Education as Heresy in the Middle Ages
October 4, 2012 9:53 AM Subscribe
Did the Catholic Church actively suppress literacy and education during the Middle Ages, or was it simply a byproduct of the era?
posted by zarq to Grab Bag (28 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
A friend and I have been discussing the transformative effects mass literacy and uncensored education can have on authoritarian regimes, including some theocracies.
I remember learning in high school and college that the Catholic Church actively suppressed all forms of secular education during the Middle Ages. We were told this was one of the ways they maintained power: by preventing laypeople from learning enough to question religious doctrine.
But I'm having difficulty finding reputable sources online that discuss ways they did so. In fact, the impression I'm getting is that the Church didn't overtly oppose education; they merely attacked as heretical any concepts or research that ran counter to accepted teachings and were considered dangerous. Also, that since books and scrolls were difficult to create and maintain they were simply were not available to the masses.
What really happened? Can anyone shed some light on this?
Also, I'd really appreciate any links you might be able to provide to (unbiased / substantial / reputable) sources on this topic. Thanks!