Review: The Crisis of Western Education by Christopher Dawson

Dawson here presents the story of the decline and fall of education in the West. For Dawson, the primary reason for the continuing and ever-deepening failure of Western education is the lack of intentional focus on the great central and integral factor of the West in all of its cultural and scientific products: Christianity.

Because the study of Christianity has been either ignored altogether or marginalized into the academic ghetto of medievalism, Western culture has become incomprehensible to even most Westerners. We live in a world and in the midst of a heritage which we do not understand or appreciate. The loss of knowledge of the contents of the Christian faith is the loss of the key that allows us to access the great history, literature, philosophy, and even science of the West, all of them products of the idea of the Incarnation and its concomitant ideas.

As a solution, Dawson proposes a course of study in the liberal arts which focuses on the Christian origins and influences of each. This will allow us first to understand ourselves and the products of our own culture, then, as we turn to study other civilizations, we will possess the ability to understand them through comparison and analogy.

I recommend this book for anyone interested in education as well as anyone interested in the humanities generally.

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