Erasmus and the Future of Education

Drawing upon Desiderius Erasmus’s most important contributions to the Western canon, this workshop explores essential virtues and perspectives that college freshmen and sophomores are often lacking when they walk into his classroom. This workshop will use Erasmus, the prince of humanists, as a guide to rethinking what it means for students to be “college ready” and what we can do to better prepare them for the world after they are done with their formal education. Rather than bodies of knowledge, test-taking tactics, discipline proficiencies, language skills, etc., we will reframe the conversation around the way that students think about learning, the way they approach lectures/discussions/seminars, the place of education in their larger lives, and what teachers can do about these things. While education, and higher education in particular, continues to experience various sea changes, Erasmus presents certain virtues of learning that transcend alterations to things like discipline content, standardized exams, technology, course modality, and academic assessment, and it is these virtues, Erasmus is convinced, that students need to find fulfillment in their lives.

Dr. David J. Davis

Dr. David J. Davis is Associate Professor of History at Houston Baptist University. He specializes in early modern religious culture and intellectual history, and his publications include two books on early modern religious images as well as numerous articles, chapters, and essays on the English Reformation and the history of the book. At HBU, he teaches courses in European history and is a faculty member in the Honors College. He is a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, The New Criterion, and The American Conservative, where he writes on a variety of topics from the Great Books and Western science to Renaissance art and the history of Texas. His forthcoming book The Culture of Revelation in England (published with Oxford University Press) examines a variety of sources from the Western tradition, demonstrating that experiences of divine revelation, both biblical and contemporary, were central to late medieval and early modern devotion and epistemology.