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Handbuch der deutschen Bildungsgeschichte.

Notker Hammerstein, ed., Handbuch der deutschen Bildungsgeschichte, Volume 1. 15. bis 17. Jahrhundert. Von der Renaissance und der Reformation bis zum Ende der Glaubensk[ddot{a}]mpfe.

Munich: C. H. Beck, 1996. 475 pp. DM 188. ISBN: 3-406-32463-0.

This is the first of a six-volume history of German education ranging from the fifteenth century to the present. The volume under review covers the period between the late Middle Ages and the second half of the seventeenth century, a time in which the loss of the unity of the church, the consolidation of the early modern state, the new economic and military practices, the increasing use of the written word, and the tightening of administrative structures presented enormous challenges to schools and universities. How educators and administrators reacted to these challenges is the subject of that volume.

The period covered in this book was a time when many of the foundations of the modern age were laid, for there is no doubt that Renaissance and humanism, Reformation and Catholic Reform have decisively shaped modern institutions and mentalities in Germany. For example, much of what strikes a foreign visitor to contemporary Germany as odd or unusual, such as the university system or the dual system of apprentice-training -- the combination of learning with a master and attending a vocational school -- goes back to the early modern period. As a matter of fact, as one of the authors, Arno Seifert, argues, the modern German university is not so much the product of the reforms initiated by Wilhelm von Humboldt at the beginning of the nineteenth century, as is often asserted, but. rather the result of the profound structural changes in the wake of humanism and the Reformation. In its organization the modern German university, Seifert pointedly insists, is closer to that of the post-Reformation period than to that of, let us say, present-day England (279).

Education does not take place in a vacuum but is influenced and shaped by a variety of religious, political, and social factors. It is therefore necessary that the detailed technical discussions of the education system are preceded by a number of articles dealing with the broader epochal changes that took place in the early modern period. In a lengthy article Notker Hammerstein, who also functions as the editor of the volume, reviews the historical and historico-educational ("bildungsgeschichtliche") physiognomy of the confessional age from the pre-Reformation period to the Thirty Years War. While Hammerstein is interested in the diplomatic history of the period, Paul M[ddot{u}]nch, in his essay "Lebensformen, Lebenswelten und Umgangserziehung," deals with the mentality of the people living at the time, discussing their fears and anxieties, their notions of time and space, the social structures, and concepts of work and leisure. Klaus Arnold, finally, explores the structures of family, childhood, and youth.

With August Buck's article on "Italian humanism" we are entering the narrower field of education, for there seems to be a scholarly consensus that the decisive impulses for the educational reforms taking place in Germany under the auspices of humanism came from Italy. Concentrating on the pedagogical aspects of that movement, August Buck, the late dean of Italian humanism studies in Germany, sketches the development of Italian humanism, its criticism of the medieval concept of scholarship, the studia humanitatis, the educational institutions inspired by humanists, and the social ideals of humanism. While Buck does all that with his usual superb command of his field, one might wonder whether such a detailed expos[acute{e}] of Italian humanism would have been necessary, especially since his remarks on the impact on German humanism are disappointingly brief and perfunctory. One cannot help but get the impression that Buck, who spent a long and productive life studying Italian humanism, dismisses its German vari ety merely as a pale reflection of its glorious Italian model.

Much more justice to that intellectual and pedagogical movement in Germany is done by Wilhelm K[ddot{u}]hlmann in his article on pedagogical concepts ("P[ddot{a}]dagogische Konzeptionen"). In addition to describing in much more detail the profound changes brought about by humanism, K[ddot{u}]hlmann also discusses the pedagogical writings of the period, the tensions between education and piety, the educational reforms of the seventeenth century; such as Pietism and pansophy, and the emergence of a national literature in Germany with its ramifications for education.

With its 177 pages, Arno Seifert's monograph-size essay is not only the longest but also the most impressive of the book. Entitled "Das h[ddot{o}]here Schulwesen. Universit[ddot{a}]ten und Gymnasien" [Higher Education. Universities and Gymnasia], it reliably informs the reader about all aspects of the higher education system in the German-speaking countries before, during and after the Reformation, describing with a wealth of detail the school system on the eve of the modern period, the gradual reception of humanism, the impact of the Reformation on thc higher school system as established by Philipp Melanchthon, the extraordinary impact of the Jesuits on education in the Catholic territories, noting reassuringly, however, that the differences between the Protestant and Catholic models of the "humanistische Gymnasium" were quite minimal.

It is certainly a welcome feature of this handbook that it considerably broadens the somewhat narrow definition of the word "Bildung," which in German connotes the cultural formation of a small elite, by including an excellent essay by Rudolf Endres on the training and education of artisans ("Handwerk - Berufsbildung"), a much neglected stepchild of research. Endres describes knowledgeably the rigid hierarchy of apprentices, journeymen, and masters, their training, rituals, and duties, pointing to the relatively high number of female artisans in the sixteenth century and the almost total disappearance of "Meisterinnen" after the Thirty Years War. A brief article by the same author on the care of the poor ("Armenwesen und Armenf[ddot{u}]rsorge") discusses the changing views toward society's poor before and after the Reformation.

No history of German education would be complete without a few words about the immense role the new art of printing played in it. Hans-Joachim Koppitz provides a compact survey of the new medium in an article tersely entitled "Medien," discussing book production, sales, distribution, copyright issues, censorship, the readers, and libraries. Scholars, however, working in the field of the Reformation and printing will have to turn to some newer American studies for information.

The user-friendliness of this handbook is enhanced by three indices (subject matter, name, and place), opening up the wealth of information also to the casual user. Each of the nine articles is followed by its own specialized bibliography, so that the selected bibliography at the end of the book can limit itself to a few general studies. Both as a reference work and a collection of essays dealing with the major educational issues of the early modern period, this book will prove an indispensable tool for anybody interested in the history of education in the German-speaking countries.
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Title Annotation:Review
Publication:Renaissance Quarterly
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Mar 22, 2000
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