In order to appreciate the revolutionary developments in education in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, in which Robert Grosseteste (c.1167–1253) lived, wrote and preached, it is important to be aware of what went before. Since the third century, the dominant school of thought had almost exclusively been trained, developed and policed by the established religion, which, since the time of Emperor Constantine’s conversion, was Christianity. Initially, this formed a monolithic superstructure that stretched from the Caspian Sea to the Atlantic shores of Ireland. However, centuries of increasing strain between the Greek East and the Latin West finally rent the Church in the Great Schism of 1053, and after this period there were two wings of Christendom mutually content to shepherd their own flocks from their centres in Constantinople and Rome in what might be described as a largely peaceful, though grudging, coexistence. In this grand schema, Bishop Grosseteste occupies a rather unusual position. On the one hand, he is undoubtedly a stalwart of the Latin Church and a principal player in the highly important ecclesiastical drama that unfolded in the thirteenth century. On the other, he does not, like most of his contemporaries, see the frontiers of knowledge as firmly set in a type of ecclesiastical ‘iron curtain’ running between the West and its neighbours in the East. An obvious example of this is how he takes the very unusual step at this age in history to learn Greek in order to read not only Aristotle, but also his beloved Eastern theologians, the Cappadocian Fathers and the scholar now known as Pseudo-Dionysius. 1 This is important to understanding the philosophy and theology of Grosseteste, since we have to trace the strands of his thinking along myriad threads that lead us in both easterly and westerly directions. Robert Grosseteste was one of the great polymaths of his age, turning his hand to science, philosophy, theology, poetry and translation. This present volume concerns itself with the educational thought of the Bishop of Lincoln, and crucial to this aspect of his thinking is the branch of philosophy/theology that is now known as ‘anthropology’. This division of thought concerns itself with human nature, along with attendant questions relating to human potential, the relationship of human beings with the world around them and ultimately their relationship with God. With this in mind, it is necessary to consider two fundamental points about Grosseteste. He was, in the first instance, a product 2of his time, a thoroughly orthodox Christian thinker who was unquestionably loyal to the institution he represented. He was also, paradoxically, a radical interpreter of the new learning that was arriving in Western Europe in the form of Aristotle’s natural philosophy and the Arab sciences.