Awful Vanity

[Letter excerpt, Fall, 1941]

I helped a small groups celebrate the eightieth birthday of Steindorff in Westwood last week. He is the dean of all Egyptologists. The party was at the home of the younger Breasted, son of the greatest scholar America has ever produced. He’s not so bad himself. I would never want to be taken for a scholar – that’s the sort of thing anyone can do, and to that I shall resign myself only after admitting total defeat on all other fronts, but I can put on an act now and then, and it is not uninteresting to be able to pass muster among the very highest men in a field. Awful vanity: let us temper it with the Gospel that a man is only worth what he produces. The Hebrews express anything certain by putting it in the past tense, which is much wiser than St. Thomas’s preoccupation with things that do not exist but are capable of existing, than which what could be more futile? So far I rate zero. Which reflection commands me to resume my legitimate labors and leave you in peace.


About Hugh Nibley

Hugh Nibley, 1910-2005, was simultaneously the LDS Church's greatest intellectual defender from attack from the outside and Mormon culture's strongest critic from the inside. This blog is composed mainly from Nibley's unpublished writings, letters, interviews and conversations, with occasional posts from associates who had personal interactions with him.
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One Response to Awful Vanity

  1. Laura Warburton says:

    He makes me smile.

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