Welcome to Alcuin Study Center

We’re glad you’re here. Our mission is broad and our programs are varied so before you dive in, let us help you get your bearings…

Let me begin by telling you two reasons that Alcuin (pronounced ‘æl-kwin) of York is our namesake.

  1. When Alcuin was approached by Charlemagne to be the head educator of his empire, their conversation went something like this*:
    • Charlemagne: “I’ve heard a lot about you, Alcuin. I want you to move from your little island to my big palace and teach important people important things.”
    • Alcuin: “I’m probably down with that, but first I want you to stop cutting off people’s heads.”
    • Charlemagne: “But they aren’t Christians. I only cut off the heads of people who believe the wrong things.”
    • Alcuin: “That’s not how the gospel works.”
    • Charlemagne: “What’s the alternative?”
    • Alcuin: “Education. Lovingly dialogue. Let the Holy Spirit to the converting, not the sword.”
    • Charlemagne, hand on sword, glances at Alcuin’s neck, “Hmmm…well okay. We’re try it your way.”
  2. At the time of this conversation, much of what was Good, True, and Beautiful of the past centuries of Western culture was being destroyed. Alcuin, like his predecessors Ecgbert and the Venerable Bede, had been in the habit of collecting and saving manuscripts and artifacts, not to mention knowledge, of the great thinkers and culture makers that had preceded him (folks like Ambrose and Augustine). He claimed to be no great thinker himself, but he saw the need to teach the next generations the Truth, Beauty, and Goodness of the Christian tradition. He understood education in the permanent things to be the means of human flourishing.

Like Alcuin, we live in a time when people like to cut off each other’s head for not believing the same things they do. Like Alcuin, we believe that education and discourse are far better tools than the sword.

And like Alcuin, we live in an age when much of what is True, Good, and Beautiful is in danger of being lost. We aim to help the Church and the University to preserve and learn from the best of the Christian tradition(s).

We also like Alcuin because he invented the first question mark, and we love good honest questions.