Rowling, Princeton-style: Charles Hodge

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Charles HodgePrinceton Theological Seminary: A Discourse Delivered at the Re-Opening of the Chapel, September 27, 1874, pp. 18-20:

As to the method of instruction adopted by our first professors little need be said. They both used text-books where they could be had. Dr. Alexander's text-book in theology was Turrettin's Theologia Elenchtica, one of the most perspicuous books ever written. In the discussion of every subject it begins with the Status Quaestionis, stating that the question is not this or that; neither this nor that, until every foreign element is eliminated, and then the precise point in hand is laid down with unmistakable precision. Then follow in distinct paragraphs, numbered one, two, three, and so on, the arguments in its support. Then come the Fontes Solutionum, or answers to objections. The first objection is stated with the answer; then the second, and so on to the end. Dr. Alexander was accustomed to give us from twenty to forty quarto pages, in Latin, to read for a recitation. And we did read them. When we came to recite, the professor would place the book before him and ask, What is the State of Question? What is the first argument? What is the second, &c? Then what is the first objection and its answer? What the second, &c? There were some of my classmates, Dr. Johns the present bishop of the Episcopal Church in Virginia, for example, who would day after day be able to give the State of the Question, all the arguments in its support in their order, all the objections and the answers to them, through the whole thirty or forty pages, without the professor saying a word to him. This is what in the College of New Jersey used to be called rowling. Whatever may be thought of this method of instruction, it was certainly effective. A man who had passed through that drill never got over it. Some years ago I heard the late Bishop McIlvaine preach a very orthodox sermon in the Episcopal Church in this place. When we got home, it being a very warm day, he threw himself on the bed to rest. In the course of conversation he happened to remark that a certain professor failed to make any marks on the minds of his students. I said to him, "Old Turrettin, it seems, has left his mark on your mind." He sprang from the bed, exclaiming, "That indeed he has, and I would give any thing to see his theology translated and made the text-book in all our Seminaries." The Jesuits are wise in their generation, and they have adopted this method of instruction in their institutions.

In fact, it was Charles Hodge who asked his friend, Prof. George Musgrave Giver (1822-1865) to translate Francis Turretin’s Institutes of Elenctic Theology from Latin into English. This was done by Giger in 8,000 handwritten pages before his early passing, but never published until edited by James T. Dennison, Jr. in 1992.