A proper affiliation of medical schools with universities, though advocated as a reform measure in the United States by Flexner, is actually of ancient and noble sanction. Eight hundred years ago the Universities of Salerno and Montpelier boasted of eminent doctors in their medical faculties. Faculties of medicine were necessary and standard features of medieval European universities.
But medieval universities were primarily instruments for disseminating and fortifying orthodoxy. Once they had assimilated the classical learning of the ancients and reconciled it with Christian dogma, medieval universities continued as essentially teaching institutions, passing on and working over the knowledge of the past, but contributing little that was new. Francis Bacon speaks thus of the substance of medieval university curricula: "This kind of degenerate learning did chiefly reign amongst the schoolmen; who having sharp and strong wits, and abundance of leisure, and small variety of reading; but their wits being
Bennett HS. THE MEDICAL SCIENCES—A SOURCE OF SCHOLARLY STRENGTH FOR THE UNIVERSITY. JAMA. 1960;173(13):1418-1422. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020310006003