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St. John Henry Newman—The Idea of a University | Knowledge Viewed in Relation to Professional Skill

By James T. Majewski ( bio - articles - email ) | Oct 04, 2023 | In Catholic Culture Audiobooks (Podcast)

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“If then the intellect is so excellent a portion of us, and its cultivation so excellent, it is not only beautiful, perfect, admirable, and noble in itself, but in a true and high sense it must be useful to the possessor and to all around him; not useful in any low, mechanical, mercantile sense, but as diffusing good, or as a blessing, or a gift, or power, or a treasure, first to the owner, then through him to the world.”

In 1854, Newman was invited to Dublin by the Catholic Bishops of Ireland to serve as rector for the newly established Catholic University of Ireland, now University College, Dublin. Though he retired after only four years, during this time he composed and delivered the lectures that would become The Idea of a University.

In this seventh discourse, Newman answers the utilitarian critics of liberal education. He points out that the cultivation of the intellect is not only a sufficient end in itself, but that it is also to be valued even when considered on utilitarian grounds. He cites extensive excerpts from the writings of two key figures in the reform of Oxford teaching, Edward Copleston and John Davison.

Links

Cluny Media edition: https://clunymedia.com/collections/john-henry-newman/products/the-idea-of-a-university

The Idea of a University full text: https://www.newmanreader.org/works/idea/

Edward Copleston: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Copleston

John Davison: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Davison_(priest)

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James T. Majewski is Director of Customer Relations for CatholicCulture.org, the “voice” of Catholic Culture Audiobooks, and co-host of Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. Based in New York City, he holds both a BA in Philosophy and an MFA in Acting. See full bio.

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