Friday, February 25, 2005

As Seen in From Dawn to Decadence

The new degree of Bachelor of Science does not guarantee that the holder knows any science. It does guarantee that he does not know any Latin.

--Dean Briggs of Harvard College (c.1900)

4 comments:

Persephone said...

This is halarious....so true even 105 years later...

As a fellow grad student in Classics, I like your site a lot...and have swiped some of your Nietzsche quotes (but given due credit) for a recent post...Could you point me to sections where they can be found, sometime? Thanks...

eric said...

thanks!

i've been taking all of the nietzsche quotes from collections in volumes 2.1 and 2.2 of arion (1963).

Keith Saare said...

This is one of my favorite criticisms of educational trends! Funny thing is that now, even B.A. programs have taken out foreign languages from the curriculum.

Just curious, what was the original source for this Briggs quote? I've looked at From Dawn to Decadence, but even the author Jacques Barzun didn't cite the source from where he found this Briggs quote. Was it originally from a book, speech, lecture, etc.?

Anybody know where it originally appeared?

Dennis said...

Jacques Barzun first used the quotation in his book Teacher in America (1944). There was no citation there, either, but it is cited elsewhere in a snippet view of the journal Hispania thanks to Google Books.

Without tracking that citation down I would venture to guess that the quotation is anecdotal, but that Barzun had reasonable authority for the quote (someone who heard Dean Briggs make the statement, but not a published source).

That he gives an approximate date (c. 1900) in his latest book lends credence to the notion that it was anecdotal, either said privately or in public but not written.