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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Schoolmaster

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This is the Authorized Version rendering of παιδαγωγός in Galatians 3:24 f. (1 Corinthians 4:15, ‘instructer’), but in the Revised Version it has given place to ‘tutor’ (q.v. [Note: .v. quod vide, which see.] ) in both passages. The latter rendering is scarcely less inadequate than the former. The παιδαγωγός is to be distinguished from the παιδονόμος, who is one of the official guardians of public instruction in a Greek city, and from the παιδευτής, the educator who trains the youth and corrects his foolishness (Romans 2:20), and from the διδάσκαλος, the teacher who actually imparts instruction (Acts 13:1, 1 Corinthians 12:28, and elsewhere). His office in the old Greek system of education was to accompany the children of the family to and from their schools, the school of the music-master and the school of the physical trainer. He carried the books and instruments, the lyre and writing materials of his pupils. He was responsible for their guardianship and protection out of school hours, and was expected to protect them, not only from danger to life and limb, but also from the perils of evil companionship. His pupils remained under his charge till they reached the age of puberty, when they were supposed to be able to care for themselves. His status was that of a slave for the most part, but the most respected and trustworthy of the household; and care was taken that he should be correct in his language and should not tell stories to his charges likely to corrupt or deprave their morals. He appears frequently on the Greek stage both in tragedy and in comedy. Only on rare occasions was he admitted to the presence of his master’s daughters. Among the Romans the paedagogus attended on girls as well as boys, but Roman girls were allowed to appear out of doors as Greek girls were not. He also gave home instruction to the child, and as he was a Greek-speaking slave, he taught him Greek, which in the days of the Empire was thought a good foundation for learning. The Roman paedagogi, however, under the degeneration of pagan manners in the Empire, soon got a bad name.

In the Galatian reference St. Paul represents the Law as exercising a severe but salutary moral influence calculated to make those who were under it feel the need of something better, and to bring them to Christ. As Lightfoot says (Galatians, ad loc.), ‘as well in his inferior rank, as in his recognised duty of enforcing discipline, the paedagogus was a fit emblem of the Mosaic law.’ But the context of the passage, dwelling upon the close tutelage and supervision of an exacting Law, points not only to the satisfaction, but also to the liberty and devotion as of sons, to be found in Christ.

The Fathers liked to think of Christ Himself, the Incarnate Word, as the παιδαγωγός. One of the works of Clement of Alexandria is so designated. The παιδαγωγός is ‘God in the form of man undefiled, minister to the Father’s will, the unsullied image of God’ (i. 2). He is ὁ πάντα φιλάνθρωπος, the True Friend of Man (i. 1), and He trains His children both by chastisement and by love to beauty of character.

Literature.-W. M. Ramsay, Historical Commentary on Galatians, 1899, p. 381 ff.; J. B. Lightfoot, Galatians5, 1876, p. 148 f.; W. Smith, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities2, 1875, article ‘Paedagogus.’

Thomas Nicol.


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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Schoolmaster'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hdn/s/schoolmaster.html. 1906-1918.

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