I frequently catch myself combing through Google search results to find this lecture by Timothy Radcliffe, O.P. The former Master General of the Dominican Order has a fine, encouraging take on what it means to be a university — but the paragraph I’m usually looking for reads,
When I was a young Dominican student we still sometimes practiced a version of the medieval disputatio. This was a form of debating central to the life of the thirteenth century university, and it embodies a vision of what a university should be about. It does not seem to have been practiced often by the Inquisition, but it represents an ideal which has something to offer us. In the disputatio the aim was not so much to demonstrate that your opponent was utterly and in every way wrong, and to be derided and dismissed as a fool. Instead you had to show the limited sense in which he was right. If someone were to assert that “Yale Department of Religious Studies is better than the Theology Faculty of Oxford,” I might reply in making a distinction: “That Yale is better as far as sociological analysis I accept; that it is better in every way I deny.” The aim was, through disagreement and mutual criticism, to arrive at a common truth, that was able to accommodate what was true in each position.
So now I’ll be able simply to search my own blog to find it more rapidly.
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“The aim was, through disagreement and mutual criticism, to arrive at a common truth, that was able to accommodate what was true in each position.” – a bit like blogging then?
At least, the way some people do it, Euan. I can think pretty rapidly about people who blog so as to intensify division and amplify the monotone of their own partisan position.
Yeah but who reads them anyway? 😉