On Fellowship With Athanasian Hall: Pursuit of Intellectual Beauty

On Fellowship With Athanasian Hall: Pursuit of Intellectual Beauty

Dr. Jonathan Kenigson, FRSA*

The awful shadow of some unseen Power

Floats though unseen among us; visiting

This various world with as inconstant wing

As summer winds that creep from flower to flower;

Like moonbeams that behind some piny mountain shower,

It visits with inconstant glance

Each human heart and countenance;

Like hues and harmonies of evening,

Like clouds in starlight widely spread,

Like memory of music fled,

Like aught that for its grace may be

Dear, and yet dearer for its mystery.

Spirit of BEAUTY, that dost consecrate

With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon

Of human thought or form, where art thou gone?

Why dost thou pass away and leave our state,

This dim vast vale of tears, vacant and desolate?

Ask why the sunlight not for ever

Weaves rainbows o’er yon mountain-river,

Why aught should fail and fade that once is shown,

Why fear and dream and death and birth

Cast on the daylight of this earth

Such gloom, why man has such a scope

For love and hate, despondency and hope?

“Hymn to Intellectual Beauty,” Shelley

Athanasian Hall, Cambridge (AHC) was originally founded in 2020 as a Quadrivium research institute in the historic university city of Cambridge, UK. From 2021-2022, research objectives of the 40 affiliated scholars focused almost exclusively upon pure mathematics and mathematical physics. Effective Spring, 2023, the founding Principal (Jonathan Kenigson) and external consultants undertook a re-evaluation of institutional objectives in an effort to more faithfully align AHC with Mortimer Adler’s “great books” paradigm. The original vision for AHC that was gradually developed from 2012-2018 demanded that the institute remain faithful to Quadrivium research using predominantly primary sources. Beginning in 2024, AHC will transition to a classical institute in which prominent scientists, mathematicians, and philosophers engage in broad, interdisciplinary dialogue regarding issues of pressing importance to human intellectual, ethical, and spiritual flourishing.

Fellows may enter AHC only by nomination of an existing fellow. Responses to applicant-initiated requests for affiliation will not be entertained unless one or more existing fellows agrees to referee the application. Technically, the only qualifications required for affiliation are outstanding academic aptitude, an undergraduate degree, and an enduring interest in the perennial classics of Western civilization. Junior fellows (styled SSc) will typically possess a graduate degree of high rigor and several refereed publications. Regular fellows (styled FSc) will typically possess an earned doctorate with a dissertation of high quality, 10 or more refereed publications, and a concurrent faculty position at a degree-granting academic institution.


Dr. Jonathan Kenigson, FRSA