Thursday, June 27, 2013

Another cheer for Cornford

As well as the acute and funny Microcosmographia Aacdemica, F. M. Cornford wrote 'Religion in the University' -- originally presented to a meeting of the Heretics in 1911.  There is a copy here:

Or you can download a pdf of it here.

Interesting stuff.  It's graduation day today at my college and there is an event listed for the afternoon in between tea in the Master's garden and a rehearsal for the graduation ceremony:

4.15pm - 4.50pm: Graduation Service with Master's Address in Chapel

While you are pondering that, here is some Cornford from 1911:
The University ought to stand absolutely clear of all dogmatic systems. The worst thing it can do is to endorse a particular sect, and so bias inquiry either for or against a certain set of beliefs. To do so is to poison and obscure the intellectual atmosphere, and to foster passion where there should be no passion but curiosity.  
And a bit later: 
With regard to Ritual, the Colleges maintain Anglican chapels and officials whose duty it is to persuade or compel attendance at them. To this system all the same objections apply, as well as others peculiar to it. It is not the business of a University or of a College to maintain one form of creed. If they had an Anglican chapel, they ought also to have a mosque, a Hindu temple, a Baptist chapel and so on, with an official attached to each. Either that or none at all. It would be said that there were historical reasons : but there is no such thing. There are historical causes, but they are not reasons. 

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