Abarim Publications' online Biblical Greek Dictionary
The noun σχολη (schole) means (a) hang-out. It literally describes leisure, rest or ease in the sense of being free from having to work for a living, and thus a having time to hang out, and thus having the time to hang out with someone clever who then teaches you things, particularly things that are not directly practical or intended to sustain your daily life or improve your service of your masters. It ultimately stems from the Proto-Indo-European root "segh-", meaning to hold, which quickly assumed an emphasis on collectivity and began to describe things done by groups of people who had no obligations elsewhere. Our English word "scholastic" is often juxtaposed with "monastic" (from "mono"), which implies that scholars study in a way that is the opposite of doing it on one's own.
From our Greek noun σχολη (schole) comes our English word "school", which is rather unfortunate because our modern schools are not based on the Greek σχολη (schole) but rather on the Roman legion. A Greek σχολη (schole) is all about conversation, dialogue, self-discovery and (equally important) other-discovery. A Roman legion is all about standing in a grid and doing as you are told by the one dude up front, who's been put there not because he knows better but because he's proven to be loyal to the higher-uppers. Most of our moderns schools, theaters, churches, even our television sets, are al based on the Roman ideal of super-slavery, whereas our Greek word σχολη (schole) is all about super-liberty. And that's not a subtle difference.
Our noun is used a mere one time in the New Testament (Acts 19:9 only) and from it comes:
- The verb σχολαζω (scholazo), meaning to have leisure, to be at leisure, to have no obligations to perform (Matthew 12:44 and 1 Corinthians 7:5 only). This important verb has several tricky nuances. Our verb does not imply laziness but rather liberty and thus a being actively engaged with what one desires to do rather than with what one was told to do. That, of course, can go wrong in all kinds of ways, and this verb also implies a liberty from proper manners and even a freedom from applicable time-honored knowledge. The foul spirit which was sent off and came back, found the house "at leisure," which not implies a mere empty house but rather an unapplied house; a house eager to be dazzled and yearning to join a movement of new knowledge and new fashions. The story of the prodigal foul spirit is also a warning against doing away with traditions without having truly understood what these traditions have always accomplished and how to replace them with something equally potent.