Remembering Elizabeth Peabody...

Why did Elizabeth Peabody teach herself to read Greek and Latin at such a young age?

...with fondness, admiration, and pride.

Most of you reading this probably know that Elizabeth Palmer Peabody lived in Salem for many years, and I thought about her just yesterday while attending services at First Church in Salem. Among the five churches that comprise today's First Church was the North Church, which Elizabeth attended.

After yesterday's service, about 40 of us enjoyed a fascinating conversation with Prof. Theo Harris, who teaches comparative religion at Harvard and MIT. His talk/conversation was on the "Bible as Literature," and one of the things he discussed was the Bible's early texts in Latin and Greek.

Elizabeth taught herself Latin and Greek so she could read the original for herself -- this, at a very young age! Why? Because she didn't believe what the ruling ministers claimed the Bible had to say about women's inferiority -- and she was right! The Greek language, in particular, can often have eight words for our one English word, and then you have to ask, who is doing the translating? What is their motive? As we know, this brilliant woman went on to become:

• Founder of kindergartens in America

• First woman publisher in Boston

• Owner of a successful book store and lending library in Boston, where Margaret Fuller’s “Conversations” for women took place

• Leading Transcendentalist and Unitarian; editor and publisher of the Dial, the Transcendentalist newspaper

• Author

• Teacher, including at Bronson Alcott’s Temple School

• Along with her sisters Mary Peabody Mann and Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, considered a leading figure in Nineteenth Century American Romanticism

Let's never forget her!!!

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