writing that is thought before thinking, insight beforenapplication and explication, attitude and emotion prior tontheir reformulation in propositions formed of words. I speaknof revelation, such as most of us have known and of which allnof us have heard: the unearned insight, the unanticipatednmoment of understanding. That is what I mean by a booknthat could be sung, of truth in a form of such art thatnwhoever hears will see and feel, know in a knowledge that isndefining.nSo, if it is possible to forget what we have learned, leavingnfor a coming generation the task of recapitulating processesnof discovery and interpretation, it also is possible to imaginenand even identify the means by which, as a matter of fact,nhumanity has defended itself from the loss of what it alreadynhas in hand. If I use the Talmud, on which I work, as a casenin point, others may well identify other appropriate cases. Inthink of such fields as music and mathematics, philosophynand its offspring in the social sciences, and a variety of thennatural sciences as well, as fields of learning that link us tonthe accumulated treasures of important knowledge andnsustaining truth. What they have in common are rules ofnright thought, a heritage of conventions to be replicated,nretested, and realized from age to age, a process of testingnand reevaluation, an endless openness to experiment,nwhether in the laboratory or in the mind. Much that we innuniversities identify as useful and important knowledgenqualifies. For as a matter of fact, so far as the sum of humannknowledge is concerned, either we in universities willnconvey it to the coming generation, or it will be lost.nSo the task of universities, if not unique then at leastndistinctive among all of the institutions that preserve andnhand on past to future, is to preserve civilization and affordnaccess to civilization. Ours is the task of remembering,nrecapitulating, reenacting. Ours is the task of reminding, in anvery odd sense of the word: to regain mind. The stakes innuniversities and what they do therefore are not trivial; we donmore than serve, carry out a more than transient or merelynuseful task. We preserve, but in a very special way: we shownthe generation to come the how of knowledge, not merelynthe what; we show in our time what humanity has done overnall time to make sense of the world.nLest these observations on the nature of knowledge, thendanger of forgetting what we know, appear mere commonplace,nlet me point out alternative views. For I set forth anprofoundly conservative theory of universities and theirntasks, based on a deeply conservative premise of thencharacter of civilization and society. I maintain that it isnmore difficult to keep what we have than to add to what wenknow. I very much take to heart Professor Ehrenfeld’snwarning that, if the few old men who know how to work thengiant blocks of stone die without heirs, we shall no longernknow how to build cathedrals, and, in time to come, whennwe see them, we shall not even know what they are, the waynwhen we see the monstrous statues on Easter Island we donnot know what they are. The failure of civilization loomsnlarge in my mind: vve can lose what we have but get nothingnbetter. Society defines what is at stake, and risking its slenderngoods for the main chance threatens utter chaos: “gone, notnoutdated, not superseded, not even controversial, not frivolous:na whole continent of important human knowledgengone”! Indeed, so far as civilization finds nourishment innknowledge and understanding — and I cannot define civilizationnwithout knowledge and understanding — there cannbe no greater catastrophe than that loss of a continent ofnhuman knowledge; that clod that washes out to sea is all thenground we ever had on which to make sense of something.nWhat, then, does the fact that humanity indeed cannforget what it knows dictate for public policy in thenhere and now?nFirst, our principal task in universities must be the work ofnrigorous teaching. At stake in our classroom is the comingngeneration and its capacity to know and make sense ofnthings. Therefore, our main effort should focus upon thenhow of learning, how our students grasp what we wish to tellnthem, the processes by which we turn information intonuseful knowledge, useful knowledge into understanding —nall through (re)discovery, the recreation of intellect.nSecond, the creation of new knowledge is less importantnthan the recapitulation of received knowledge. Most professorsnmost of the time in most universities know little aboutnwhat it means to create new knowledge. It is estimated thatntwo-thirds of all professors have published scarcely a line; ofnthose who publish books, most publish one, few more thannone, which means the discovery of new knowledge in thenresponsible form of a statement for the criticism of othersnends with the dissertation; and, so I hear, 95 percent of allnscholarly books come from perhaps 5 percent of thenscholars. What this means is that most professors most of thentime in most universities find themselves expected to donwhat few of them have ever done, and fewer still have donenmore than once. We must therefore reconsider the entirenstructure of higher education, and our task is to reframe ournwork in such a way that the work people really do — andnwant to do and often do supremely well — is valued, andnthat that work is done. Most professors should teach morenthan they now do; but they also should study more than theynnow do in order to teach what they themselves have madentheir own.nFor I set forth a profoundly conservativentheory of universities and their tasks, basednon a deeply conservative premise of thencharacter of civilization and society. Inmaintain that it is more difficult to keepnwhat we have than to add to what we know.nThird, the recapitulation of received knowledge is not thensame thing as the mere repetition of things people thinknthey know, or have heard from others assumed to know whatnthey are talking about. Teaching is now defined in some few,nconventional ways. For example, the teacher talks, thenstudents listen. The teacher is the authority, the studentsninert and passive respondents thereto. Or opinions arenexchanged, so that none is the authority, and there is no tasknbut to say what one thinks. Or students listen to professorsnnnSEPTEMBER 1991/21n