Advancing the Revelation of Truth
The Character of ACADEME
This is the name given to the philosophical successors of Plato. The name is derived from a pleasure-garden or gymnasium situated in the suburb of the Ceramicus on the river Cephissus about a mile to the north-west of Athens from the gate called Dipylum…..It was walled in by Hipparchus and was adorned with walks, groves and fountains by Cimon. who bequeathed it as a public pleasure ground to his fellow-citizens Subsequently the garden became the resort of Plato who had a small estate in the neighbourhood. Here he taught for nearly fifty years until his death in 348bc., and his followers continued to make it their headquarters.
The Platonic Academy lasted from the days of Plato to those of Cicero. The Platonic doctrine was so far modified in the hands of successive scholars that the Academy has been divided. Finally in the days of Philo, Antiochus and Cicero, the metaphysical dogmatism of Plato had been changed into an ethical syncretism which combined elements from the Scepticism of Carneades and the doctrine of the Stoics.
Cicero represents at once the doctrine of the later Academy and the general attitude of Roman society when he says:
My words do not proclaim the Truth, like a Pythian priestess; but I conjecture what is probable like a plain man; and where, I ask, am I to search for anything more than that which has the appearance of being true ?
The characteristic of the Academy is never to interpose one’s judgement, to approve what seems most probable, to compare together different opinions, to see what may be advanced on either side and to leave one’s listeners free to judge without pretending to dogmatise
This is The Encyclopaedia Britannica’s definition of ‘Academe’ including its intellectual purpose. The Christian will recognise in this The Bible’s statement:
Ever seeking but never able to come to a knowledge of The Truth.
THE CHRISTIAN VIEW
The search for understanding for its own sake can be satisfying and fulfilling. If, however it leads away from a person’s dependence upon the Grace of God, then it is sterile and puffs up in self importance, having no real substance.
The Apostle Paul warns against such desires when he tells us:
Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Young people in their formative years enter universities full of hope and enthusiasm to gain expanded understanding of their chosen talent. This progressive intellectual exercise is enhanced by their pleasure in achieving the status of an academic together with the enthusiasm and fellowship of other students.
Most universities have an established Christian Union for fellowship and support of its members in their common Christian faith. The basis of such groups is to establish a faith and reliance upon God through His Word.
The university or Academy has no such purpose, in fact it is directly opposed to such dependence, because the foundation of its teaching is to produce graduates who are dependent and totally reliant upon their own capabilities which must be based only upon conclusions drawn from evidence.
The academicians and tutors will have failed in their purpose if the student relies upon trust and developed ability from another source besides the learning given in the Academy.
Any feeling of self sufficiency gained from the experience of academic teaching can lead the student into the false philosophy of the agnostic, atheistic or idolatrous foundation upon which it is based.
The underlying target of the Academy is to turn the thoughts of the student towards self reliance through the increased assurance of their own capability to walk through life supported by their own merit alone.
Because God’s intelligence [His Spirit] is a constant witness with the intelligence of the Christian [their spirit], we are supremely able to receive the all powerful Godly help we need, i.e. the form of God’s character and understanding.
What better than His Life expressed through the Christian in that way.
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