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Starting with Old Testament era this article surveys the traditions of religious
education within the Judaeo-Christian setting. Home was the first and primary
environment for teaching religious values among the ancient Hebrew people.
In particular the fathers role in teaching sacred precepts and practices for
their boys was significant. There is little or no data on the role of religion in
whatever formal education was available in ancient Judah or Israel.
Within the Christian era, the development started with what was at first
unorganised training of converts and ends with large church operated school
systems. This history includes several stages and many diverse points of
emphasis, new developments or insights. At first the emphasis was on learning
the Christian doctrine in the form of confessions and some moral guidelines
for life. As the church defined its rituals and ceremonies they became more
and more important even at the expense of dogmas. The article also outlines
the rise of church operated schools and the impact of secularism as a
development in government controlled educational standards.
How to teach that which cannot be taught? is a question stemming from
the days of the Protestant Reformation. It shows human inadequacy in trying
to do what in the end is a work of God. History does not answer this question;
maybe it is a proof of the fact that the final and best way of teaching Christian
values has not been found yet.
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