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Monday, October 02, 2006

Pray for the Universities

I'm reading a book about heresy and the inquisition in southern France, to prepare a lecture on responses to heresy in the thirteenth century. The Library's copy has been written all over by someone or other (insert predictable rant here). One marginal comment is beside a discussion of the evangelical preachers of the twelfth century, some of whom became heretical. The annotator has underlined part of the sentence, 'They were advocates of the apostolic ideal who felt the ambition to go further and to promote among the laity a new sense of religious commitment.' Beside this is the margin is written, 'fanatical.'

(Blinking in bewilderment...)

To an undergraduate reader, 'religious commitment' apparently equals 'fanaticism.'

This is the evidence of only one reader of one book, of course; from which one can draw precisely no general conclusions. It is not, however, unrepresentative of the popular media's portrayals of religion. That such notions should be maintained in a University is a very sad thing. Pray that this reader was disabused of his misconception, and pray for all of us in higher education! O our Guardian Angels, rule and guide us!