The Monastic Tradition of Education – Christopher Perrin

Christopher Perrin July 12, 2017

Presented at:
SCL Summer Conference 2017


In this seminar, we will trace the history of classical education as it resided in the Western monastic tradition. At a time when many are considering "The Benedict Option," it is worth studying Benedict (480 - 543 AD) and the tradition of monastic education that preserved and extended classical Christian education. In one of the great ironies of history, Benedict flees the corruption of his university education in Rome and simply prays for three years at Subiaco (near the ruins of Nero's "party palace") and then emerges to become the one who safeguards the best of Christian and Roman culture. Remarkably, it is a man who seeks God in prayer while Rome is crumbling who becomes the leader of a monastic movement that preserves learning and piety for centuries to come. Benedict starts 12 monasteries in his lifetime, each with a school for educating the monks. By 1300 AD, many thousands of monasteries permeate Europe. Through several cycles of growth, stagnancy, corruption, and renewal, we will see that without Benedictine education, we would lack many of the riches that we inherit as classical educators. In this seminar, we will note the pedagogical and liturgical practices that characterized monastic education - many of which may serve to inspire and renew our own classical schools today.


Benedict Monastic Tradition


Christopher Perrin
Dr. Christopher Perrin is an author, consultant and speaker, who is committed to the national renewal of the liberal arts tradition. He co-founded and serves full time as the CEO/publisher at Classical Academic Press, a classical education curriculum, media, and consulting company. Christopher serves as a consultant to charter, public, private, and Christian schools across the country. He is the former vice president of the Society for Classical Learning and the director of the Alcuin Fellowship of classical educators. He has published numerous articles and lectures that are widely used throughout the United States and the English-speaking world. Christopher received his B.A. in history from the University of South Carolina and his M.Div. and Ph.D. in apologetics from Westminster Theological Seminary. He was also a special student in literature at St. Johns College in Annapolis. He has taught at Messiah College and Chesapeake Theological Seminary, and served as the founding headmaster of a classical school in Harrisburg, PA for ten years. He is the author of the books An Introduction to Classical Education: A Guide for Parents, The Greek Alphabet Code Cracker, Greek for Children, and co-author of the Latin for Children series published by Classical Academic Press.

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