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Document Details :
Title: The Idea of a Catholic University
Author(s): KER, Ian
Journal: Louvain Studies
Volume: 21 Issue: 3 Date: Fall 1996
It is hard to imagine any kind of contemporary discussion, at least theoretical discussion, about the nature of a university, without some reference, however perfunctory, to what is still the classic work on the idea of a university, the book which bears that title by John Henry Newman. The Idea of a University, published in 1873, is not, however, in spite of its name, in any sustained way a systematic treatise on the subject. It is true that the first half of The Idea of a University does consist of a planned series of public lectures, but the first three were written to episcopal order, Newman's brief being to justify the founding of a Catholic university and the teaching of Catholic theology. Only then was he free to 'give a normal idea of a University' in the remaining seven of the Discourses on the Scope and Nature of University Education (1852), of which one was eventually omitted from The Idea of a University. The second half of The Idea of a University consists of 'occasional' addresses and articles written by Newman as the founding Rector of the new Catholic University of Ireland and first published together as Lectures and Essays on University Subjects (1859). They are complementary to the Discoursesnot only because they represent further explorations of the theme of university education but also because they provide concrete and specific applications of the general idea developed there.