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Classrooms and Cathedrals: Medieval Education and 21st Century Learning

By Dr. Nicole Ribe PTS MDiv 2007

For the vast majority of medieval people learning was a bodily activity.  Stained glass windows taught biblical stories, prayer position connected the mind to the heart, and new objects and everyday activities became vessels of theological wisdom.  Even for the literate, reading was not the passive reception of information.  Usually, texts were read aloud in a community and the audience was invited to make connections between words and concepts, creating endless chains of meaning from a single verse.  As our culture becomes more visual, interconnected, and, in many ways, “hyperlinked,” what wisdom might we find in medieval modes of education? How might we, too, find ways to utilize new technologies to convey the richness of the Christian tradition? 

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