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Wendell Berry and Higher EducationCultivating Virtues of Place$
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Jack R. Baker and Jeffrey Bilbro

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813169026

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813169026.001.0001

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Learning to Love the Membership

(p.166) 7 Community
Wendell Berry and Higher Education

Jack R. Baker

Jeffrey Bilbro

Wendell Berry

University Press of Kentucky

Berry’s diagnosis of the fragmentation that characterizes most educational institutions is particularly nuanced in Jayber Crow. This novel also develops an alternative mode of communal catechesis, one that provides an education in and for love. After describing Jayber Crow’s indictment of formal education and the “way of love” Berry offers in its place, this chapter articulates two contrasting modes of intellectual appetite—the curious and the studious. Whereas the curious desire knowledge in order to gain power for themselves, the studious desire knowledge for the sake of the subject. One of the characteristics of a studious person, then, is an ability to make connections and foster complex health—habits that modern universities are particularly bad at fostering. This chapter concludes by considering two practices that might foster this loving orientation toward others: asking connective questions and developing focused attention.

Keywords:   Jayber Crow, love, community, studious, curious, questions, attention

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