The Roots of the University: An Oxford Vlog

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.

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About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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12 Responses to The Roots of the University: An Oxford Vlog

  1. jubilare says:

    I can’t hear you well. 😦 I will have to find a speaker. You may be in a library, but you need a little mic!

    Like

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