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New Connections, New Challenges
Many classical Greek texts in philosophy and science had nearly disappeared in Europe during the Middle Ages. However, Arabic-speaking Islamic scholars in the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain preserved these works. These scholars had translated the works into Arabic, and from Arabic into Latin.
As Europeans came into increased contact with the Islamic world during the Crusades of the 12th century, the texts again became available in Europe. However, since books were still copied by hand at that time, access to them was limited.
After the invention of the printing press around 1450, many more copies of books were available. With the spread of books and literacy, the dominance of universities and the Catholic Church over intellectual life declined. Classical texts and new methods of scientific inquiry, rather than theological writings, became the focus of education.
Changes in Education Scholars in the 15th century expanded the revival of interest in Greek and Roman texts to include literature, drama, and history. These works had been unavailable or of little interest to medieval scholars who were primarily concerned with theological questions. During the 15th century, the liberal arts (areas of study required for general knowledge rather than for specific professional skills, such as becoming a lawyer or church official) of the Middle Ages began to be called the humanities. Humanists were known as teachers of the humanities. The chart shows that despite some similarity in medieval and Renaissance higher education, there was a different emphasis.
   LIBERAL ARTS CURRICULUM AT EUROPEAN UNIVERSITIES
 Medieval Universities, c. 13th century
  Renaissance Universities, c. 15th century
   • Grammar
• Logic
• Arithmetic
• Geometry
• Astronomy
• Music
• Rhetoric (guiding an audience to a specific conclusion)
 • History
• Moral philosophy
• Eloquence
• Letters (grammar and logic) • Poetry
• Mathematics
• Astronomy
• Music
   Instructors read aloud from Latin texts because few books were available.
   Students were required to know Classical Latin and Greek to read those works directly.
  Humanists believed that education could help people achieve their full human potential and would prepare them to be active, productive citizens. Therefore, they created secondary schools to teach the humanities to students at younger ages. In addition, while universities continued to focus on traditional fields of study, they also began to include the humanities. The goal for humanists was not the preparation of scholars in theology, law, or medicine, but the development of an individual who excelled in many areas. A
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