Sunday, October 17, 2010

Food for Thought: Harvard University's 1650 Charter

Harvard's 1650 Charter states:

Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the maine end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life (John 17:3) and therefore to lay Christ in the bottome, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and Learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdome, Let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seeke it of him (Prov. 2:3). [1]

Courage and Godspeed,


1. As quoted by Dr. Norman Geisler and Dr. Frank Turek in I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, p. 205- Original spelling and Scripture references retained


Chad V. said...

This fact jumped out at me last week during Dr. Turek's presentation. It's unfortunate and ironic how one of the world's most renowned institutions for learning lost sight of their most important objective.

Anonymous said...

As the charter of Harvard is dated May 31, 1650, I wonder about the source of your information.

Chad said...


I checked out your claim and you are correct! I have made the necessary correction and greatly appreciate you drawing this to my attention.

I plan to follow-up with one of the authors of the book referenced.


Anonymous said...

Actually, if you check the website referenced (which is a Harvard source) it does make the statement cited in the book.
I thought the same when I first googled it, but then checked the citation in the back.

william francis brown said...

I'm reading Geisler and Turek's book, "I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist", and just got to page 205, where this quote from the Harvard Charter is written.

I also did not see this on the Charter as seen in the Harvard Archives website. I wrote the archivist to ask them about this. The date Harvard gives is 1650; Geisler and Turek give 1646. I am curious to get their reply and will pass that on.

--Wm. Brown
Forest, VA

PS - I may have just answered my own question. The reference links to the Harvard Graduate Christian Community, here the quote is said to derive from Harvard's "Rules and Precepts," adopted in 1646. So this may be a minor inaccuracy, I think, in the book.