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BOOK REVIEWS 10I religious persons. By "cumulative tradition" is meant the totality of objective data which constitute the historical deposit of the religious life of a community in the past, by "faith" the impinging of the transcendent on the religious person, who is in this way the link between tradition and faith, the point of interaction between the transcendent and tradition. The transcendent dimension of religious life, after having been virtually eliminated by the more and more retried concept of religion, would in this way be restored. In his eighth chapter, "Conclusion," Smith touches upon philosophical questions such as the way of coming to an understanding of religion, the nature of the reality of religion, religious diversity, the need of religious coexistence, etc. By using the concept of "transcendence" as the origin of faith, Smith tries to seal the end of an idealist concept of religion and to come to a personalized concept of faith. We should, however, not enter into his philosophy of religion . The interest of the study is already clear because of the wealth of its historical materials . That the concept of religion itself has been a religious concept---like the concept of faith-would be a fruitful starting point for further investigation and discussion. Why should it, after all, be dangerous to maintain the word in a descriptive sense, somehow like our use of the word "art"? JACQUESWAARDE1NBURG University o] Calilornia, Los Angeles Formative Ideas in American Education. By V. T. Thayer. (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, Inc., 1965. Pp. 394.) Hardly a topic today excites more general interest than education. Yet writing on this subject is often ambiguous and dogmatic. Even authors who "know" science or the humanities seem to suffer a thickening of the wits when they discuss education. There is a reason for this---a reason so obvious most everyone overlooks it. The history of education both European and American has not been adequately researched. What has happened in schools and the forces that have caused these events, for all the writing that has been done on this subject, remain matters of surmise. During the twenties, to orient the growing number of students in teachers' colleges, several historical outlines were published. They contained little that could not be acquired in a college sophomore course in world history. Several volumes of documents (containing court cases, state and federal bills, curricula, etc.) appeared during the thirties and forties. These contain valuable social, economic, and political background material without going into the more demanding job of determining the reasons for details. Only recently, since 1950, are works being produced that promise to provide the ground work for an adequate history of education. V. T. Thayer's Formative Ideas in American Education can be placed among these studies. The work that is contributing to this recently evolving history of education is characterized by a literal, stylish prose which has such a light air that the ponderous equipment of research almost disappears. The first quality readers will notice in Thayer's book is his clear, polished writing. Formative Ideas in American Education is a history of the philosophy of American education . Despite an at times distressing briefness in dealing with some important phases of American thought (Emerson and transcendentalism, for example, are covered in three paragraphs), Thayer accurately and with a deft touch traces the main philosophical ideas that have influenced American education. How he relates the concepts of such men as Dewey, G. Stanley Hall, or Edward Thorndike to the social and economic forces of their day gives these familiar ideas a sense of newness and rightness. Readers who are thoroughly familiar with some of the thinkers and periods covered in this book will, upon reading Thayer's treatment of the colonial period, the emergence of public education during the nineteenth century, the influence of idealism on education, and the chapters on Dewey and recent criticism of public education, say to themselves: "I never saw these things quite so clearly before." The work is divided into three sections; a short one on the seventeenth and eighteenth 102 HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY centuries, and twelve chapters divided between the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Although the early chapters present...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 101-102
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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