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Old May 16th, 2017, 10:26 AM   #1
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The world's first university?


I have read some very interesting information concerning the Daigakuryo, which may be the world's first university. Established in Japan in the Nara period by Emperor Tenji, the Daigakuryo was originally a sophisticated training centre for aspiring young government officials. By the Heian period (794-1185 A.D.), however,the curriculum of this educational institute had expanded from public administration and political science to include also the humanities and arts. It seems to have been the first institute of higher education which was divided into so many different faculties and presented so many academic disciplines to its students.

One peculiarity about the Daigakuryo was that, instead of offering choices and specialization, it required students to study ALL the subjects on the curriculum.
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Old May 16th, 2017, 10:44 AM   #2
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Were the people attending it still expected to take up employment as civil servants after all that education though, or could people attending go on to do different jobs? I guess that'd help determine whether it was closer to a university in our modern sense of the word, or if it was just a vocational government training institute with an expanded curriculum that included things like arts...

Last edited by hama; May 16th, 2017 at 10:46 AM.
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Old May 16th, 2017, 10:46 AM   #3
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There was a royal academy at Luoyang during the Han Dynasty, which came about three centuries after the first academy was established by Plato.
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Old May 16th, 2017, 11:23 AM   #4

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Takshashila in India existed since 6th century BC.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxila
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Old May 16th, 2017, 11:24 AM   #5
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Did any of the Warring States sponsor schools?
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Old May 16th, 2017, 01:05 PM   #6

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Plato's Academy was the first we know of. Other Greek thinkers had their own schools, but those mostly were dedicated to the narrow interests of their founders. The Academy, as I understand it, embraced the notion that almost everything is worthy of study, so long as the discipline is pursued with an open-minded objectivity.

The development of enrollment and a standard curriculum leading to a degree certifying competence came later. Alexandria was a sprout that grew from Academy seed, but again there was, I don't believe, a structured path that led a student from ignorance to a competent grasp of the topics taught. Wherever large collections of "books" could be found, there also was a nascent University. In Europe, the University of Paris probably has the honors, but it had earlier roots further south, primarily in Italy.
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Old May 16th, 2017, 01:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reitia View Post
I have read some very interesting information concerning the Daigakuryo, which may be the world's first university. Established in Japan in the Nara period by Emperor Tenji, the Daigakuryo was originally a sophisticated training centre for aspiring young government officials. By the Heian period (794-1185 A.D.), however,the curriculum of this educational institute had expanded from public administration and political science to include also the humanities and arts. It seems to have been the first institute of higher education which was divided into so many different faculties and presented so many academic disciplines to its students.

One peculiarity about the Daigakuryo was that, instead of offering choices and specialization, it required students to study ALL the subjects on the curriculum.
Depends on your definition of a "university". University of Bologna 1088 AD is the oldest to be called a "universitas", and seems to be the oldest to have all the elements that are part of modern universities - formal degeee granting, established curriculum, exams,. While rhe Daigakuryo met most of these elements, I don't thing*it granted formal degrees with a diploma. Did it have exams? Also, it seems that Daigakuryo was a one off institution. The medieval Europe univerisities were part of a chain of institutions, and professors could and did travel between univerisities. As a center for establishing new ideas and knowledge, as medieval univerisities did and modern universities do, and not just regurgitate existing ideas, I don't think Daigakuryo did. But it sounds liked Daigakuryo came close.

The direct origin of the modern university sytem, from India to America to Europe, came out from the medieval university, and fanous medieval universites like Oxford are still world leading institutions today. (Despite how nationalist in other lands would like to spin thing, the fact remains that modern universities across the globe, were following the European university structure.)

If you widen your definition to include essentially an institute of higher learning, there were a number of ancient institutes, but they were not universities in the modern sense. Taxila in the Indian subcontinent, Nalanda, and others.
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Old May 16th, 2017, 01:31 PM   #8

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Taxila, in present day Pakistan. The fact that I am from a village 10 miles to the West of Taxila makes my chest expand with pride


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Old May 16th, 2017, 01:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asherman View Post
Plato's Academy was the first we know of. Other Greek thinkers had their own schools, but those mostly were dedicated to the narrow interests of their founders. The Academy, as I understand it, embraced the notion that almost everything is worthy of study, so long as the discipline is pursued with an open-minded objectivity.

The development of enrollment and a standard curriculum leading to a degree certifying competence came later. Alexandria was a sprout that grew from Academy seed, but again there was, I don't believe, a structured path that led a student from ignorance to a competent grasp of the topics taught. Wherever large collections of "books" could be found, there also was a nascent University. In Europe, the University of Paris probably has the honors, but it had earlier roots further south, primarily in Italy.
I wouldn't call the Acedemy an university in the modern sense, in that it did not grant degrees, have a set curriculum, or give exams. The Acadmey was a center of higher learning, but it was more like modern "think tanks", where ideas are kicked around and discussed, than a modern university.

But I would say the same for Taxila and other centers of higher learning called "universities".

But as I said, it depends on how you choose to define what a univerity is. That is why there are so many different claims to be the first "university", because people don't all have the same definition, and depending on your definition, you could exclude Taxila, but include Daigakuryo, for example.
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Old May 16th, 2017, 06:33 PM   #10

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Originally Posted by Bullit View Post
Taxila, in present day Pakistan. The fact that I am from a village 10 miles to the West of Taxila makes my chest expand with pride
Taxila (Taksha Shira - Broken Head or Taksha Shila - Broken Slab of Stone perhaps pointing to a hill formation: Alexander Cunningham - Ancient Geography of India). Sure, something to be proud of. Are you from Kot Sundki, Bullit? Rawalpindi (Town of the Chief) must have been the capital of a principality.

Last edited by Aupmanyav; May 16th, 2017 at 06:35 PM.
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