2400 years ago: Plato’s Academy, birthplace of philosophy,
“Let no one without geometry enter.”
2000 years ago: Virgil’s Aeneid, epic of civic virtue and
center of Roman education in writing and speaking
1600 years ago: St. Augustine of Hippo: “I believe in order to understand.”
All truth is God’s truth. Reading is transformational.
1500 years ago: Cassiodorus’s monastic school takes the classical inheritance and Augustine’s vision of Christian learning as its program: seven liberal arts divided into the trivium (arts of word: grammar, rhetoric, logic) and the quadrivium (arts of number: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music).
800 years ago: Independent universities begin in Bologna, Paris, Oxford, Salamanca, and elsewhere organized as colleges of teachers and students. Study of the seven liberal arts leads to advanced studies in law, medicine, or theology.
400 years ago: Harvard College, the oldest in the Americas north of Mexico City, founded with a curriculum emphasizing “rhetorical principles, rote learning, and constant drilling.”
150 years ago: Hope College chartered with focus on educating ministers, teachers, and missionaries and a curriculum of Mathematics, Latin, Greek, Rhetoric, Hygiene, History, Sacred Literature, Modern Languages (Dutch and German), Didactics, Chemistry, Intellectual Philosophy, Natural Philosophy (Statics, Dynamics, etc.), Natural History, Astronomy, Moral Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Aesthetics, and Logic. From the 1865-66 catalog: “There will be a constant reiteration and illustration of the true theory of education, which is, that it consists in the untiring endeavor to approach that perfection, corporeal, mental and spiritual, which belonged to us originally, and which it is the object of redemption to restore” (p. 20).
Today: Hope College’s Curriculum as a Story