‘To teach a man how he may learn to grow independently, and for himself, is perhaps the greatest service that one man can do another.’ So Benjamin Jowett, the celebrated Oxford theologian and Master of Balliol College, once wrote; and now, over one and a half centuries after he taught, the buildings that bear his name are ready to once more welcome those who wish to learn. ORA students, welcome to Jowett!
WS Walsh, writing on the local attractions of Oxford, records that on tours of the city, a particular tour guide would stop outside the windows of Balliol, remark with pride on the ‘herudition of its scholars’ and especially of its Master, and then summon that Master ‘livid with fury’ to the window by throwing gravel against it. None of the ORA students at Jowett will be doing that over the next two weeks, not least because Jowett himself was laid to rest in 1893— but even were he with us now, they would not have time to go pestering his window.
Our staff are ready, the Oxford sandstone is glowing under the sky, and whirlwind weeks spent developing friendships, learning more about the things that most interest you, and seeing some of the most beautiful and fascinating things in England await. Jowett, in one of his theological essays, observed that he and his readers had ‘sought truth, and sometimes perhaps found it. But have we had any fun?’ We know what the answer will be in two weeks’ time— and you can follow along on this blog to see exactly what the students here in this session will be learning, and what fun they will be having.