Sanity Alert

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Although its denizens and proprietors like to think of it as a bastion of reason, outsiders trying to wrest information out of the Ivory Tower, such as your servants at Accuracy in Academia, have rarely found it to be. It turns out that some who have worked within it feel roughly the same way.

“Through various phases, not all clear to me, but including the German mania for specialized research and the French disease of sophisticated unintelligibility, up to our own betrayal of literature to ideology, the humanities have been doing themselves in,” Eva Brann of St. John’s College, writes in the Summer 2011 issue of the Claremont Review of Books. Brann is a former dean and longtime tutor in the Great Books program at St. John’s of Annapolis.

Moreover, she notes, by definition humanities were something of a failure from the get-go. “The humanities began in the Renaisance as ‘the more human studies’ opposed to theology, and this proud beginning may have carried the source of inanition within itself: How can a human enterprise that is committed to approaching divinity merely as an object of research not waste away in time?”

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

If you would like to comment on this article, e-mail mal.kline@academia.org

 

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