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Did You Know? Harvard Used to be a Christian University!?

The Christian Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony were seeking freedom and built Harvard in 1636.

Harvard University has a historical connection to Christianity. Harvard was founded in 1636 with the primary purpose of training ministers for the Puritan colonists in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Religious Foundation: Harvard’s founders were Puritan clergy and leaders who sought to establish an institution to educate the clergy and ensure a well-educated religious leadership. The university’s motto, “Veritas” (Latin for truth), reflects the Puritan commitment to seeking truth through education and faith.

The Rules and Precepts: The original rules and precepts of Harvard stated: “Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life”.

The Harvard Charter of 1650 reinforced Harvard’s commitment to religious education, stating that the institution’s purpose was to advance “learning and godliness.” The charter emphasized the importance of educating students in both knowledge and piety.

Early Harvard curriculum heavily emphasized the study of classical languages, philosophy, and theology. The study of the Bible and Christian doctrine was central to the educational experience.

Harvard’s early years involved mandatory attendance at religious services, and students were expected to live according to strict Puritan codes. The university’s leadership roles were often held by clergy or those closely affiliated with the church. Over time, as Harvard evolved and the Enlightenment era influenced educational philosophies, the university gradually became more secular.

By the late 18th century, Harvard underwent changes that diversified its curriculum and moved away from its strict religious focus. While the university’s early Christian history is foundational, its character has transformed into a diverse and secular institution over the centuries.



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