March 10, 2006
The Medieval Enclave
A Jesuit theologian, Edward T. Oakes, reviewing Gary Wills' latest book on the Catholic Church, chides him with this little gem:
As he should know from his own position as a Catholic professor at a secular university, the two great institutional legacies of the Middle Ages to modern civilization are the Catholic Church and the contemporary university, of which the latter is surely the more rigidly hierarchical: With its politically correct orthodoxies, its hegemonically imposed anti-hegemonic discourse, its salary-mongering, its freedom from taxation (how Constantinian!), its speech codes, its teacher evaluations conducted sub secreto pontificio, its heated debate over the minutest matters, its hair-splitting fights over teaching loads and research assistants (tenure as benefice!), the contemporary university makes the Catholic Church look like a Quaker meeting house.Minus the predictable and exaggerated bits about the political correctness and anti-hegemonic discourse, he is, of course, onto something.
Posted by johnn at March 10, 2006 8:54 PM
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Wow, I love this piece. As both a catholic and a prof., I can attest to the power of such a claim. The Catholic Church had Vatican I and II, what about the university?
Beyond this, there were two competing models of university in the Middle Ages (represented by the Universities of Paris and Bologna): one run by faculty and one run by students. Imagine if the Bologna model had taken root in stead of the Paris model?
Posted by: james mullooly at March 22, 2008 8:09 AM
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