The Sacred and the Secular University

By Jon H. Roberts; James Turner | Go to book overview

Chapter Six
TWO IDEALS OF KNOWLEDGE

DISCIPLINARY specialization and most of the humanities actually derived from two different approaches to knowledge. European education had since antiquity encompassed two more or less distinct wings: rhetoric (roughly, the art of persuasion) and philosophy (roughly, the science of demonstration). This division in turn reflected a more basic divide between what we would call two modes of knowledge. 1

We would say two modes of knowledge: they did not, for one of these types of “knowledge” counted in the Middle Ages and Renaissance only as “opinion.” Opinion then meant something close to what probabilistic knowledge does now, that is, knowledge of facts, which might attain a very high degree of probability (“moral certainty”) but could never reach absolute certainty. “Opinion” or probabilistic knowledge formed the educational realm of rhetoric; for, where proof was strictly impossible, one perforce resorted to persuasion. The other type of knowledge (“truth”; “science”) we would subdivide into perhaps three areas: immediate intuition (such as that 2 + 2 = 4); divine revelation; and logical demonstration from the unquestionable axioms provided by intuition and revelation. This sort of “science” was the educational domain of philosophy, which dealt with true knowledge. In philosophy complete certainty was possible, though at the price of a certain abstraction from mundane reality. 2 Philosophy had lorded it over knowledge in the Middle Ages and continued to dominate university education through the seventeenth century.

Yet, outside the universities, Renaissance humanism rehabilitated the prestige of rhetoric—and its kindred study, philology. Philology is a term that in the nineteenth century grew remarkably flexible in the studies it covered. But in earlier times it was understood as the branch of scholarship devoted to reconstructing, analyzing, and interpreting ancient texts. Philology was already sophisticated in the ancient world, but when the western Roman Empire fell upon hard times, so did it. 3 Its resuscitation in the Renaissance goes far to explain why there was a Renaissance, for philology enabled the recovery of the heritage of classical antiquity. Later, northern humanists like Erasmus turned their attention increasingly to a different sort of ancient text, the Scriptures, and in doing so founded modern textual criticism of the Bible. For all its varied achievements, though, humanist philology did nothing to bridge

-95-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Sacred and the Secular University
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 184

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.