While researching women during the Renaissance, I stumbled across Jean Louis Vives’ Education of Christian Women: A 16th Century Manual. Vives was a humanist scholar, who wrote in his manual on the upbringing of girls.
“I would like to advise parents keep special watch over their daughters at the beginning of puberty and keep them away from all contact with men. During that period they are more inclined to lust. The young girls themselves should at this time abstain from seeing, hearing, or even thinking unseemly matters”of
Here I find it interesting that there is a recognition of what is seen as an evil (the potential for temptation before marriage), and the solution appears to be to remove this temptation so it no longer exists. For, the girls must be removed from the boys site, and the girls must be removed completely from these “unseemly matters”. This returns to the idea expressed in “How to Do It”, that children can be shaped depending on the environment which the adults provide. It is only therefore by removing the child from an environment where evil exists, that they can learn not to dabble in such evil.
The other philosophy I find interesting, which is consistent throughout his manual, is that the potential for evil is existing is considered a sin. Therefore, evil manifests itself in two forms; in potentiality as well as physical/actual existence. By stating that daughters during puberty should be kept away from men, it is implied also that to put them in front of men would be a temptation. Temptation is a sin, and therefore an evil. It is not just the evil which must be avoided, therefore, but also the possibility of such an evil, which presents itself through temptation.