Chron. of Higher Ed. article

carol regehr (
Fri, 21 Jun 1996 14:54:39 -0500 (CDT)

Hello everyone....I read the list off the web page archive rather
than's easier for me to manage my e-mail that way.
So I hope this gets through ok.

Everyone should read the excerpts from George Steiner's
commencement address at Kenyon College in the Chronicle of Higher
Education, June 21, 1996, p. B6. THe title is "The high noon of the
arts, music, and possibly literature lies behind us in the West"

Here's a short sample:

"THe question we have to ask is, Can we have a liberal program in
the humanities... that does not at least face the question of a
theological foundation? A rigorous denial of God's existence is a
demanding, abstemious stance. It can - though very rarely - yield
great literature and art... It justly demands of us the closest and
most respectful attention. After our collapse into blackness, no other
position may be coherent. What we are immersed in today, however, is
not that cruel challenge. Ours is the culture of "anything goes."
In it, neither the affirmation or the possibility of God nor the
denial of such existence is commanding... Whether certain dimensions
are possible in literature, in the arts, in music, if this view
prevails, seems to me at least an open question. Far more obvious is the
thought that the teaching of the humanities without a metaphysical
basis, however discrete, however provisionally and metaphorically
implicit, will continue in its current mood of compromise and
decline." George Steiner, "extraordinary fellow" of Cambridge Univ.,
in commencement address at Kenyon College

Carol Regehr