The Church played an instrumental role in furthering education in the West

Coward wrote:

Kind of reminds you of Roman Catholicism before Gutenberg

I’m going to post what I had said on Robert’s blog a couple of years ago:

The myth of the dark ages has been repeatedly regurgitated by the Jew media to the point of it being accepted at face value by well meaning people. We’re told that after the roman empire collapsed Europe suddenly sank under the sea only to emerge during the Renaissance. This is nonsense. There was plenty of learning going on in Europe and while the Church stifled some of it, it sustained scholarship in other areas. When Cambridge was established by Henry III the pope blessed the institution with a Papal bull. Bishop Hugh Balsham founded Cambridge’s first college (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Cambridge). The University as we know it was shaped by the Catholic church even though the concept itself went back to Plato. Scholars believe that the modern graduate gown and cap have its roots in the middle ages. Where the Church went, literacy went. Christians were able to survive roman persecution precisely because they were the most literate sect in the empire. They were able to defeat other Christian sects (gnostics, Jewish Christians, Marconians ect) because they were highly literate and their literacy enabled them to challenge other doctrines while maintaining the integrity of their own. This love of literacy would eventually diffuse its way down to the general public.

In France, Charlemagne appealed to the Church for help in setting up free public education. Cathedrals had schools attached to them which taught students latin, rhetoric and logic. The University of Paris had a papal charter I believe as did a large number of medieval universities. So much for the church suppressing education. You will probably point out that there were no sciences being taught, but guess what? Even Abbasid schools dated to the same era taught grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Same curriculum as in Christendom. The Church also functioned as a well fare institution dispensing wealth to certain groups such as widows. This instilled a sense of common good in the European mind unlike India where caste made fraternity not only impossible, but also sinful.

In Eastern Europe, like the Russian city of Novgorod, literacy was quite high as commenter Wade pointed out last year. Scandinavia I believe standardized its alphabet so that the Bible could be translated and printed. The very concept of the masters degree was formulated by the Catholic church where one had the authority to teach anywhere in the world (ius ubique docendi). Clearly while the Church suppressed learning in some fields it also created the cultural infrastructure which buttressed higher forms of scholarship in the centuries to come. The Renaissance did not just come out of nowhere, it was the climax of centuries of intellectual and scholarly undercurrents that were alive in the middle ages. It is senseless to compartmentalize history by ignoring the thread of continuity.

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8 Responses to The Church played an instrumental role in furthering education in the West

  1. coward says:

    I had no idea. As smart as I consider myself, propaganda can certainly convince even the top echelons of IQ.

  2. coward says:

    Christianity is certainly a beacon of free thought and is a vital chesspiece in furthering education and science. Sure, the creationism/Darwinism debate has raged with a hard on for years, but Christianity, now that I think about it, encourages unconventional ways of thinking. I mean, the whole vegetarian vs omnivore issue covered in the Bible, celebacy vs monogamy, profanity vs total recall of foul language, you have got to admit, in Corinthians, Thessalonians, and the other letters penned by Paul (and their sequels) certainly to encourage a diverse range of lifestyle choices as opposed to a restricted philosophy. Basically the Bible teaches in the New Testament that whatever we morally consider just is righteous. And Churches have always promoted the placement of intelligentsia in easily accessible areas of society.

  3. Todd Lewis says:

    Good article. Christianity is the foundation of western learning. Without the Irish Monks in the Medieval Era we would have lost a lot of classical information. The Slavic alphabet was created by Cyril and Methodius two Byzantine Missionaries to the Rus.

    For Catholicism’s contributions of western civilization see Tom Wood’s series the Catholic Church Builder of Civilization:

    https://www.ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?seriesID=7129&T1

    or read the book by the same name.

    A nice fictionally re-representation of this process of Catholicism saving classical knowledge is Walter Miller’s “A Canticle for Leibowitz”.

    This ignorance is the product of our brain dead education. The whole purpose of which was to destroy free will.

    As Fichte states in his Address to the German Nation:

    “On the other hand, the new education must consist essentially in this, that it completely destroys freedom of will in the soil which it undertakes to cultivate, and produces on the contrary strict necessity in the decisions of the will, the opposite being impossible. Such a will can henceforth be relied on with confidence and certainty.”

    Found here: http://www.archive.org/stream/addressestothege00fichuoft/addressestothege00fichuoft_djvu.txt

    • guerrer0 says:

      Yeah, but Western civilization greatness started with the renaissance and then with French revolution, both movements were a lot allergic to Christianity and rejected it, dreaming of the old days of the Pagan Rome and Greece, Eastern Europe keep ( Orthodox ) Christianity, but never had its renaissance nor its French ( Democratic) revolution, so they were left out. Before Renaissance the Western Europe wasn’t the leading culture of the world, then its period of pure dominance lasted until the Meiji years of Japan ,when for the first time a non-Western power appeared, and it continues until our years ,with the Korean Hallyu wave and the emergence of China as next superpower.

    • Lee Min Ho says:

      By the way Todd ( I am the same commenter Guerrero, using an extra username, I also like to use other names aside of my real surname) I see unrelated to Western culture,this :

      The Slavic alphabet was created by Cyril and Methodius two Byzantine Missionaries to the Rus.

      Don’t forget ! Eastern Europeans are White and Christian ! but not Western, so Slavic alphabet is unrelated to Western learning. You remind me of myself in Middle School in the year 2005, when I got infatuated with all things European out of admiration to that continent, I read many resources saying that Russia was a different culture than the rest of Europe, and I didn’t saw it, I saw them as the same type as Westerners, White and Christian, but now I see clear as water the huge difference.

  4. Todd Lewis says:

    Your claims about christian literacy in the early Roman empire are fascinating. What texts, or sources would you recommend I look into for further information?

    • Dota says:

      I think Bart Ehraman would be a good place to start. He had written about how Pauline Christianity beat all the other sects (Jewish, Gnostic ect) by winning the “battle of the texts.” Christ’s actual followers (the Jesus movement) were illiterate and hence all the parables pertaining to fishermen and pearl divers. Paul attracted a literate and hellenized group of converts (like himself) and this is obvious from the sheer volume of literature that the likes of Polycarp, Ignatious, Justin Martyr, Tertullian ect produced. They expanded their own theology and refuted the theology of their rivals. In time Christians assumed positions of authority within the Roman state due to their literacy. It’s incredible how literacy played a role in Christianity’s survival.

      When you examine the structure of the Quran, you’ll see similar tactics deployed. The Quran builds and expands its own theology while attacking rival theologies (Jewish/Christian/Pagan). Whether this was influenced by early Christianity is hard to say as the Arabs had their own oral contests settled through poetry, but it’s an interesting parallel nonetheless. The Quran won out because written literature trumps oral tradition. Furthermore, the written word is permanent and symbolizes God’s eternal nature. Since both of these faiths are anti-idolatry, the written word literally symbolizes God’s own speech and hence reading and writing take on a spiritual aspect as the believer engages God and the universe.

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