Exordium III – The Prerequisite of Peace: What Genesis 1 Tells Us about Education

Martin Cothran

Rather than try to do Martin’s talk justice with a narrative or paragraph form, allow me to simply record the “outline” or flow chart of his wonderful talk.Introduction:

  1. The first thing we discover in Genesis 1 is that God’s six days of creative work were centered on forming and filling.
    1. Days 1-3 — forming
    2. Days 4-6 — filling
  2. In our schools, our students enter our halls w/o formed or filled minds.
  3. To educate is to form and fill.


  1. Aristotle – difference between form & matter
    1. Form: pattern for a dress; recipe; blueprint
    2. Matter: cloth for a dress; ingredients; lumber
  2. ED Hirsch: blames Rousseau for changing the definition of education from the classical to the modern, “The Schools We Need & Why We Don’t Have Them.”
  3. A major way to approach this is to “order” our students minds — Order is approached quite differently depending upon the various educational views at play:
    1. More or less is made of it (order)
    2. What we are ordering changes according to the view: sinfulness / hierarchical / basic goodness of man, etc.
    3. Using Latin to order the mind – not imposing an order on language but exposing the created order – see George Steiner’s works, esp. “Real Presences”
  4. In the matter of content…
    1. We must have common reference points – Books
    2. Is there a Western Canon – not so much the specifics as it is a corpus


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