Thursday, August 12, 2010

This past week's Web Reading

1. On Catholic universities and academic life. From this post, one of an increasing number of pointed jabs at the narrowing of academic life. A topic that is set to explode soon onto the front pages of the western press if another economic crisis precipitates a funding crunch...:

The hyper-specialization of knowledge is one of the characteristics of the modern university, which results both in the increasing balkanization of knowledge and in what Luke Timothy Johnson recently (and precisely and felicitously) described as the “desperately trivial character of much academic scholarship.” Young scholars must find ways to get published in obscure academic journals that no one will ever read. While there may be interesting minutiae in the sciences that are also significant, this is rarely the case in the humanities where minutiae remain minutiae, of little significance except insofar as an article about them might help one secure tenure.

And the following remark is not just true but damning. Damning of the entire enterprise that trumps "research" (not scholarship) over teaching in the effort to show students that it really is ok to know more and more about less and less:

Men and women trained as professors in recent decades tend to lack the capacity of earlier generations of scholars to give a broad, accessible account of their field of study, one that can inform the public at large.
Here endeth the lesson...

2. Terry Eagleton on John Cornwell on Newman. hmmm... I think I prefer A.N. Wilson's TLS review (sorry can't find it online)

3. Rod Dreher c/o Flannery O'Connor on Anne Rice's decision to leave the church. Ecclesiology 101 anyone?

4. Rod Dreher on Philip Rieff c/o Ross Douthat on just how deep the debates over SSM really go, and how no proponents and few opponents are willing to stretch their minds that far. Go Rod go.

5. And for something completely... well, only somewhat different: Edward Feser on the immorality of using the bomb. August 9, 1945. Nagasaki. Let us remember.

No comments:

Post a Comment