chapter  12
Two legacies: universities and cathedrals
Pages 29

The medieval church, in a sense, is still with us. Much of the ritual – from the rite of baptism to the rite of Christian burial – remains virtually unchanged except for being vernacularized. Theological creeds, although with different emphases and nuances, are still recited. An ethic based on the Decalogue and the Sermon on the Mount continues to elicit broad acceptance, if not universal observance. This chapter focuses on two other legacies, which owe their origins largely to the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. One of these lives on wherever there are institutions of higher learning which have been influenced by the Western European model. Also, in a very physical sense, contemporary places of Christian worship commonly take their form and texture from churches whose architectural styles were formed in those crucial centuries of the high Middle Ages: when one says ‘church’ today, one usually thinks of a building medieval in origin.