' The majority of the Board are of opinion that the rigid adherence to Euclid's texts is prejudicial to the interests of education, and that greater freedom in the method of teaching Geometry is desirable. As it appears that this greater freedom cannot be attained while a knowledge of Euclid's text is insisted upon in the examinations of the University, they consider that such alterations should be made in the regulations of the examinations as to admit other proofs besides those of Euclid, while following however his general sequence of propositions, so that no proof of any proposition occurring in Euclid should be accepted in which a subsequent proposition in Euclid's order is assumed.'
' Euclid's definitions will be required, and no axioms or postulates except Euclid's may be assumed. The actual proofs of propositions as given in Euclid will not be required, but no proof of any proposition occurring in Euclid will be admitted in which use is made of any proposition which in Euclid's order occurs subsequently.'
And in the Regulations for the Local Examinations conducted by the University of Cambridge it is provided that :
The note is put up to illustrate the foolishness of Cambridge math teaching. For centuries prior to 1888, Cambridge, a church institution, taught mathematics in the RITUALISTIC church way of memorizing texts. In 1888 it finally accepted that students could give different proofs from those found in the (standardized version of the) text.
When, in 1888, it finally changed that practice it sill followed the MYTH that the order of the propositions in the Elements was signficant. Amusingly, however, the revised text by Taylor provides EMPIRICAL proofs of various propositions, 1st, 4th etc. If empirical proofs are admitted in one preceding step they can be admitted everywhere, for a chain is only so strong as its weakest link. This makes the order of the propositions in the Elements irrelevant, since the "Pythagorean theorem" (the 47th proposition) can be proved in one step irrespective of preceding propositions, as in the Indian proof.
This shows what a large role MYTH and RITUAL played in the teaching of mathematics in Cambridge. However, as C. P. Snow observed in his essay on two cultures, the Cambridge entrance exam made that particular way of doing mathematics the norm.