Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Ideal of a University

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Ideal of a University

Article excerpt

NEWMAN,JoHN HENRY. The Idea of a University Edited by Frank M. Turner. (New Haven: Yale University Press. 1996. Pp. xxxiv, 366. $35.00 clothbound; $18.00 paperback.)

This edition of Cardinal Newman's Idea of a University comes as a part of Yale's series of texts on "Rethinking the Western Tradition." It is a worthy addition to that series. For many, the Idea remains the finest of all commentaries on what a university is and what it does for its students. As a place where every branch of knowledge must be professed and defended, Newman's university serves as a gentle reprimand to most of our secular institutions. Newman's insistence, furthermore, that a university was not a place of research but a place for the teaching of students serves as a reprimand to most of us in higher education.

The Idea was originally a set of lectures delivered on the occasion of Newman's appointment as rector of the newly established Catholic university in Dublin. Newman's letters from this period (1852) reflect the enormous mental effort that went into the writing of the Idea, which suggests that his debt to the Oxford system of his background was not so great as some have suggested. …

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