Yale Divinity School doesn’t need Berkeley’s arrogance

To the Editor:

“Nonsense” is the most polite word that I can use to describe W. Tay Moss’ DIV ’03 melodramatic and insulting defense of the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale (“Value of Berkeley-Yale Divinity School affiliation must be appreciated,” 1/23). Referring to the separation of the Yale Divinity School and Berkeley as an “act of violence” insults the intelligence of the reader and the experience of those persons who experience genuine violence with its accompanying physical and psychological trauma. Suggesting that only at Berkeley do the church and the academy meet insults non-Episcopalians at the Yale Divinity School who aspire to lives of service in both.

It is simply wrong to say that Yale Divinity School and Berkeley are deeply entwined. Truth be told, most non-Episcopalian Yale Divinity School students have nothing to do with the goings-on at Berkeley, at least in part because of the hoity-toity attitude of the Berkeley community.

Berkeley contributes only one thing of substance to the Yale-Berkeley relationship: money. In exchange, Berkeley students get access to a first-rate faculty whose members chose to teach at Yale (not Berkeley) and a diploma that reads “Yale University” instead of bearing a name that no one outside the Episcopal Church has heard of.

Moss articulates the supercilious attitude of many Berkeley students who believe that without them the Yale Divinity School would fall apart, that Berkeley is a bastion of faith in a secular world keeping Yale’s school true to its spiritual mission. Again, nonsense! If Berkeley is truly the institution Moss describes, it can and should survive without its Yale affiliation.

Ralph Thomas Taylor DIV ’00

January 24, 2002

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