The Boethius Institute for the Advancement of Liberal Education serves the ongoing renewal of liberal arts education by assisting scholars and leaders to grow in their understanding and practice of the traditional liberal arts and sciences, while also growing in practical wisdom about the goals and means of education. Our Fellowship unites those passionate about liberal education in a bond of friendship and common effort on behalf of the advancement of liberal education throughout the world. Through the Arts of Liberty website, we offer an array of curricular and formational material for use by teachers, students, and lifelong learners.
Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius was a philosopher, theologian, statesman, and martyr who devoted his life to preserving the wisdom of the Greco-Roman world for those who were to live under barbarian domination. He gifted to the Medieval West Latin translations of the logical works of Aristotle and Porphyry and treatises on geometry, arithmetic, and music. More importantly, he modeled for the new Christian world a love of the intellectual achievements of the ancient world, which he exemplified through his theological treatises and especially his renowned dialogue, The Consolation of Philosophy.
The Boethius Institute was conceived under the inspiration of The Consolation in a particular way, and of the life and work of Boethius generally. Our logo expresses the importance of The Consolation through the Greek letters, pi and theta, which Boethius saw on Lady’s Philosophy’s garment, signifying the interconnection of the practical and theoretical branches of philosophy. The white cross on red field refers to the arms of the city of Pavia, Italy, where Boethius was martyred and his cult developed. The illumination coming from the book being read symbolizes our life of learning and the fruit that comes from it. Learn more about Boethius here.
The renewal of liberal arts education has been gaining momentum over the past decade. Networks such as the Barney Charter Schools Initiative, Great Hearts Academies, the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education, Chesterton Academies, and the Association of Christian Classical Schools represent over 750 schools, while liberal arts homeschooling efforts may be reaching as many as a million students. Serious concerns about the politicization of mainstream schools are leading many more parents and educators to consider a return to liberal arts education.
On the university level, organizations such as the Association for Core Texts and Curricula ahd the Foundation for Excellence in Higher Education are promoting a return to classical sources and attitudes toward learning. Several Masters and PhD programs have sprung up to serve the need for advanced formation. Drawn by the success of the resurgence in the United States, leaders of educational institutions around the world are seeking inspiration, guidance, and support for their own efforts.
The growth of the renewal has brought a need to think more deeply about liberal arts education as it was practiced in the past as a guide to how we might practice it today. But few practitioners in the movement have been thoroughly educated in the liberal arts and sciences themselves. At the same time, the past decades of liberal arts education have produced students capable under the right guidance of achieving a level of excellence like that found in past ages.
Founded by those with advanced mastery in the liberal arts and sciences along with extensive experience in the current renewal, the Boethius Institute proposes to guide present and future leaders in the movement and scholars at all levels of education in their understanding and practice of the disciplines. We will form a collaborative friendship of Fellows working toward accomplishing the Institute’s goals, that will both strengthen and foster the efforts of all involved in the ongoing renewal. As an organization independent of any particular educational institution, the Boethius Institute will be free to advise institutions as they work to offer education and training more deeply grounded in the liberal arts and sciences, and to exercise national and international leadership. The Institute will also initiate and support the publication of curricular materials that will contribute to the renewal, and help to inform public discourse about the nature, success, and promise of the current return to liberal education.