Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/168

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156
STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

that Jowett substantially adhered to the older doctrine. Even if 'research ' were really stimulated by substituting professors for college tutors its value was doubtful. 'Is learning of any use?' he asks, and he replies that it is worse than useless except as a stimulant to thought and imagination. He thought that Green's lectures did harm by diverting lads from 'poetry and literature' to wandering in the barren fields of metaphysics. Young men, the implication seems to be, should not aim at conquering any province of knowledge—the conquest must be superficial or won at the price of one-sided and narrow development. A premature specialist is a mental cripple—a prodigy made by bandaging the vital organs. And what is true of metaphysics and 'learning' is equally true of theology. If Jowett's influence upon the outside world was, as I have suggested, not altogether good, it might well be excellent in the college so understood. A man with a definite creed is tempted to instil it into his pupils. He will give them a ready-made set of dogmas, and try to frighten them out of obnoxious lines of inquiry. Jowett at least could not make the college into a caucus for the support of a sect. As Pater reports, part of his charm was owing to