I have just finished up two very intense days doing research at the Bodleian library. The Bodleian is surrounded by the ancient colleges of Oxford. The Radcliffe Camera draws the eye, a circular science library in the midst of quadrangles and shooting spires of this great international city. Angels, gargoyles, gods, and the statues of scholars cluster on the ledges of structures built after the Norman invasion and rebuilt several times since. Scholars eat sandwiches on benches, or hurry to lectures in robes. Pigeons beg for crumbs on the cobblestones.
This amazing city is the seat of English education and one of the world’s finest examples of a university town. It began with St. Frideswide, a princess who renounced her riches to be a nun. Under great social pressure—more than one king tried to rape her; sometimes because of her beauty, but perhaps because she had the gall to decide for herself—she led many women, and is reputed to have done great miracles. A church was built in her name, and upon that church, some generations later, monks began to gather for education. They sat at the feet of masters, and over the centuries—centuries filled with strive, adventure, risk, heartache, and discovery—some of the greatest minds of the world emerged.
In this vlog I ask the question: what is it about the Christian tradition that valued education to such a degree. In exploring the Hebrew and Greek parentage of the Jesus movement, I talk about the growth of education in Christianity, and ask questions about the future about the university in the West.