On Athanasian Hall – A Call for Classical Liberal Arts

Dr. Jonathan Kenigson, FRSA*

I vow’d that I would dedicate my powers

To thee and thine: have I not kept the vow?

With beating heart and streaming eyes, even now

I call the phantoms of a thousand hours

Each from his voiceless grave: they have in vision’d bowers

Of studious zeal or love’s delight

Outwatch’d with me the envious night:

They know that never joy illum’d my brow

Unlink’d with hope that thou wouldst free

This world from its dark slavery,

That thou, O awful LOVELINESS,

Wouldst give whate’er these words cannot express.

The day becomes more solemn and serene

When noon is past; there is a harmony

In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,

Which through the summer is not heard or seen,

As if it could not be, as if it had not been!

Thus let thy power, which like the truth

Of nature on my passive youth

Descended, to my onward life supply

Its calm, to one who worships thee,

And every form containing thee,

Whom, SPIRIT fair, thy spells did bind

To fear himself, and love all human kind.

“Hymn to Intellectual Beauty,” Shelley

Athanasian Hall is a university-independent fellowship of colleagues devoted to the study of the classical Quadrivium: Arithmetic, Astronomy, Geometry, and Music. Senior fellows (styled DSc) must possess a research doctorate and exhibit a portfolio of published works judged by impartial reviewers to be both world-leading and interdisciplinary. DSc fellowship would only be conferred after an individual demonstrated published portfolios in 3 or more scientific fields and exhibited a sustained, lifelong inquiry into the “great books” canon. Working proficiency in several classical and modern languages is a de-facto prerequisite for this level of fellowship.

Visiting fellows are appointed on an annual basis in accordance with the needs and values of AHC. Visiting fellowships do not confer an academic rank, but may be renewable for additional periods. AHC is a venue for candidates of outstanding academic potential (equivalent to a Cambridge fellow) but academic interests in the Quadrivium that are too broad or interdisciplinary to be accommodated by a university. AHC does not have any institutional affiliation with the University of Cambridge. However, fellows at the rank of FSc or above will be expected to apply for academic posts or additional study at the University of Cambridge or the University of Oxford.

Attendance at interdisciplinary, research-level Oxford or Cambridge seminars and colloquia is strongly encouraged. Online attendance at relevant university functions are permissible, but open admission courses, courses at undergraduate level, or seminars offered exclusively by departments of continuing education in asynchronous formats will not typically be held to fulfill this expectation.

Beginning in 2024, AHC will provide academic support to advanced secondary- and university-level students in the USA, UK, and Ireland who seek classical instruction in the Quadrivium arts. Admission for academic support is extremely selective and determined by the interests and aptitudes of the individual fellows of AHC. We do not seek to train research scientists, but rather to provide venues of broad intellectual inquiry to advanced students. AHC is not a fee-for-service institution and does not grant degrees or diplomas of any kind.