Universities (YOTG-related no spoilers)

liril at gmx.net liril at gmx.net
Mon Jan 8 04:46:18 EST 2001

Nat Case wrote:

>  Consider the difference between the science-assuming education of the
>last 100 years with Western university education 300 years ago, where
>everything was 
>based out of theology.

Interestingly enough, early university education was based out of theology
mainly in the regard of *methods*, with the scolastic method being *the*
method. Take for example the University of Bologna (with Paris the oldest
in Europe) which started as a law school (in the 11th/12th century). Whilst
had the Bible as authoritative text which they examined and wrote about,
the jurists had the roman Corpus Iuris Civilis and treated it with the same
method: read the 
abstract, discuss the language, find the critical question, find other
examples, propose a solution. In the field of law this changed the perception,
opened the subject 
for rational discussion, *made* law a scientific subject. Seen from that
angle, "based on theology" is no contradiction to "scientific". If you look
at jurists' and 
theologians' works from that time, they tend not to be mythic or vague,
but very very "technical" (for want of a better word).

>  Does anyone know of a readable history of the shift in Western
education >from theological to humanistic and then scientific? Could be a really
>interesting story, if 
>  well-told.

Ah. I just read your last paragraph and I think now I understand better
what you mean.
Yes, it is a fascinating subject, and it's strongly linked to the way the
whole world view changed. The way I see it, the reformation played an
important role in these 
changes. That's why the 16th century is such an exciting subject. (Did I
mention it's the time of my thesis ;-) ?)

I don't know of a book that only treats this subject. But since my thesis
is focused on the University of Freiburg, I'm no expert on general english
literature on this 

Anyhow, I still have some suggestions: you could try books on the history
of Universities (Cobban, Alan B., The medieval universities, their
development and 
organization, 1975, or Rashdall, Hastings, The Universities of Europe in
the middle ages, 1896 ed. 1936) I should think they'd have chapters on this
subject or at 
least deal with it. I have to confess that I never checked, as I am mainly
interested in the second half of the 16th century. You could also try newer
books on this 
subject. (Write me if you find some, please.)
Guido Kisch wrote severeral good books about Humanism (mainly 15th early
16th century) and Humanists eg "Humanismus und Jurisprudenz", and there ought
be translations, but I could only find one of his autobiography, so maybe
there aren't. Concerning the early Universities (12th to 14th century) there
is a book called 
"The First Universities" by Olaf Pederson which afaik also deals with the
influence of the Isalmic world.
A good example for a University in the time of the (early) Enlightenment
is the Uni of Halle, with Christian Thomasius (1655-1728) as one of the key
teachers, so 
you could look for books on those, too.


Dickens, as you know, never got round to starting his homepage.

(Terry Pratchett, alt.fan.pratchett)

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