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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 15



ι.] THE NEW SCHOOL. 9 on my return contrast more favourably with the Oxford I left sixteen years ago. At that time the professorship of Church History had been founded, and was filled by one [Robert Hussey] who was undoubtedly the founder of the modern study of that subject in Oxford. I mean the study of the history of the Church as a whole, not from points of controversy to supply weapons for the discomfiture of opposing theologians, but as the life of the Christian Church itself, the whole history of the body of which the modern nations claim in their spiritual character to be members. But the theological exigencies of the time had so far narrowed the field of inquiry that it was practically restricted to the first three centuries, or at the outside to the period embraced under the topics of the general councils. The attempt which he made to extend the range by introducing the study of the Venerable Bede as a text-book was, as you are aware, foiled by the impossibility of getting together a lecture on a matter that was neither connected with the controversies of the day, nor required to be known by candidates for holy orders. The College libraries then as now afforded abundant resources for any student who would take up the subject for himself, but my grateful recollection of the first acquaintance made with Hearne, Dugdale, and Prynn, in Christ Church Library, is inseparably connected with the reminiscence of the amused, and I am glad to remember approving, surprise, with which Dean Gaisford took me unawares at my notebook. It is possible that the rooms of the Architectural Society in Holywell were the school in which a taste for medieval history, at least, was insensibly acquired. The introduction of new studies into the course of University training was viewed with apprehension by many : some perhaps of us who are now here were inclined to waver between a mistrust of innovations which seemed likely to break down the traditionary character of our education and


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