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The Contemplative Life and the Teaching of the Humanities


by Brian Stock — 2006

Meditation nowadays plays a part in mind/body medicine and in some branches of educational psychology. In ancient and medieval times, these functions formed a part of the humanities curriculum as it was taught in philosophical schools, monastic communities, and universities. This article claims that it is by returning to a holistic view of the functions of the humanities by means of meditative disciplines that the value and usefulness of the humanities can be most successfully integrated into Western life and institutions. In bringing about this perspective, teachers in the humanities have a great deal to learn from research in the cognitive neurosciences.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 108 Number 9, 2006, p. 1760-1764
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12679, Date Accessed: 12/16/2017 11:57:32 AM

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About the Author
  • Brian Stock
    University of Toronto
    BRIAN STOCK teaches history and literature in the Department of English at the University of Toronto. He has written a number of studies that deal with modes of perception between the classical and the early modern period. These include The Implications of Literacy (1981), a study of the rise of literate understanding during the Middle Ages, and Augustine, the Reader (1996), which discusses the relationship between reading, meditation, and the ethics of interpretation in the late ancient period. In 1999, he delivered the Rosenbach Lectures at the University of Pennsylvania on reading, meditation, and the history of mind/body medicine. He held the Chaire Internationale at the Collège de France in 1999–2000, and in 2001 was Sather Professor of Classical Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.
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