Monday, December 25, 2017

Aristotelian Avreichem?

From The History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell, from his discussion of Aristotle's Politics:

"The book… ends with a discussion of education. Education, of course, is only for children who are going to be citizens. Slaves may be taught useful arts, such as cooking, but these are no part of education. …Children should learn what is useful to them, but not vulgarizing. For instance, they should not be taught any skill that deforms the body, or that would enable them to earn money. …They must of course learn to read and write, in spite of the usefulness of these arts, but the purpose of education is virtue, not usefulness."

This sounds a lot like the kollel society of the yeshivish world. "Useful arts" are looked down on, working for money is vulgar, and the point of study is virtue, not for practical ends. Is this a coincidence, or do kollel communities represent a reflection of Aristotelian virtues, filtered through kisvei kodesh influenced by Aristotle's writings?


  1. Wow. That's even worse than Kollel. At least with avreichim if it happens to also be useful (e.g safrut) that's an added bonus, not a negative!

  2. THANK YOU for this!! How did I not know this - this is going to be essential to my dissertation's intro. (Whenever I actually start writing the darn thing, that is.)