Introduction to "The Idea of a University":

The Idea of the University is actually a famous series of lectures delivered in 1852 and 1854 by John Henry Newman on the occasion of the founding of the Catholic University of Dublin.

From the Preface:

The view taken of a University in these Discourses is the following: that it is a place of teaching universal knowledge. This implies that its object is, on the one hand, intellectual, not moral; and, on the other, that it is the diffusion and extension of knowledge rather than the advancement.


What is a University?

It is the place to which a thousand schools make contributions; in which the intellect may safely range and speculate, sure to find its equal in some antagonist activity, and its judge in the tribunal of truth. It is a place where inquiry is pushed forward, discoveries verified and perfected, and rashness rendered innocuous, and error exposed, by the collision of mind with mind, and knowledge with knowledge .... It is a seat of wisdom, a light of the world, a minister of the faith, an Alma Mater of the rising generation.


  • The Unity of Knowledge from Discourse III, `Bearing of Theology on Other Branches'
  • What is meant by Liberal Knowledge from Discourse V `Knowledge Its Own End'
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