Imagine if our school textbooks were in the form of long poems, and shorter bits of material to be learned were in the form of songs.

That’s how Arianism (the heresy that Christ was created and finite, not fully God) became widespread.

I’m struck by how much exposition in ancient times was in the form of poetry.

Wikipedia gives two other examples, Georgics, Virgil’s 4-volume poem on agriculture, and A Hundreth Good Pointes of Husbandrie by Thomas Tusser, which, among other topics, lists the 10 things that all good cheeses must have:

Not like Gehazi, i.e., dead white, like a leper
Not like Lot’s wife, all salt
Not like Argus, full of eyes
Not like Tom Piper, “hoven and puffed”
Not like Crispin, leathery
Not like Lazarus, poor
Not like Esau, hairy
Not like Mary Magdalene, full of whey or maudlin
Not like the Gentiles, full of maggots
Not like a Bishop, made of burnt milk

Expository prose seems more efficient for learning but less memorable.  Maybe there is a lesson for textbook publishers in this.


3 thoughts on “Arius

    • Thank you, wanderingviolet!

      Your comment made me wonder what school subjects would be easy or hard to do in poetry. I think history would be an easy one. Lots of narrative poems could be done for historical events. What about math? Well, I could see some concepts, like pi, being done with poems that younger children would really like. The same for science.

      Then I thought it would be neat to have a wikipedia-type of website where the community creates poetry for the whole curriculum. Surely, a community could create far better poetry than I could by myself.

      Anyway, I challenge anyone reading this particular post to comment with a poem that could be used to teach.

      Liked by 1 person

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