Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bearding authority

I was bold in the pursuit of knowledge, never fearing to follow truth and reason to whatever results they led, and bearding every authority which stood in their way.  

So Thomas Jefferson, as quoted in today's supplement on SIUC research in the Southern (the original context from a letter of 1814 can be found here; Jefferson is there apologizing, or at least pretending to apologize, for his youthful rejection of the claim that scripture is part of the common law). Showing remarkable restraint, I will not ask what percentage of the Southern's readership understands this use of the verb beard. Who cares what it means, it's a quote by one of the Founding Fathers on research, so let's run with it!  Perhaps the person who selected the quote didn't understand it, either.  As to SIUC's willingness to support a researcher confronting authority—here in the guise of corporate authority, the new church— I'll content myself with a brief response: Dr. David Gilbert.  

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