The medieval roots of our contemporary universities are well known. Rather less familiar is what thinkers of the time actually considered education to be. The two theorists examined here – Hugh of St Victor (c.1096–1141) and John of Salisbury (c.1120–1180) – represent only the twelfth century, but there are good reasons for turning to this period in particular for an assessment of medieval education. Intellectually, the twelfth century saw heightened activity, especially in Paris, where Hugh taught and John studied. The old cathedral schools were proving incapable of absorbing the influx of new texts and ideas (including, for instance, techniques of textual analysis and the translations of Aristotelian logical writings) or of satisfying the growing desire for instruction in these by students who were driven both by enthusiasm and by a recognition of the career advancements that education could bring within the Church.