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EHS Conference - Churches and Education

July 18, 2017 - July 20, 2017
University of Exeter

Exeter EX4 4RJ
United Kingdom

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Christianity has always been involved in education, from the very earliest communities teaching those about to be baptised, to present-day churches' involvement in schools and higher education. Christianity has a core theological concern for teaching, discipleship and formation, but this is overlaid by a long and complex history of the various relationships between churches and education.

From simple instructions in the 'rule of faith', Christian communities developed forms of catechesis, and still more sophisticated instruction for those more advanced in the faith. This raises questions about the relationship of such practices to the educational traditions of Greece and Rome and to those outside the Roman Empire. Did Christian education develop differently in Byzantium and in western and northern Europe? Monastic education clearly played a crucial role: but who precisely provided it, for whom and to what ends? To what extent was monastic scholarship acquainted with non- Christian and heretical texts? How did the education of the faithful differ between monastic and parish contexts? How was it affected by successive reform movements and new forms of Christian asceticism? Many of these questions continued to resonate in the early modern and modern worlds, when the question of churches' interactions with to other sources of scholarship and education became acute, and when encounters between different brands of Christianity and between Christianity and other religions intensified and broadened, not to mention the growing engagement between Churches and the modern State, as well as secularity.

Possible themes for communications might include Churches’ role in or engagement with:,

  • Philology and the preservation of key texts (from the preservation of Aristotle by

    Syriac monks to nineteenth century missioners' codification of African languages)

  • Musical education (Kapellmeisters, cathedral schools & music on the missions)

  • Visual education (printed images, stained glass, attitudes to icons and statues)

  • Catechesis, spiritual direction and religious/spiritual education in domestic contexts

  • New forms of knowledge (e.g. science)

  • Exclusion (e.g. the history of non-conformity and English universities) and self-

    exclusion (e.g. some Mennonite groups)

  • Educating disadvantaged groups (e.g. women, subaltern groups, the poor) and social


  • Cultural encounter (education in multi-religious contexts; education & mission)

  • Practical and technical education (from Medieval apprentices and Guilds to the Arts

    and Crafts movements and craft education).

  • Secular educational movements

We invite submissions which are innovative in their mode of presentation, subject to the usual time constraints. Possible ideas might include the use of music or recorded sound; presentation in dialogue; the performance/presentation of pedagogical materials.

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June 30, 2017, 9:00am BST

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