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English Medieval BooksThe Reading Abbey Collections from Foundation to Dispersal$
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Alan Coates

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207566

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207566.001.0001

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Study at University

Study at University

(p.87) 6 Study at University
English Medieval Books

Alan Coates

Oxford University Press

The teaching provided in the monasteries would have been supplemented for more able monks by study in the schools and universities. The Benedictines' enthusiasm for university study in general, and their desire for contacts with Oxford University in particular, should be seen against a background of reform undertaken by the order from the middle of the thirteenth century through to the middle of the fourteenth century. Theology and canon law were the two subjects in which monastic students would have taken degrees at Oxford. A Benedictine house of study was set up in Oxford in 1283, when Sir John Giffard of Brimpsfield gave land for the foundation of Gloucester College. Only one of the seven Oxford-educated monks from Reading, John Thorne II, took a degree in canon law. Having illustrated the external evidence, this chapter turns to the evidence for university study provided by the surviving manuscripts from Reading Abbey. The manuscripts are considered by content, looking first at theology, then preaching, law, the artes, and dictamen.

Keywords:   Reading Abbey, Benedictines, Oxford University, monasteries, theology, canon law, John Giffard, Gloucester College, John Thorne II, university study

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