In the Ancient world, the traditional posture of teaching was to sit, while the traditional posture of learning was to stand. Yet in academics today, we see the posture has been reversed, as has much of Western tradition as a whole. Modernity despises tradition, and posture means something. At every sacred and meaningful event in life, posture is important. A man bends on one knee in supplication to his future wife at the proposal, a congregation stands at the reading of the Gospel and kneels at the Consecration, we hold our hands over our hearts at the sound of a national anthem. It is interesting to note how many traditional postures have remained more or less unaffected, but the teacher-student posture has been reversed. Is this a sign of the pride of Modernity, hubris, or arrogance?
The Greek Παιδαγωγος teaches a youth:
Early depiction of Christus Magister:
Yet this ancient image of the sitting teacher remains intact in the symbology of Church architecture. As Christ is our teacher and master, and the bishop is possessed of the fullness of Christ’s ministry, the bishop ought also to be our teacher. This is why every cathedral has a cathedra (Lat. “chair”) from which he teaches with the authority and wisdom of the Church.