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Receptions of Newman$
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Frederick D. Aquino and Benjamin J. King

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199687589

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687589.001.0001

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Historical (Mis)understandings of The Idea of a University

Historical (Mis)understandings of The Idea of a University

(p.114) 6 Historical (Mis)understandings of The Idea of a University
Receptions of Newman

Colin Barr

Oxford University Press

The Idea of a University has been and remains a key text in the philosophy of higher education, especially among those who promote the liberal arts. Published in multiple editions in many languages, it is the preferred source for politicians, bureaucrats, polemicists, religious leaders, philosophers, advocates, literary critics, and public intellectuals in need of a quote about the aims or ends of a university education. The conclusions drawn, however, are often almost comically contradictory, and Newman’s most famous book has become an intellectuals’ version of Harry Potter’s Mirror of Erised, in which each viewer sees only what he most desires. This chapter traces both the various uses to which Newman’s educational ideas have been put, and the longer history of the conflicting understandings, representations, and distortions of Newman’s time in Ireland and his educational writings.

Keywords:   John Henry Newman, Ireland, university, education, liberal arts, Idea of a University

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