These little, tiny books are a gold mine of information! They are written by scholars for college students or anyone desiring a reliable and informative tour of important subject matter when pursuing a liberal arts education. And, how could I not love a book that starts out by discussing how St. John Newman was the greatest mind and greatest man of the nineteenth century.
St. John Newman's book, The Idea of a University, defines the true "telos"or end of higher education - enlargement of mind. He felt the purpose of higher education was to make you a civilized man. While his teachings follow his own formal education, that of England's traditional liberal arts, it was controversial at the time because the trend in his day was to follow the German model,Wissenschaft which is the model of most of our current organizations of higher learning. Wissenschaft is professional training, or the production of scientific men who were specialists in one discipline at the expense of broader humanistic studies. Not only was St. John Newmann bucking the new trend, he was also bucking the trend of the seminary teaching methods of the day favored by his bishops.
Now, St. John Newman's methods also differ greatly from today's multiculturalists who educate for postmodern man, those with "open minds" without any thought that minds might possibly close on the truth. No, Newman's plan includes a broad study of subjects to establish order or as he called it, the "whole".
Learning proceeds with the assumption that there is a unity to all knowledge and that there is truth out there to be found.
As I read more of this wonderful book, I will attempt to enlighten you along the way.
By the way: Alenda lux ubi orta libertas means Let Learning Be Cherished Where Liberty Has Arisen. We cannot have liberty without freedom to learn.