Talk:Ancient higher-learning institutions

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Article name[edit]

Hi. Do you think one of these article titles instead:

  • Ancient institutions of higher learning
  • Ancient centres of higher learning

I have a soft spot for the second option, since it is more encompassing. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 17:03, 11 March 2010 (UTC)

Do you know the structure or form of the ancient universities? Saying modern universities originated in western medieval universities and as such need to be distinguished is foolish if you do not know details about ancient universities elsewhere. For example, completing the university in Bengal made one a Pondit/pundit which means master. So this seems to indicate that the term was translated in Europe. There are other examples too. How much was adopted into European medieval universities? So, may be, modern universities HAS roots in the ancient universities all over the world.
Consider this: European medieval universities have their roots in ancient universities around the globe. So the distinction made at the beginning of the article is western arrogance and should be deleted. (NOVO) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 180.234.71.181 (talk) 08:53, 25 February 2011‎

Definition[edit]

What is the definition of "ancient" in this article in terms of dates? After what year do we no longer consider a university to be "ancient"?VR talk 14:40, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

As I understand the scope and origins of this article, it was meant to deal with those higher educational institutions that arose before the rise of universities around the twelfth century, and more generally with the continuation of such institutions, whether or not they later became universities. As such, the scope extends, at least, into the early middle ages. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 20:03, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Universities first arose at different times according to different scholars. (See discussion here for example).
Frankly, it doesn't matter what definition we use as long as we're consistent in our terminology. If we want to include medieval universities, we should call the article "pre-modern(/renaissance) institutions of higher-learning" or "institutions of higher learning before 1000 AD".VR talk 00:36, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
Medieval universities are already in a separate article covered, so no need to replicate its contents here. This article deals with higher-learning institutions in ancient civilizations, unless they are covered in separate articles like the Christian university or the Muslim madrasah. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 01:50, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi GPM. I don't quite agree with your last sentence. I think this article should deal with all non-university institutions of higher learning, including cathedral and monastic schools (which it does) and madrasahs (which it does not yet). They may be discussed in greater detail elsewhere, but they should be discussed briefly here. I see the break-point for this article as the emergence of Western (or Christian) universities.--SteveMcCluskey (talk) 20:35, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
Hi Steve. Until these edits, the article had a separate section for madrasahs which could be expanded to discuss madrasahs briefly. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 13:17, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Guys, Antiquity refers to the period before the middle ages, or before fall of (western) Rome. That doesn't include Madrasahs and Universities. If we rename the article premodern higher-learning institutions, that would work. Ian.thomson (talk) 20:38, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

SteveMcCluskey's proposal creates more issues. Universities are "institutions of higher-learning". Is this article meant to include universities as well? If not then it should be called "Premodern non-university higher-learning institutions", which is awkward. I would tend to agree with GunPowderMa that this should be on ancient institutions, and we can have separate articles on European universities and Madrasas.VR talk 05:17, 5 February 2012 (UTC)

Rename?[edit]

Ian's point above is well taken; the term ancient is really inappropriate for the subject of this article. Drawing on Gun Powder Ma's discussion above, may I suggest the alternate titles:

  • Premodern higher-learning institutions
  • Premodern institutions of higher learning
  • Premodern centres of higher learning

I think GPM's preference for centres (or centers) rather than institutions of higher learning is a good one, as it allows the inclusion of early higher-learning centers that were not formally organized. My one qualifier is that I would read premodern as ending with the early modern period (which begins around 1500). Further discussion? --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 19:45, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

I would also prefer "centres" over "institutions" for the reason given by you. As for "ancient", in the context of Chinese history at least, Ancient China can refer to its history up to 1911 (when the republic was created). This suggests that "ancient" can have a very flexible meaning. The problem with the "premodern" centres of higher learning -"modern" university dichotomy is that, outside the West, universities were adopted as late as the 19th century, not before. So, only if we are prepared to refer to mid-19th century Chinese bureaucratic schools or Muslim madrasahs of the time still as premodern, we could think of renaming the article. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 13:17, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Unreliable source?[edit]

The article cites a web page by Prof. Jerome Bump of the University of Texas as a source on the early history of the universities. Prof. Bump is the author of a biography of Gerard Manley Hopkins and of many articles on Hopkins and other aspects of Victorian literature. He is not, however, an expert on the history of education or on ancient or medieval history. I propose removing the citation and -- lacking the development of more reliable sources -- the arguments which it supports. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 21:02, 3 February 2012 (UTC)

Are you talking about this? In this case I would agree with you, because this is a self-published and poorly formatted (that clearly hasn't been reviewed) entry where stricter rules apply.
If professor Bump had published this in a journal or an academic press, then it would reliable because his field of expertise is close enough.VR talk 05:27, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I too find cites to be a garbled potpourri of unreferenced contents. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 13:20, 6 February 2012 (UTC)
OK, I've removed the ref to Bump's web page and added a ref to the nature of the university. The 849 reorganization still lacks a source, but I've let it stand for now.--SteveMcCluskey (talk) 16:54, 6 February 2012 (UTC)

Naming of the sections[edit]

The "western world" includes current day Turkey and Libya, because they were once Roman and Greek centers of civilization. The word "south asia" is a misnomer because the centers of learning in current day Pakistan and Bangladesh, were once essentially part and parcel of ancient India - being centers of Hinduism and Buddhism. This is why the term "India" is more appropriate to denote this. Otherwise, the term "western world" should be equivalently renamed as "Europe and Near East".— Preceding unsigned comment added by 139.19.40.92 (talkcontribs)

I'm wary about changing it to "India" that could fuel the flames of nationalism in the hearts of some editors from those countries. I will grant that the other section names could stand to be changed. Ian.thomson (talk) 15:50, 5 July 2012 (UTC)

Revision of Lede[edit]

At present, the article opens with the following introduction:

Ancient higher-learning institutions which give learning an institutional framework date back to ancient times and can be found in many cultures. These ancient centres were typically institutions of philosophical education and religious instruction. They are to be distinguished from the modern Western-style university which is an organizational form originating in medieval Europe and adopted in other world regions since the onset of modern times (see list of oldest universities in continuous operation).[1]

This article, and the related ones concerning universities, have been the source of recurring disputes -- primarily about the exclusion of non western institutions that do not meet the accepted definition of a university as a self-governing corporate body. I suggest rewriting the lede as follows to stress the different kinds of entities controlling other higher-learning institutions:

A variety of ancient higher-learning institutions were developed in many cultures to provide an institutional framework for scholarly activities. These ancient centres were sponsored and overseen by courts; by religious institutions, which sponsored cathedral schools, monastic schools, and madrasas; by scientific institutions, such as museums, hospitals, and observatories; and by individual scholars. They are to be distinguished from the Western-style university which is an autonomous organization of scholars that originated in medieval Europe[2] and was adopted in other world regions since the onset of modern times (see list of oldest universities in continuous operation).[3]

This section probably still needs some citations, but does it seem to go in the right direction? SteveMcCluskey (talk) 19:36, 6 July 2012 (UTC)

  1. ^ Rüegg, Walter: "Foreword. The University as a European Institution", in: A History of the University in Europe. Vol. 1: Universities in the Middle Ages, Cambridge University Press, 1992, ISBN 0-521-36105-2, pp. XIX–XX
  2. ^ Stephen C. Ferruolo, The Origins of the University: The Schools of Paris and Their Critics, 1100-1215, (Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1985) pp. 4-5 ISBN 0-8047-1266-2
  3. ^ Rüegg, Walter: "Foreword. The University as a European Institution", in: A History of the University in Europe. Vol. 1: Universities in the Middle Ages, Cambridge University Press, 1992, ISBN 0-521-36105-2, pp. XIX–XX