Ten leftists promoting safe energy and anti-Nuke in remembrance of Chernobyl had already occupied Speakers’ Circle when I arrived. They had a bullhorn and banners. Their speeches were boring and they had the attention of very few, if any, students. By the 1:30 break, they had closed down so I preached. Meanwhile, a group had set up with cans of paint and large sheets of paper for students to promote diversity with art. They painted slogans like, “Be You” and “Unity through diversity.”
I spoke to the diverse group of painters and a few others that gathered on the steps. “It is incongruous that this group is promoting diversity or difference at a university. The term university literary upholds the idea of the whole, the entire. University means turned into one. Great universities such as the Universities of Paris, Oxford and Cambridge were founded to promote the idea that bodies of knowledge come together as a whole or one Truth under the concept of the one true God, who is a Trinity or Tri-Unity, Three in One. Diversity promotes multiculturalism and pluralism, which encourages division and makes claims that there is no ultimate truth. Diversity breaks down the idea of a community of scholars and students learning truth and understanding into groups based on ethnicity, sexual identity, etc., which are pursuing difference and resulting confusion. Perhaps we ought to change the name of this institution to the Diversity of Missouri. Jesus said, “Know the Truth and the Truth shall set you free. Great universities in America such as Harvard and Yale were Christ centered and were intended to bring men together into one body…”
[there is more to this entry, but this is the relevant part for my response. To read the whole thing, visit Jed’s blog here.]
One comment by a “Justin R.” reads:
I was edified by the teaching on unity and disunity, thank you for sharing that.
I couldn’t help myself but respond with the following:
Dave Muscato: Actually, the etymology of “university” comes from the Late Latin word for corporation. It originally came from Latin as an abbreviation for universitas magistrorum et scholarium – uni (one) versus (past participle of vertere, to turn) of teachers & scholars. It literally means “community/company of masters and scholars” and in medieval Latin, universitas had the more general meaning of a guild. I just double-checked this, and can find no reference whatsoever to “universitas” meaning a coming together “under the concept of the one true God, who is a Trinity or Tri-Unity, Three in One.” The concept of the trinity has nothing to do with the etymology of the word university as far as I can tell.
The founding of Cambridge came about as a schism with Oxford, due to some hostilities with the townsfolk of (the city of) Cambridge; see their history here:
Nothing at all about a foundation based on coming together “under the concept of the one true God, who is a Trinity or Tri-Unity, Three in One.”
Oxford was founded as early as the beginning of the 12th century; we don’t have as good records about when or why it was founded, but it really took off when Henry II banned English students from studying at the University of Paris in 1167 and they all returned to England. Their motto is Dominus Illuminatio Mea (the lord is my light), borrowed of course from Pslam 27, but this only dates back to the second half of the 16th century, so you can hardly say it was founded on the principle, and it doesn’t mention the concept of a trinity at all.
The University of Paris is the oldest of the three you mentioned, but not by much. It’s motto is hic et ubique terrarum (here & everywhere of Earth), which says nothing at all about the concept of a trinity. The school originally had four departments: law, arts/humanities, medicine, and theology. Lower-level students began by learning grammar, rhetoric, dialectics, arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. Only if students were interested in upper-level classes in theology did they take classes in that department specifically. It is simply historically incorrect to classify the Université de Paris as a Christian or religious school.