John Henry Newman: What Is University?
By Rosalinda Flores-Martinez
“It is a place where inquiry is pushed forward, and discoveries verified and perfected, and rashness rendered innocuous, and error exposed, by the collision of mind with mind, and knowledge with knowledge.”
Newman says that it is a seed of different generations where people come together in unity to learn and work for contributions and developments.
From all walks of life, education or the university could be the only thing equal for the rich and poor. It is a main ground for all the productions of nature and art together. It foresees the future of the best workmen, among others.
Newman in this essay shows vivid classifications of what university is all about. One example is the professor who becomes a missionary and preacher, displaying his science in most complete and winning form, pouring with zeal and lighting up his love in the breasts of his hearers.
A teacher’s love for his/her craft would manifest a pattern for the students to see what work/vocation is in store for them. How they could hone a craft, earn a living, build estates, contribute to society, heal a nation, lead and serve people – will give each individual his longing for an endeavor and ignite the flames of fire in his talents.
The author’s sentences begin with a definition, using the pronoun “it” without being monotonous. His style is unique and stunning, showing an eloquent discourse of metaphors, allusion, and picturesque prose.
“It is the center of trade, the supreme court of fashion, the umpire of rival talents, and the standard of things rare and precious. It is a place where a thousand schools make contributions…”
Newman unifies his paragraphs by focusing on a central theme and the association of intense details.
He uses original words for his meaning and metaphors:
A place of concourse
In the nature of things, greatness and unity go together, excellence implies a center
It is where intellect safely range and speculate, sure to find its equal in some antagonist activity and its judge in the tribunal truth.
Wins the admiration of the young by its celebrity
Kindles the affection of the middle-aged by its beauty
Rivets the fidelity of the old by its associations
It is the light of the world, a minister of faith, and the Alma Mater of the rising generation, among others.
Readers comment that he is a writer of excellence.
John Henry Newman is also referred to as Blessed John Henry Newman (as proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI on September 19, 2010). Newman’s personal coat of arms (Wikipedia) upon his elevation to the cardinalate translates in English from Latin as “Heart speaks unto heart.”
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