award of financial aid for a student to further their education

Scholarship can be defined variously as the practice of academic research and teaching, as the character or qualities of the scholar, and as the body of knowledge resulting from study or research in a particular field.

Accurate reading on a wide range of subjects makes the scholar; careful selection of the better makes the saint. ~ John of Salisbury


  • Scholarship, far from leading inexorably to a profession, may in fact preclude it. For it does not permit you to abandon it.
    • Walter Benjamin "The Life of Students" (1915), Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings – vol. 1: 1913-1926, ed. Michael William Jennings, Harvard University Press, 1996, p. 38.
  • And let a Scholler, all earths volumes carrie,
    He will be but a walking dictionarie.
    • George Chapman Euthymiae Raptus; or, The Tears of Peace (1609), line 530; Phyllis Brooks Bartlett (ed.) The Poems of George Chapman (London: Oxford University Press, 1941) p. 185.
  • We must distinguish between a man of polite learning and a meer schollar: the first is a gentleman and what a gentleman should be; the last is a meer bookcase, a bundle of letters, a head stufft with the jargon of languages, a man that understands every body but is understood by no body.
    • Daniel Defoe The Compleat English Gentleman, ch. 5; James T. Boulton (ed.) Selected Writings of Daniel Defoe (London: Cambridge University Press, 1975) p. 255.
  • A great scholar…is…not one who depends simply on an infinite memory, but also on an infinite and electrical power of combination; bringing together from the four winds, like the angel of the resurrection, what else were dust from dead men's bones, into the unity of breathing life.
    • Thomas De Quincey "Joan of Arc" (1847); De Quincey's Writings (Boston: Ticknor, Reed and Fields, 1850-60) vol. 3, p. 111.
  • Hell is paved with the skulls of great scholars, and paled in with the bones of great men.
    • Giles Firmin, The Real Christian (1670). Quoted as a proverb.
  • Scilicet ut vellem curvo dinoscere rectum
    atque inter silvas Academi quaerere verum.
    • So that, you know, I was eager to distinguish the straight from the crooked, and to hunt for truth in the groves of Academe.
    • Horace Epistles, Bk. II, Epistle ii, line 44; Horace (ed. and trans. H. Rushton Fairclough) Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica (London: William Heinemann, 1939) p. 427.
  • Exquisita lectio singulorum, doctissimum; cauta electio meliorum, optimum facit.
    • Accurate reading on a wide range of subjects makes the scholar; careful selection of the better makes the saint.
    • John of Salisbury Policraticus Bk. 7, ch. 10; John Dickinson (trans.) The Statesman's Book of John of Salisbury ([1927] 1963). [2]
  • There mark what Ills the Scholar's Life assail,
    Toil, Envy, Want, the Garret, and the Jail.
  • Bourgeois scholars and publicists usually come out in defence of imperialism in a somewhat veiled form; they obscure its complete, domination and its deep-going roots, strive to push specific and secondary details into the forefront and do their very best to distract attention from essentials by means of absolutely ridiculous schemes for “reform”, such as police supervision of the trusts or banks, etc. Cynical and frank imperialists who are bold enough to admit the absurdity of the idea of reforming the fundamental characteristics of imperialism are a rarer phenomenon.
    • Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, Chapter 9: "Critique of Imperialism"
  • Morris read through the letter. Was it a shade too fulsome? No, that was another law of academic life: it is impossible to be excessive in flattery of one’s peers.
  • True scholarship consists in knowing not what things exist, but what they mean; it is not memory but judgement.
  • Some on commission, some for the love of learning,
    Some because they have nothing better to do
    Or because they hope these walls of books will deaden
    The drumming of the demon in their ears.
    • Louis MacNeice "The British Museum Reading Room" (1941), line 4; E. R. Dodds (ed.) The Collected Poems of Louis MacNeice (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967) p. 161.
  • The ink of scholars (used in writing) is weighed on the Day of Judgement with the blood of martyrs and the ink of scholars outweighs the blood of martyrs.
    • Muhammad as quoted in Al-Jaami' al-Saghîr by Imam al-Suyuti, where it is declared a "weak Hadith".
    • Variant translations:
    • The ink of the scholar is holier than the blood of the martyr.
    • The ink of scholars will be weighed in the scale with the blood of martyrs.
      • As quoted in Knowledge of God in Classical Sufism: Foundations of Islamic Mystical Theology (2004) by John Renard
  • One should observe our scholars closely: they have reached the point where they think only “reactively,” i.e. they must read before they can think.
  • Let us explain Homer in no terms but his own, and our understanding of the work will be the fresher for it. Once the words are grasped with greater precision in their meaning and relevance, they will suddenly recover all their ancient splendour. The scholar too, like the restorer of an old painting, may yet in many places remove the dark coating of dust and varnish which the centuries have drawn over the picture, and thus give back to the colours their original brilliance.
    • Bruno Snell, The Discovery of the Mind: The Greek Origins of European Thought (1953), p. 1
  • [A] society that consisted of nothing but scholars would soon starve to death, and it wouldn’t be very interesting while it lasted.
    • Michael Totten, (20 February 2017), Dispatches, Washington, D.C.: World Affairs Institute

See also

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