The significance of selecting the appropriate educational setting for a child cannot be overstated. At Cambridge, our educational approach stands out from many others due to its robust foundation in the Classical tradition. Ancient Roman scholar Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, commonly known as Quintilian, continues to inspire the philosophy of classical Christian schools through his groundbreaking work ‘Institutio Oratoria’. Quintilian’s contributions offer invaluable guidance on a wide range of educational principles.
Philosophy | Classical Christian Environment
Quintilian lived in the mid-first century AD and is renowned for establishing the first public school in Rome. Before him, formal education in group settings did not exist. The elite had their young ones taught at home, often by an educated slave termed a ‘paedagogus’ or pedagogue. Quintilian revolutionized this by creating a physical location where young Romans could learn. Though Quintillian’s educational philosophy lacks the Christian roots that Cambridge has, he defines the classical side perfectly.
Virtue | Classical Christian Environment
Central to Quintilian’s educational perspective was the emphasis on instilling virtue in students. He believed that without ethical teachings, knowledge could become a weapon in the hands of the malicious. He conveyed this in the twelfth book of the Institutio, written to lay out the philosophy of his school:
“For I do not merely assert that the ideal orator should be a good man, but I affirm that no man can be an orator unless he is a good man. For it is impossible to regard those men as gifted with intelligence who on being offered the choice between the two paths of virtue and of vice choose the latter.”
Quintilian views an orator as more than just a skilled speaker; rather, they are individuals cultivated in the finest educational settings. This well-rounded individual would not merely remain within academic circles but would apply their knowledge to benefit society at large. The orator in Quintilian’s mind was the final product of someone who had learned in the best educational environment possible.
This philosophy resonates with Cambridge’s educational ethos. We believe in nurturing students to utilize their knowledge ethically and for the greater good. It is a profound responsibility, making it crucial for the entire Cambridge community – teachers, parents, and students – to aim for this objective. By integrating this philosophy across homes, schools, and churches, we hope to imbue our students with Quintilian’s classical ideals.
For more information, be sure to listen to our podcast episode which dives further into the importance of academic environments.
Schedule a tour to experience Cambridge’s educational setting and witness firsthand how the Classical tradition comes to life in our classrooms.