How Like an Angel Came I Down: Conversations With Children on the Gospels
Every now and then the past yields up one of its lost treasures. This book is just such a gem. Bronson Alcott, friend and sometimes mentor to Emerson and Thoreau in Concord, was also a visionary educator who believed that the psyche of a child already carries within it the imprint of spirit and wisdom. At his school in Boston in the 1830s, he held this extraordinary series of conversations on such themes as spirit, consciousness, conscience, love, humility, the Holy Ghost, and the knower.
About the Author
Amos Bronson Alcott (1799–1888) was born to an illiterate flax farmer in Wolcott, Connecticut. Profoundly influenced by John Bunyan’s book Pilgrim’s Progress, he left home at seventeen to become a peddler in Virginia and the Carolinas. After five years, he returned to Connecticut, determined to become an educator. Attracted to Pestalozzi’s innovative child-centered educational ideas, he began a long and varied career as a teacher. Bronson Alcott was singular among the Transcendentalists in boldly embodying his ideals. In his schools he introduced art, music, nature study, field trips, and physical education into the curriculum, while banishing corporal punishment. He encouraged children to ask questions and taught through dialogue and example. When Ralph Waldo Emerson met Alcott in Boston in the late 1830s, he was so impressed with his intellect and innovative ideas that he convinced Alcott to move to Concord and join his circle of friends. Alcott outlived his closest transcendentalist friends, dying on March 4, 1888, just two days before his famous daughter Louisa succumbed to the effects of mercury poisoning. The Concord School of Philosophy closed in July of that year after holding a memorial service honoring Alcott.
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