Event Overview: A Hole in the Renaissance

National Association of Scholars

On February 12, 2019, the National Association of Scholars was joined by First Things to listen to an evening lecture by Dr. Elenor Schnieder. After a reception over wine and conversation on a rather slushy day in New York City, Dr. Schnieder discussed the disappearance of Latin grammar schools during the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI.

By 1535, England had a robust and growing number of Latin grammar schools that aspired to teach some form of humanist Latin. The very reason for the early spread of humanist ideas, however, nearly proved the downfall of Latin education in general and the educational fashion with it. Pre-Reformation English humanism had proven itself to be entirely compatible with late medieval religious beliefs about the role of intercessory prayers in the life of the church; schools founded by humanists maintained traditional expectations about the role of school as a religious organization. Thus, when Henry VIII and Edward VI attempted to reform the church and stamp out practices they regarded as superstitious many schools vanished with the institutions that had been outlawed.  

A video of the lecture is below, it begins at the 22-minute mark.

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