The 2001 Mathers Lecture 2001 Rosen Lecture, and Other Queen's University Essays in the Study of Judaism
A collection of lectures given at Queen’s University by academics in Judaic Studies.
Universities not only sustain scholarship, creating new knowledge and testing the old, but also shape culture. They do this by persuading scholars to address a broad audience with the results of rigorous learning. Lectures for a wide public form a principal means by which university professors shape the intellectual life. They address issues of broad concern, and when they do so, they clarify and deepen public discourse.
But university scholars not only contribute to the public interest by sharing their knowledge, they also gain from serving as public intellectuals. The vocation to speak beyond the limits of specialization imposes its own discipline and presents its own intellectual challenge. Specifically, academic scholars are challenged to think through the details of their subject matter in quest of the main point—what matters and makes a difference to the world at large. And that process of retrospection and introspection provides perspective even on the most arcane recondite and technical aspects of their learning and research.
Jacob Neusner is Research Professor of Religion and Theology at Bard College.