Monday, April 1, 2019

A Light in the East

From Joseph Pearce at the Imaginative Conservative:
Last year saw the passing of Fr. Peter Milward, an old and valued friend, who was a boon and a blessing in multifarious ways. For those who don’t know of this English Jesuit and scholar, a brief biographical sketch might prove helpful. 
Fr. Milward studied under C.S. Lewis at Oxford in the early 1950s and also heard J.R.R. Tolkien lecture. Graduating in 1954, he departed for a new life in Japan as a professor at the Jesuit University of Sophia in Tokyo, remaining in Japan until his death more than sixty years later. He is best known as an indefatigable Shakespeare scholar, showing in his work the evidence for the Bard’s Catholicism, most notably in Shakespeare’s Religious Background, an influential and groundbreaking study, published in 1973, and in later works, such as The Catholicism of Shakespeare’s Plays (1997) and Shakespeare the Papist (2005), the last of which I was honoured to publish when serving as editor-in-chief of Sapientia Press. He was also a leading scholar of the work of the poet and fellow Jesuit, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and I was also honoured, in 2005, to oversee the publication of his book A Lifetime with Hopkins. 
It is, however, his authorship of another book, My Idea of a University in Japan, which will be of particular interest to those who are interested in authentic education. This slim volume, published by the Hokuseido Press in Tokyo, is virtually unknown in the West, which is a crying shame considering the wisdom that it contains. Each of its sixteen brief chapters asks an axiomatic question, which Fr. Milward then answers with succinct and sagacious brilliance: What is a University? What is Education? What is Culture? What is Religion? What is Knowledge? What is Wisdom? What is Philosophy? What is Science? What is Literature? What is Language? What is Art? What is Nature? What is Law? What is Music? What is World? What is Home? (Read more.)

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