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The Idea of a University

The Idea of a University

Frank M. Turner Editor
Martha McMackin Garland
Sara Castro-Klarén
George P. Landow
George M. Marsden
Frank M. Turner
Copyright Date: 1996
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 400
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  • Book Info
    The Idea of a University
    Book Description:

    Since its publication almost 150 years ago,The Idea of a Universityhas had an extraordinary influence on the shaping and goals of higher education. The issues that John Henry Newman raised-the place of religion and moral values in the university setting, the competing claims of liberal and professional education, the character of the academic community, the cultural role of literature, the relation of religion and science-have provoked discussion from Newman's time to our own. This edition ofThe Idea of a Universityincludes the full text of "University Teaching" and four selections from "University Subjects," together with five essays by leading scholars that explore the background and the present day relevance of Newman's themes.In the essays Martha Garland discusses the character and organization of the early nineteenth-century English universities upon which Newman based much of his vision; Frank M. Turner traces the impact of Newman's influence during the vast expansion of higher education since World War II; George Marsden investigates how the decreasing emphasis on religion has affected higher education; Sara Castro Klaren examines the implications of Newman's views on education and literature for current debates between proponents of a curriculum based on western civilization and one based on multiculturalism; and George Landow considers what the advent of electronic communication will mean to university teaching, research, and community. To aid accessibility, the edition also includes an analytical table of contents, a chronology and biographical sketch of Newman's life, questions for discussion, expanded notes, and a glossary of names, all of which will help make this the standard teaching text for Newman's work.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-15346-0
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Editor’s Preface
    (pp. ix-xi)
    Frank M. Turner and John Hay Whitney
  4. Note on the Life of John Henry Newman
    (pp. xii-xiii)
  5. Reading The Idea of University
    (pp. xiv-xxxiv)
  6. The Idea of a University Defined and Illustrated

    • Preface.
      (pp. 3-12)
      (pp. 13-164)

      In addressing myself, Gentlemen, to the consideration of a question which has excited so much interest, and elicited so much discussion at the present day, as that of University Education, I feel some explanation is due from me for supposing, after such high ability and wide experience have been brought to bear upon it, that any field remains for the additional labours either of a disputant or of an inquirer. If, nevertheless, I still venture to ask permission to continue the discussion, already so protracted, it is because the subject of Liberal Education, and of the principles on which it...

    • II University Subjects DISCUSSED IN OCCASIONAL LECTURES AND ESSAYS: Four Selections
      (pp. 165-233)

      It seems but natural, Gentlemen, now that we are opening the School of Philosophy and Letters, or, as it was formerly called, of Arts, in this new University, that we should direct our attention to the question, what are the subjects generally included under that name, and what place they hold, and how they come to hold that place, in a University, and in the education which a University provides. This would be natural on such an occasion, even though the Faculty of Arts held but a secondary place in the academical system; but it seems to be even imperative...

  7. Notes on the Text
    (pp. 234-240)
  8. Glossary of Names
    (pp. 241-254)
  9. Rethinking The Idea of a University

    • Introduction to Interpretive Essays
      (pp. 257-264)

      A critical reading ofThe Idea of a Universityinvites the reader to rethink both Newman’s rich Victorian text and the situation of universities toward the close of the twentieth century. The issues that Newman raised – the place of religion and moral values in the university setting, the competing claims of liberal and professional education, the character of the academic community, the cultural role of literature, the possibility of different kinds of literature, the relationship of religion and science – continue to be germane, and many are gaining new attention and relevance. Rethinking Newman’s major propositions, some of which...

    • Newman in His Own Day
      (pp. 265-281)

      For more than a century, in the English-speaking world at least, John Henry Newman’sThe Idea of a Universityhas frequently served as a foundational document in considerations of an ideal framework for higher education. Yet Newman’s work contains much that is confusing if not actually confused: several ideas seem paradoxical at best, some assertions apparently contradict each other, and much of the work seems at odds with common sense, the common sense, that is, of twentieth-century America.

      That despite these weaknesses the book has become so popular and influential must, I think, be seen as a reflection more of...

    • Newman’s University and Ours
      (pp. 282-301)

      In 1851 the Roman Catholic bishops of Ireland invited John Henry Newman, a recent convert to their faith, to organize and preside over a newly projected Irish Catholic university in Dublin. Rather than hire a public relations firm or a vice president for communications to explain the role of the new university in Irish Catholic life, Archbishop Paul Cullen, the chief patron of the university, asked Newman himself to deliver a series of lectures on the scope and purpose of the proposed institution. This request resulted in the series of lectures and later essays that becameThe Idea of a...

    • Theology and the University: Newman’s Idea and Current Realities
      (pp. 302-317)

      Suppose John Henry Newman were somehow able to return to survey the state of modern universities a century and a half after his famous lectures. Let us say, for instance, that he had an opportunity to tour the universities of the United States, which today may lay claim to providing the prototypical university being exported around the world. What would he think?

      The most striking first impression would be the way higher education had become a mass enterprise. Newman presumably would not be appalled simply by the huge numbers, but he would be alarmed by the degree to which the...

    • The Paradox of Self in The Idea of a University
      (pp. 318-338)

      Whereas the contemporary university has become the site for what one author has termed “culture wars” and another the “battleground of the curriculum,” the content of the curriculum assumes a smaller place in Newman’sIdea of a Universitythan one might expect. Except for the key issue of the inclusion of theology, Newman seems not to believe that the curricular character of his university is especially problematical.

      Yet Newman’s lectures represent an important point of departure for the current controversy partly because of his assertions, partly because of silences, and partly because of the remarkable intellectual tensions inherent in his...

    • Newman and the Idea of an Electronic University
      (pp. 339-362)

      Except for his years in Dublin, John Henry Newman’s entire experience with the life of a university occurred in Oxford. He left that university, resigning his Oriel College fellowship in 1845, when he became a member of the Roman Catholic Church. I shall commence this discussion of the electronic university – the university as an institution in the age of digital information – by allowing Newman to describe his last hours in Oxford. In hisApologia pro Vita Sua(1864), Newman carefully relates his parting from university friends, including the man who had been his undergraduate tutor, or faculty advisor...

  10. Suggested Reading
    (pp. 363-366)
  11. Contributors
    (pp. 367-368)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 369-369)