From Manuscript to Print: the Evolution of the Medieval Book

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The centrality of sacred Scripture in medieval culture made reading a vital part of education. To advance understanding of Christian teachings, the Church organized a system of education that enabled its clerics to better spread and interpret Christian beliefs. Taking the liberal arts curriculum of the ancient world as a model, the Church used secular texts to educate its intelligentsia.

Until the twelfth century, monasteries played the primary role in copying and preserving non-religious texts. From the twelfth century onwards, non-monastic cathedral schools became the leading institutions for education. By the 13th century, some cathedral schools had developed into universities, creating a new educational model known as "scholasticism." The scholastic university system lasted into the early modern period. During the Renaissance, however, Italian humanists called its methods into question, reacting against the universities as overly parochial and restrictive in their outlook and aims.

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How the Classics Survived

the Sacred Word
Private Prayer
Leather and Chains
Medieval Music
How the Classics Survived
Manuscripts in the Age of Print
Evolution of the Book
Appetite for Destruction
Manuscript Facsimiles
Cornell's Medieval Books
Cornell University Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections Cornell University Library

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