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Comment 57 by Cartomancer : That's not the point. The point is that they were not monasteries. They had nothing to do with monasteries, either institutionally or ancestrally. They were something else.

So that is all you're getting at? You wrote two big whopping posts just to nitpick "monasteries" (I should have said "religious institutions" instead)?

The lengths people will go to to show off their knowledge...

Comment 57 by Cartomancer :

It is from these urban, secular, cathedral schools - a product of increasing urbanisation and bureaucratic sophistication in Carolingian and Capetian France, Ottonian Germany and Angevin England - that the first universities emerged during the twelfth century. They emerged in places like Paris and Bologna, Montpelier and Salerno and Oxford - none of them major monastic centres in any way, shape or form. If the university had anything to do with monastic learning then we would, instead, have seen the first universities at Glastonbury and Cluny and Citeaux, La Grand Chartreuse, Monte Cassino and Canterbury.

What, so geography is your only evidence that monasteries had nothing to do with universities? Doesn't the possibility enter your head that education was first concentrated in monastic schools, and later transferred to urbane centres, to make it available to more people? This is a very obvious idea and I'm surprised how it has eluded you. Without mental dexterity, all the knowledge in the world doesn't mean anything.

Wed, 06 Jul 2011 15:17:41 UTC | #846911

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Wed, 06 Jul 2011 15:13:05 UTC | #846907

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Comment 57 by Cartomancer :

I really hate to pull rank or wave my credentials in people's faces, but unless you also have a doctorate in Medieval Intellectual History, specialising in the period when the first universities emerged in Europe and the nature of the transition from the pre-university world to that of the later Middle Ages, I suggest you take the correction on the chin and move on. I know what I am talking about here.

Well that's exactly what you are doing. You're trying to pull rank. I don't accept arguments from authority, and I maintain my position that you are either being extremely pedantic, or are uncontroversially wrong.

People with a fairly generic understanding of the way Medieval societies were structured tend to assume that there was little difference between monks, friars, the secular clergy and anyone else in Europe from 500-1500 AD who wore a robe, wrote in Latin and did anything vaguely intellectual. It simply will not do to confuse all these people, any more than it does today to say that professors of physics, people working in university research laboratories, local GPs and garden-shed inventors are all just "scientists" in the modern age, and can be conveniently lumped together.

The point was that universities are descended from religious institutions such as monastries. Either you're nitpicking, at obscene length, my use of the word "monasteries", or you are denying that universities are descended from religious institutions, in which case you would be uncontroversially wrong. Which is it?

Wed, 06 Jul 2011 14:56:53 UTC | #846897

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Comment 35 by Cartomancer :

Actually, no, it isn't. It's descended from the medieval universities and the urban schools they grew up out of. The monastic learning of the early Middle Ages was a very different kind of learning from the secular, university-based learning of the central and later Middle Ages - the one focused on contemplation and scriptural rote learning, the other on the classical liberal arts of the trivium and quadrivium, plus law, medicine and (for a select few) speculative theology. The worldly, urban intellectual community of the medieval university is the direct ancestor of the modern academic community.

Either you're being extremely pedantic, or you're wrong. Uncontroversially wrong if you're trying to deny that universities are descended from religious institutions.. Go far back enough, and by far the majority of "learning" consisted of theology and rote learning of holy scriptures. Schools for monks evolved into medieval universities, which were still religious to the core. That is why Galileo was arrested for making a mockery of the philosophy of Aristotle. It's because the Church had a monopoly on learning, and the "intellectuals" were only interested in classical philosophy insofar as it related to and added depth to the philosophy they derived from holy scriptures.

Until the inception of science, the "intellectual" community was religious through and through. Even the first scientists were religious through and through. This is not controversial.

Tue, 05 Jul 2011 23:11:07 UTC | #846667

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Comment 18 by Atheist Mike :

People are stupid, pure and simple... And a more intellectual, truth-based paper might just be ignored because it's not as attractive to the masses.

There's danger of elitism here. Some people happily accept the charge of elitism provided that it's restricted to intellectual elitism.

I would mention, though, that there's an abundance of evidence that the so-called intelligensia can be just as stupid as everyone else. How else can we explain post-modernism, cultural relativism, obscurantism, and all the other nonsense that has occupied supposedly intellectual circles since, well, forever?

When you realize that academia is descended from the monasteries, and in most cultures priests and witch doctors are the resident "intellectuals", it becomes clear that intellectual elitism is something we should view with just as much suspicion as most other kinds of elitism.

Now scientific elitism...there might be a worthy elitism. Unfortunately, this does not equate to "intellectual elitism", or "liberal left elitism". The truth of a scientific claim is independent of the intelligence, sophistication and political orientation of its proponents.

Tue, 05 Jul 2011 19:23:01 UTC | #846584

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