Monday, August 26, 2013

A Little Nibley

As BYU's University Conference starts today (for some), let us pause to remember something Hugh Nibley wrote on the subject over half a century ago, which is unsurprisingly still relevant:
I have discussed the supplanting of the gospel by the teaching of the schools (in ancient times, that is) in a number of studies, but to show what I mean, one example close to home will suffice. On 23 March 1955, I engaged in a public discussion in Salt Lake with my friend Sterling McMurrin. I closed my rather feeble address with the words, "At this point (i.e., after we have discovered the depths of our own ignorance) we can begin the study of the gospel; there is no further need for waiting around until 'history' can make up its mind." Immediately Sterling (for it was his turn to speak) arose and introduced his own discourse by saying, "now we will hear the real gospel." This brought a round of applause from the university crowd--did they realize what it meant? It was a frank declaration that the celebrations of the learned men and not the utterances of the prophets comprise the gospel. This has been the credo of the Christian schoolmen since the days of Clement of Alexandria: the university--Christian, Moslem, Jewish, or pagan--has its own religion, and the basic tenet of that religion is the denial of revelation." (Hugh Nibley, "Nobody to Blame," CWHN 17: 128-29.)