That Jowett "graffito"

From: Edgar M. Krentz (
Date: Thu Oct 31 1996 - 21:46:07 EST

I have been interested to see the evidence of oral tradition and memory in
the transmission of the Jowett "graffito." I have still another version to
add to the list:

        First come I; my name is Jowett.
        There's no knowledge but I know it.
        I am master of this college:
        What I don't know isn't knowledge.

The writer Ved Mehta cited this version in his article "What shall I read?
An Oxford Memoir," THE AMERICAN SCHOLAR 62 (1993) 59.

He said that Jowett's Balliol colleague Henry Charles Beeching pennd the
poem as given above. Add it to the anecdote collection--and see how the
oral tradion, always lively among college students, handed it on in variant

Given the rhyme, I don't what it suggests about how to pronounce the
name--since I also cannot reproduce in my mind the British pronunciation of
know it.

Edgar Krentz, New Testament OR *****
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
1100 East 55th Street
TEL.: 773-256-0752 FAX: 773-256-0782

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