Read Dr Zachary Purvis' blog post on the Oxford university Press blog

Dr Purvis recently blogged for the OUP blog on the topic of The University: past, present, … and future?

By nearly all accounts, higher education has in recent years been lurching toward a period of creative destruction. Presumed job prospects and state budgetary battles pit the STEM disciplines against the humanities in much of our popular and political discourse. On many fronts, the future of the university, at least in its recognizable form as a veritable institution of knowledge, has been cast into doubt. Has the university, whose origins trace back to 12th and 13th century Paris, Bologna, Oxford, and Padua, now outlived its sell-by date? Sages of Silicon Valley, for starters, would offer a resounding yes. But the anxieties of the present invite reflection on higher education’s past. If one digs deeper, a curious point emerges. In our current cultural moment, it may come as a surprise that the modern scientific research university, born in early 19th century Berlin in the context of war, revolution, and swelling national interest—circumstances not entirely unlike our own—was founded by … a theologian.

Dr Zachary Purvis
Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh. 


Catch his post at