EHS Conference 2017-18: Churches and Education

20th January 2018, IHR London

Download the proposal form here - the proposals deadline has been extended to the 30th September.

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 reform

  • 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. Early stage graduate students are also invited to submit (in lieu of a paper proposal) a poster indicating an aspect of their current research. This need not relate to the conference theme: anything that falls within the remit of the Society is welcome. 

The Summer Conference with this theme took place 18-20 July 2017, at the University of Exeter.

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