Education of the Laity (1)

Penflourish initial F at beginning of text
Corpus Christi Coll. MS 325, f. 2r
Vincent of Beauvais, De eruditione puerorum nobilium
Norwich?, ca 1275

Image reproduced by kind permission of the Master and Fellows of Corpus Christi College

Although preaching in the vernacular was one way the Dominicans taught the laity, they also wrote treatises for lay instruction, although mainly for those of the higher social classes. Vincent of Beauvais (ca 1200–ca 1264) entered the Dominican convent in Paris ca 1215–20, moving later to their convent at Beauvais which had been founded by King Louis IX. Well known to the king, he was advisor for the education of the French royal family, and wrote this manual for the teaching of noble boys, the De eruditione puerorum nobilium. Ten chapters are devoted to the teaching of girls and the title of the text sometimes has filiorum (of children) rather than puerorum (of boys). At the top left here a list of text sections contains some of the chapters written concerning girls. The text was dedicated to Queen Margaret of France, wife of Louis IX, for the use of the royal tutor, Simon, and was probably written in the late 1240s. Written in Latin, it is a manual for the instructor, not for the pupils, who must have been taught in vernacular French. This copy, decorated with penflourished initials, belonged to the Benedictines of Norwich Cathedral Priory and was perhaps used by the instructor of the novices.

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