Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/27

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17
PRESENT STATUS OF THE GREEK QUESTION.

extensive center of learning on this continent, as a required subject of study.

Harvard, however, was not the first of our institutions of high rank to discard Greek from the list of its requirements for the degree of A. B. Johns Hopkins University led the way in this revolution, as in so many other good things. But its lead in the matter, owing to several circumstances, did not have anything like the same influence which Harvard's will have. In the first place, the institution had no history prior to 1876, and it was a matter which attracted but little atention when it opened, that in this regard it began at a point to which no other American institution had at that time come. It was, moreover, organized on quite a different plan from the ordinary college, and the work at first seemed to outsiders to be chiefly of post-graduate character, in which this question played but an unimportant part. Harvard, on the contrary, still retains its college form, though the spirit of the college, in the traditional sense, at least, has long since departed. Any action taken by it seems, therefore, much nearer to the average college than that of such an institution as the university at Baltimore.

Johns Hopkins allows the substitution of modern languages for Greek in the course for the degree of A. B.—i. e., it has from the first recognized the equivalency of different lines of work for the degree which crowns the course of liberal arts. The two institutions in America which, taken all in all, each in its own way, stand at the head of our educational system, join, then, in this revolutionary step. How long can the other institutions hold out along the old lines? The fortress which the defenders of the old system have recognized as the key to the situation has fallen, it is a mere question of time how soon the others must capitulate; and we may be sure that, when they do, it will be without conditions.

If we take a glance at conditions in foreign countries, we can better understand how thoroughly in sympathy with the general progress of education in our modern world this new step is, and consequently how exceedingly sure it is of never being retraced. It is safe to say, after making all due allowances for many acknowledged defects, that the higher institutions of Germany stand as a whole at the head of similar institutions in the world. Certain it is that German educational literature leads the world. It is also certain that the educational ideals of young men in this country have been powerfully influenced by contact with German institutions. It will also be agreed that the Germans can not be accused of headlong radicalism in educational or other matters. It is worth our while, then, to notice what they are doing in this direction.

When we examine the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts, which is the German degree which corresponds most closely with our A. B., we find that not a single one of the German universities require any knowledge of Greek whatever for this degree It is now sixteen