself to be put off by this tedious work. He shall also go through some difficult declinations and conjugations.

Next, one shall practice etymology and syntax with this third group. And each boy shall individually recite the rules from memory. This review of etymology and syntax is essential. [ . . . ]

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