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Renaissance educational theory of the 15th and 16th centuries weighs in on the side of aristocracy ie leadership roles should be in the hands of the best and brightest Educa-tion for leadership is crucial for the sons of aristocrats Being born into the aristocracy is not in itself a guarantee that leader-ship capabilities will emerge Blood tells theorists agree but it does not tell everything and it does not tell enough about what is most important Philip fathered Alexanders body but Aristotle was father to his mind The theme echoes through the renaissance and into the seventeenth century eg John Clark Declamations 1625 Renaissance educational theorists assume that leader-ship education is necessary for the sons of the aristocracy A few allow that gifted children are sometimes born into lower class families and that such children may appropri-ately become protgs of benefactors Very few renaissance educa-tional theorists speak to the subject of leadership education for girls although a fair number do recommend variant forms of liberal education for upper class girls It was a late medieval writer Christine de Pisan who wrote most notably on the education of women for leadership within courtly circles What are the necessary ingredients in leadership education Renaissance educational theorists concur with Aeneas Silvius on the centrality of two ingredi-ents 1 religion tem-pered by philosophy and 2 a broad selection of great books that are both substantive and rhetorically effective Philosophy in renaissance usage means essentially moral philosophy A philosophical education would be intent on the cultivation and disciplining of moral character The great books identified by renaissance theorists are called good literature which includes works both in prose and poetry Such literature is good for two reasons First it liberates by several means it turns attention from quotidian vicissitudes to knowledge of telling cases great lives leaders facing great chal-lenges of human history and of deeper val-ues it stimu-lates imagination freeing mind from the
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