Monday, January 1, 2018

Isaac Barrow on bookishness

Isaac Barrow (1630–1677), mathematician and theologian, on learnedness, or what I’ll call bookishness:

It is a calling that fitteth a man for all conditions and fortunes; so that he can enjoy prosperity with moderation, and sustain adversity with comfort: he that loveth a book will never want a faithful friend, a wholesome counsellor, a cheerful companion, an effectual comforter.
I spotted an inscription with the final clause (“he that loveth”) high on a wall at the Chicago Cultural Center years ago and finally got around to looking up the source: a sermon entitled “Of Industry in Our Particular Calling, as Scholars,” found in The Works of Dr. Isaac Barrow, Volume Three, ed. T.S. Hughes (1831), available at Google Books.

[I’ve borrowed bookishness from George Steiner.]

comments: 2

Geo-B said...

I especially like the title, "Our Particular Calling, as Scholars." It would also work as "Our Peculiar Calling, as Scholars."

Michael Leddy said...

Yep. “Have you read all these books?”