Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Someone Agrees with Nibley

Over half a century ago, Hugh Nibley wrote:
What, then, should you and I do? Return, I say, to the program of the School of the Prophets and the University of Nauvoo, which was the acquisition of basic knowledge (especially languages) for the avowed purpose of aiding the spreading of the gospel. (CWHN 17:138).
That was Nibley's recommendation for a university education. Fast forward half a century to Peter Berkowitz, a senior fellow at Stanford, reviewing the recent report on the state of humanities at Harvard:
It is also necessary to study other civilizations, but to do this seriously would require universities, instead of scuttling requirements, to institute substantial foreign language requirements. Nothing is so revealing of multiculturalism’s status as a political program rather than a research paradigm than the indifference of its proponents to language study. The humanities should proudly tout the benefits​—​in commercial life, diplomacy, and national security​—​that come from mastering foreign languages.
I am not certain that Nibley and Berkowitz would agree on much if anything politically, but they both agree on this point.