The School-Life Of Walafried Strabo -- By: James Davie Butler

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 040:157 (Jan 1883)
Article: The School-Life Of Walafried Strabo
Author: James Davie Butler

The School-Life Of Walafried Strabo1

Prof. James Davie Butler

This autobiography of a school-boy, and that of a secular scholar in the second decade of the ninth century, was first printed, in 1857, in the annual report of the educational establishment in a Swiss monastery — die Erzieungsanstalt des Benedictiner-Stiftes Maria Einsiedeln.

The narrative was introduced by the following remarks: “How they taught and learned a thousand years ago, as related by a contemporary of St. Meinrad [founder of Einsiedeln], Walafried Strabo. The church of Christ is the educator of mankind. Her founder opened this school eighteen hundred years ago, and in the end of days lie will return in order to hold the final examination. A great portion of the activities of the church for this end consists in teaching and training the young. Every age has, indeed, its

own peculiar development, and yet the church has educational as well as other traditions. ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.’ With this warrant the bride of the Lord, the church, took possession of the inheritance of art and science which Borne and Greece had left to her. Not for one moment did the treasures of classical antiquity remain without a possessor. Not without significance had Christ, the Lord, been portrayed in the Catacombs in the form of Orpheus. In the dark hour when the Koman imperial throne collapsed on which Theodoric the Goth had just seated his teacher Avitus, Manlius Boethius committed his spiritual wealth to the Goth, Cassio-dorus, who transmitted it to the sons of St. Benedict, etc. The seed of Christian instruction had been inherited by the sons of St. Benedict from the age of martyrs and holy fathers. Great seminaries were opened at Fulda, Weissenburg in the bishopric of Spires, St. Alban in Mainz, Saint Gall, Keichenau in the bishopric of Constance, St. Maximin and St. Matthias in Treves, etc. To these establishments the sons of the nobility resorted, while the Benedictines were their teachers and fathers. Whoever saw one of these schools saw them all as to everything essential. Accordingly it is our purpose to describe one of them, namely, the school of Keichenau, from which came the founder of Einsiedeln, St. Meinrad, and Walafried Strabo, who was his schoolmate in Keichenau, and who, four years after him, assumed the Benedictine dress.

“The intelligent reader will at once perceive that the narrative is not mere poetry, but is sustained by authoritative documents. Among the authorities to which recourse has been had we mention the works of Walafried Strabo himself (in Canisü antiquas Leetiones), Bibli...

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