Sunday, October 23, 2011

Back from Edinburgh

Arrived home last night after a week in Edinburgh, Scotland.  Was there on business and Dorothy came along.  We had a wonderful time during the breaks.  In the background is the Edinburgh Castle, first referred to about 1000 years ago and a site of human activity since who knows when.  There was something vaguely familiar about this place even though I've never been here before.  Simply from a mathematical perspective, some of our ancestors must have come from this place or near here.  Edinburgh is sometimes referred to as the Athens of the North.  The Scots changed the world with the Scottish Enlightenment of the 1700's.  That is when Adam Smith invented Economics, Thomas Reid discovered common sense, and James Hutton founded modern geology and paved the way for later U. of Edinburgh student, Charles Darwin.  When a senior at Harding, I wrestled with Electromagnetic Theory.  Much of that is based on the 19th century advances of James Clerk Maxwell, also a grad of the U. of Edinburgh.

The University of Edinburgh Divinity School.

It is important to note that Alexander Campbell was a product to some degree of this intellectual matrix.  He is even mentioned on the Scottish Enlightenment Wikipedia page as a famous example of that school.  And so, my cultural and religious as well as ancestral heritage derives in part from this place.

from Wikipedia
An English visitor to Edinburgh during the heyday of the Scottish Enlightenment remarked: "Here I stand at what is called the Cross of Edinburgh, and can, in a few minutes, take 50 men of genius and learning by the hand." It is a striking summation of the outburst of pioneering intellectual activity that occurred in Scotland in the second half of the 18th century.

They were a closely knit group: most knew one another; many were close friends; some were related by marriage. All were politically conservative but intellectually radical (
Unionists and progressives to a man), courteous, friendly and accessible. They were stimulated by enormous curiosity, optimism about human progress and a dissatisfaction with age-old theological disputes. Together they created a cultural golden age.


Derek said...

Glad that you got to travel to the land of our fathers!

Jason said...

Edinburgh is a lovely city. I've been there twice, but neither trip was long enough to really experience the richness of its history and culture. Glad to hear you had a good trip.

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