Self-Guided Tour by Matthew J. Milliner
Wherever you are, follow these steps to enjoy an introduction to our glorious space!
The first segment covers the predecessors of the current Chapel. Starting at the steps of Nassau Hall, we'll discuss origins of the College of New Jersey, some of its early leaders, as well as its nineteenth century advances towards status as a University.
The second segment covers the exterior of the current Chapel and the immediate historical context of its construction. The loosening of required daily chapel attendance will be discussed, as will the Collegiate Gothic style and the architect Ralph Adams Cram.
In the first half of the third segment, we'll go into the Chapel itself to examine what has been called the "finest Gothic interior in America" and the "finest ensemble [of stained glass] to be found in the western hemisphere." This tour takes us from the narthex to the Great North WIndow.
In the second half of the third segment we'll go from the Great North Window to the Chapel's zenith in the Milbank Choir, concluding at the Great West Window.
Right-click the links to save the files to your computer and/or personal audio player.
[ Drumming ]
Welcome to the Princeton University Chapel audio tour.
Thanks for downloading this.
My name is Matt Milliner.
I'm an art and archeology graduate student here, and I'll be giving you as much as I know about the University Chapel and its historical context.
There's a lot that I don't and for more information do consult the Office of the Religious Life website.
We've recently put up some more web information as well as some bibliographic resources that's worth checking out.
This is going to be a general walking tour for you to take at your own pace divided into 3 segments.
You can 1, 2 or all 3 and the first is going to a historical preface and that's going to cover the Chapel's predecessor.
The second part is going to be the exterior that covers the immediate historical context of the chapel and the third part is going to cover the inside the windows themselves.
[ Music ] Well, you would think that a Princeton University Chapel tour would start at the chapel but because we're covering the predecessors of the chapel we have to start on the steps of Nassau Hall.
So please stand between those two green Princeton Tigers looking down Witherspoon Street and Nassau Street is a street that runs parallel to Nassau Hall.
Now this used to be a Lenni Lenape Indian trail about 2 feet wide and when the British came, they expanded it so it could accommodate carriages and Prince Town became a major stopping point on that highway between New York, which was 50, well still is 51 miles away, and Philadelphia, which is 49 miles away.
Now this recalls Benjamin Franklin's colonial quip that New Jersey is like a keg tapped at both ends.
Meaning it's resources are drained by those two great cities and Prince Town found its life in the middle of it all, but to talk about the predecessors of the current Princeton University Chapel, we have to go back well before Prince Town was the site of the college and to do that please turn around and walk up the stairs and look to your left and you'll see a plaque inside the doorway commemorating the Log College and the plaque goes all the way back, well, the date is 1726.
That's when the Log College was founded.
Now what was the Log College.
This was a place to train pietistic Presbyterian ministers.
That is revivalist ministers of the new side or new light as they were sometimes called versus the old side or the old light Presbyterians that were not open to revivalist sentiments.
William Tennant founded the college.
It was not located here but across the river, Delaware River, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where Warminster is today.
Now William Tennant didn't call it the Log College.
It was derisively called the Log College by its enemies who thought that the ministers trained there were nearly as sophisticated as they needed to be.
And Gilbert Tennant, William's son, shot back with one of his controversial sermons called on the dangers of an unconverted ministry.
You get the sense that the new siders certainly felt that the old siders weren't pious enough and the old siders thought that the new siders weren't intellectual enough.
This schism was eventually healed, but this was a major part of the controversy that led to the founding of the College of New Jersey, and I think it is fair to say that the College of New Jersey is the successor, spiritually speaking, of the Log College because the College of New Jersey too was a revivalist school, but to be perfectly accurate we can't speak of any of the predecessors to the current Princeton University Chapel until we reach the date of 1746, 20 years after the founding of the Log College, because that's when the College of New Jersey received its royal charter.
Now why did a new college have to be conceived in the first place.
Well, this goes back to the intriguing story of the beginnings of the College of New Jersey and intriguing because it goes back to one particular quote.
This was uttered by David Brainerd, a young student at Yale College who later became a famous missionary, and he said this.
"I believe he has no more grace than the chair that I am leaning upon." That was the quote that started the College of New Jersey.
And Aaron Burr Senior, the second president of the College of New Jersey, actually says that's what started the College of New Jersey.
So it's not just a story; it really does check out.
Now what happened.
Now why did he say this.
Well, he felt that one of his tutors didn't pray with enough fervor leading to David's sarcastic comment about the chair which got back to Thomas Clapp, the president of Yale College.
Now another time this might have been forgiven as a youthful indiscretion, but Thomas Clapp had recently made it a law at Yale that you are not to call your tutors carnal or unconverted men.
Now the reason this had to be a law is because remember the Log College the first great awakening is sweeping through the colonies and students who caught the winds of revival would, in turn, look to their professors and say, gosh, well, my elders aren't exactly abounding in religious affection.
And when the leadership of the college was so undermined it had a corrosive effect on the institution and so David Brainerd had to be expelled.
Now 3 New Jersey, well, 2 New Jersey ministers and 1 famous New England minister gathered together to try to defend David Brainerd's cause.
Give him a break, youthful indiscretion, let it go.
These were Aaron Burr, Senior, Jonathan Dickinson and the famous Jonathan Edwards.
Now what do these 3 men have in common other than the fact that they were all ministers.
Well, they were the first 3 presidents of the College of New Jersey.
They tried to convince Thomas Clapp to not expel David.
Thomas Clapp would have none of it and they said we've got to move on.
Now it couldn't have been an easy decision because these ministers were Yale alumni but nevertheless they had to find, in fact, they had to found a place that was more hospitable to these new currents of religious enthusiasm.
Now where are they to go.
You certainly can't go back to Harvard because the same thing had happened at Harvard not too long ago and that's why Yale College had to be founded.
They also couldn't go to the only other school in the colonies, William and Mary, because William and Mary is way too far south and for these Presbyterian influenced clergyman, well, it was way too Anglican.
And the middle ground was New Jersey.
Conveniently not very far away from where the Log College had already been in practice.
And so to talk about the real first predecessor to the University Chapel today we're going to talk about the living room of Jonathan Dickinson in Elizabethtown, now Elizabeth, New Jersey.
After Jonathan Dickinson died, he was the first president, the second president Aaron Burr Senior, they would have met in his living room, his parlor, parsonage, parlor of the parsonage, in Newark, New Jersey.
We're not at Princeton yet, but Aaron Burr Senior is effective enough as a fundraiser to raise enough money to build Nassau Hall in 1756, 10 years after the royal charter was acquired, and when Nassau Hall was built is was the largest building in all 13 colonies.
Now the entirety of the college would have been located within the building of Nassau Hall.
Today it's just an administration building, but then it was the whole thing and the students would have met to pray in what is now the faculty room.
That is the extruding portion of the building to the south behind it.
If you can get a chance to poke your head in and see the actual faculty room if it's open, please do so because it's recently refurbished.
It's a beautiful room.
And as a prayer hall I assure you this room was often occupied.
The daily regimen, remember this was a revivalist college, so the daily regimen included prayer shortly after the 5 AM waking hour and evening prayers just before dinner not to mention multiple Sunday church services of much greater length and students didn't necessarily go happily all the time.
It led to prank and protest.
There were some bucking against the grain and that is an essential ingredient to the history of the College of New Jersey, and we'll see it, in fact, will become very important when we get to the reason that the current University Chapel was constructed.
So keep that in mind.
As we round the bend of Nassau Hall and look out towards what is called Canon Green, you can see the prayer room extruding to the south but wasn't just a prayer room.
It has an extraordinary history beyond just worship purposes.
A major turning point in the Revolutionary War as you may know is when George Washington crossed the Delaware on December 26, 1776.
He surprised some Hessian mercenaries who were hung over from Christmas festivities and chased them all the way into Nassau Hall.
And so on January 3, 1777, Alexander Hamilton under the command of General George Washington had to fire a cannon at the prayer room.
The cannonball went through the window and lopped off the head of George the III.
Well, the portrait of George the III that was in the faculty room, what is the faculty room today.
And they kept the frame and replaced it with an amazing portrait of George Washington painted by Charles Wilson Peale and that painting can still be seen I think it's now in the art museum and there's a replica of it in the faculty room.
And if that's on interesting enough, Nassau Hall also served as a military hospital through 1778 and was the Seat of Congress in 1783 when Princeton was briefly the nation's capital.
Do take the Orange Key Tour to get more of these details that goes more into the general history of Princeton University, but I can't help while we're here pointing out those two classical buildings on the other side of Canon Green because it does have to do with the religious life of Princeton University and here's how.
Whig and Clio Hall was the early debating society of the College of New Jersey.
It would have been Whig versus Tories, that's the traditional way the debates would have panned out, but because Tories were too British for this revolutionary college, they named it after the muse of history, Clio, instead.
And to the left of Whig is Murray-Dodge Hall, the Office of Religious Life.
And often the comment has been made that you can contrast the calm, cold rationality of Whig and Clio Hall the reason debating societies versus the less rational perhaps more mysterious look of the Tudor Gothic of the Office of Religious life.
And there, again, we see perhaps an echo of that contrast between the old side rationalists and the new side revivalists.
Now if the current faculty room that back of Nassau Hall was the first chapel on the campus of what is now Princeton University, what was the second one.
Eventually the students outgrew the prayer hall on Nassau and they had to move in to another structure that was built independently of Nassau Hall which was called the old chapel.
That's what we call it now and that's going to take us all the way to the middle of the 19th Century.
So before leaving the early history of the college behind, we have to grapple with 2 figures and those figures are staring at you whether or not you realize it.
So if you walk over to the west façade of East Pine, that's the structure that looks like Murray-Dodge, there they are; look at them.
They're staring at you rather disapprovingly.
Flanking that passageway to the left is John Witherspoon and the right is President James McCosh.
Two of the great, if not the greatest, presidents in history of the College of New Jersey.
We have to understand the role that these figures played if we're going to make sense of the college as it moves beyond its colonial roots further into history towards the present.
We simply cannot go through this passageway, which on this tour represents for us moving forward in time away from the colonial heritage towards the 19th Century, we cannot go through it spatially or chronologically without giving these gentlemen their due most especially the one on the left, the Reverend John Witherspoon.
One of the many reasons Witherspoon was so important was because he finally gave the College of New Jersey some stability.
As Sydney Ahlstrom, a great American church historian from Yale has said, "in two decades, the College of New Jersey had devoured the best leadership of both the New England Party and the Log College men".
And what Ahlstrom meant by that was that the best and brightest Presbyterian revivalist kept dying when they were placed as presidents of this college.
First, of course, Jonathan Dickinson.
Well, we gave up on his parsonage in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, only after 5 months when he died.
Aaron Burr also died quite quickly just after he had secured enough money to build Nassau Hall.
And it certainly seem like the tide was turning when Burr's father-in-law, the famous New England minister Jonathan Edwards was appointed president, but Jonathan Edwards was inoculated with smallpox and died in 1758 from smallpox.
So it wasn't a very effective inoculation.
And Edwards died before he was even able to assume many of his duties as president.
Now this was indeed a tragedy because Edwards was one of the most capable intellects of the early colonies.
In fact, in all of American history.
So many have heard of Edwards's Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God sermon, but he wrote so much more than that.
Beautiful almost mystical passages such as this.
"As I was walking there and looking up on the sky and clouds, there came into my mind so sweet a sense of the glorious majesty and grace of God that I know not how to express.
I seem to see them both in a sweet conjunction, majesty and meekness joined together.
The appearance of everything was altered.
There seemed to be as it were a calm, sweet cast or appearance of divine glory in almost everything." I mention that passage to give us an idea of what early revivalism was like.
It was at times quite delightful and Edwards was such a fine choice for the College of New Jersey also because he was able to put a defense for revivalism in a more intellectual key conversant with the currents of the Enlightenment and this is exactly what he did in a treaties concerning religious affections of 1746, one of his most important works.
Edwards showed that the new siders could be quite formidable intellectually themselves.
And so it was such a tragedy when he was unable to take up his duties as president here.
And the tragedies continued.
The next president Samuel Davies died after 2 years in office.
And the next one, Samuel Finley, another great leader of the Log College group, well he died early as well.
And if you walk down across from the Princeton Public Library to the presidents burial plot, you'll see all these men buried, well, not all of them but almost all of them, buried one next to the other.
All these tombs just death after death after death and then this hulking tomb stops the train and that's the great John Witherspoon.
Now, of course, John Witherspoon died too, but he actually managed to be a leader of this institution for a quarter of a century.
So he really finally put some stability onto this fledgling institution.
Now President Witherspoon's effectiveness as a leader went well beyond the fact that he was merely able to survive.
Most importantly perhaps he was able to bring some degree of healing to the old side, new side Presbyterian split.
He was a very irenic soul, and he was able to bring people together, but not only that he was himself removed from this colonial conflict and that's because he was a Presbyterian intellectual Scottish import.
He was from Scotland and there was a lot of deliberation to try to get him to come.
Finally, he accepted.
One can understand the hesitation because at this point the College of New Jersey had a reputation as a presidential deathtrap, but he was convinced and was welcomed with much fanfare in Philadelphia and when he arrived he brought his family and they moved into a farm nearby.
And Witherspoon also brought with him some of the what was called the Scottish Renaissance.
That is some intellectual currents called Scottish common sense realism.
He brought that over and then that in some ways sublimated the revivalist concerns of the early College of New Jersey.
Of course, also the concerns of the revolution were as much on the mind of the college because President Witherspoon was president of this college when it was literally a battlefield.
This was during the Revolutionary War.
Witherspoon himself was called, is still called the forgotten founder because he had had such a profound effect on the early republic, but he's not spoken of as much as John Adams, Ben Franklin, et cetera.
Now to prove that assertion one could simply point out Witherspoon was the only minister who signed the Declaration of Independence, but I think even more proof comes from listening to one of his lectures on government.
He said, "It must be complex so that one principal may check the other.
It is of consequence to have as much a virtue among the particular members of a community as possible, but it is folly to expect that a state should be upheld by integrity in all who have a share in managing it.
They must be so balanced that when everyone draws to his own interest or inclination there must be an even poise upon the whole." Now if you're still standing in front of that west façade, what I would like to do now is please look up, further up, and you'll see on the right were 2 of the students who would have been listening to that lecture in Witherspoon's classroom.
To the left all the way up at the top on the corner there is James Madison and to the right is Oliver Ellsworth.
These were Princeton students who had a lot to do with writing the Constitution.
In fact, James Madison pumped those ideas right into Federalist Paper Number 10 that defended the Constitution.
What we heard was John Witherspoon's Calvinist influence.
This idea of original sin and the humans are prone to corruption and so, therefore, you have to have checks and balances to keep ambition from going too far.
The idea had no small effect on what became the United States of America.
And by the way Princeton University professors often it is said labor under the mantra, publish or perish, and James Madison and Oliver Ellsworth certainly set the bar rather high in regard to alumni producing influential publications such as the Constitution.
All right well now finally we're ready to move into the doorway.
We'll talk about McCosh as we get to the other side, but on let's go through this beautiful passageway.
You see the massive lamps that are quite big but they are beautifully set in scale with the ribbed vaulting and bosses of this Tudor Gothic structure it's been called.
It's a transitional building East Pine is between the earlier Victorian architecture of the campus and the collegiate Gothic that we haven't gotten to yet, but we soon will.
And so moving out of the passageway you'll get into the square courtyard of East Pine.
Now incidentally as we walk into the square courtyard, you'll see a bunch of empty niches and it looks like sculptures should be there.
That's, and they're supposed to be there.
This was supposed to have been a Valhalla.
That's an old Norse word that means hall of the slain.
And, in fact, you'll see more empty niches for the rest of this tour as we get to the Princeton University Chapel itself and the surrounding courtyard.
And rather than thinking of this as the laziness of Princeton in not bothering to put sculptures where they belong, I like to think of it in a more positive way as beckoning out to students and visitors why aren't you worthy enough to be here commemorated in sculpture.
Or the niches are crying out, you know, do something of commemorable significance with your lives so we can place you here.
So that's the glass half-full approach to sculptureless courtyards.
Let's pick up on the history after we left off with Witherspoon.
After his astonishing leadership the college went to, it went into a sort of decline.
It hit its nadir at the beginning of the 19th Century.
This had to do with the student protests and backlash against the administration that I've referred to and enrollment also went way down.
It got to the point where a few trustees were concerned that the College of New Jersey was not cranking out the sufficient ministers to reach out to the expanding American frontier.
And so what they did was founded a separate theological seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary in 1812, and that's located a short walk away, but the college slowly rebounded and enrollment increased and eventually the students outgrew the prayer hall in Nassau Hall.
And what they did was they constructed a separate edifice that was located where you're standing right now, or somewhere near we're standing right now, and that's what we call the old chapel.
Now the construction of the old chapel was not without its degree of controversy especially if you're coming at it from a strictly Presbyterian perspective.
You see it was built with transepts; that means the arms stuck out a little bit so that it looked like a cross.
And a concerned committee wrote this report.
"Cruciform architecture is so identified with popery that it becomes us to beware of adopting its insignia." Even a cross shape was too Catholic for these Presbyterians.
However, as one person brilliantly wrote frugality overcame piety.
You see 2/3 of the old chapel was already constructed at this point and to tear down would have been too expensive so they kept it as it was.
Over time students and faculty became endeared to this old chapel and when it was torn down in 1897 to make way for East Pine that you're standing amidst right now, it was called the Crime of '97, but it was all right for the chapel to be torn down in a way because in 1882, well before the Crime of '97, another chapel had been constructed.
The second freestanding Chapel of the College of New Jersey called Marquand Chapel, and this was necessary because of the extraordinary growth of the college after it rebounded after the Civil War under the astonishing leadership of James McCosh.
Yet another Scottish import who came almost exactly a century after John Witherspoon had come.
During his tenure as president, McCosh nearly doubled the faculty and student enrollment of the college.
According to Woodrow Wilson, who was an undergraduate during McCosh era, "McCosh found Princeton a quiet country college and lifted it to a conspicuous place among the most notable institutions of the country.
He laid the foundations of a genuine university and his own enthusiasm for learning vilified the whole spirit of the place." And that was true.
For the first time under McCosh the curriculum significantly broadened.
In a famous debate with the president of Harvard, McCosh defended the need for undergraduates to study all the subjects first and then specialize as opposed to specializing the entire way.
As he said in that debate, "Let not Edinburgh and Scotland and the Puritans in England know that a student may pass through the once Puritan College of America without having taken a single class of philosophy or a lesson in religion." McCosh was also proud that he for the first time permitted Catholics as well as Protestants of all denomination, Jews and even people of no religious affiliation into the college.
"I have religiously guarded the sacred rights of conscience", McCosh said, "I have never insisted on anyone attending a religious service to which he conscientiously objected." And that testifies to the loosening of the requirements of daily chapel, which we're moving towards in the Princeton University Chapel currently we'll see is a testimony to that new spirit.
Well now we've talked about Witherspoon and McCosh, and we've earned the right to walk through this last passageway, which will be symbolic for us of moving away from the College of New Jersey and into what is now Princeton University.
It received that title in 1897 and as Wilson said McCosh laid the foundation for that.
Upon his retirement, McCosh said, "I retire and the college has been brought to the very borders of a university, and I leave it to another to carry it over to the land of promise." And so the college received the title of university in '97 under Francis Patton, but it was really McCosh that did most of the labor.
As we emerge out of the passageway, to your right you'll see a wonderful green statue of John Witherspoon.
You can read more about his different roles along the plaques there, and you can walk to the back and you can see the broadness of his curriculum.
He would even permit somebody like David Hume, that great skeptic against Christianity, into the classroom because he understood that education even at that point involved understanding and grappling with ideas that you yourself did not necessarily espouse.
To the left you see Firestone Library poking up as the tip of the iceberg so to speak.
It also goes 3 massive floors down.
And directly ahead of you, of course, is finally the Princeton University Chapel, but we can't talk about it yet.
We still have to talk about that last predecessor a little bit that is Marquand Chapel.
Marquand stood not very far from where the current university chapel is today.
It was not without its own share of controversy as well.
When it was built, it was said to have had, "the rounded apps of a Roman basilica, the transept of a Gothic Cathedral and the minaret of a Turkish mosque", but it was a beautiful structure able to seat 1000 testifying again to the extraordinary growth of the college under McCosh and it was built by the architect Richard Morris Hunt, who had developed his skills at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris.
Other famous Hunt commissions include the façade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the base of the Statue of Liberty.
In Marquand's inaugural sermon President McCosh proclaimed that here art is consecrated to religion, but in the spring of 1920, a house party fire broke out and caught onto Dickinson Hall, which is behind the current university chapel, and it was near where Marquand Chapel stood and where Joseph Henry House was.
Now Joseph Henry House has been moved several times.
It's currently facing Nassau Street to the east of Nassau Hall, and it was built by that famous science professor at Princeton who became the first president or the first director of the Smithsonian in Washington DC.
Joseph Henry taught architecture as an elective even though he was a science professor, and he built that house himself.
So it had great importance for Princeton and they didn't want to let it burn so they wetted it down, it was made of wood, they figured that was the most urgent action to take against the fire.
They figured Marquand would be okay because it's made of stone, but the sparks went through the ventilating louvers and the timber of the roof caught fire, but by the time anyone noticed this it was too late.
Marquand went up in flames and down it burned, but as a consequence Joseph Henry house survived.
So one could perhaps say in an appropriately Christ-like way for a chapel Marquand gave its life for Joseph Henry House.
After Marquand went down the students worshiped in the meantime in Alexander Hall, which is that glorious Richard Sony and Romanesque building to the west of Nassau Hall.
You can walk over there and see that wonderful structure, but it was generally understood that this, that Alexander Hall wasn't sufficient for worship.
It was more of an auditorium feel and there was a need to build the university chapel.
Well, that takes us to the end of segment one covering the predecessors of the current Princeton University Chapel.
A quick review of where we've been we started at the spiritual predecessor to the College of New Jersey.
That was the Log College over across the Delaware River, and then we went into the parsonages of Jonathan Dickinson in Elizabethtown now Elizabeth, New Jersey, then into the parsonage of Aaron Burr Senior in Newark.
Finally, we got our own building and the students worshiped in the prayer hall appended to Nassau Hall.
Under many presidents' leadership they worshipped there, but most importantly that Scottish import John Witherspoon.
The college went into decline but recovered and in the mid-19th Century a freestanding chapel was constructed that transept infected old chapel which stands where, stood where East Pine stands today.
Then under the leadership of President James McCosh, Marquand Chapel was constructed, burned down in 1920.
Intermediate structure was Alexander Hall taking us finally to the current structure you see today.
Thank you for listening to segment 1, and I hope you'll stay on to listen to segment 2 and 3 as well.
[ Music ]
Welcome to round two in the Princeton University chapel audio tour.
Again my name's Matt Milliner.
I'm an art and archaeology graduate student here.
May I remind you to check out our online resources at the office of religious life website under history and architecture?
We recently put up some bibliographical information, some articles, and some images.
Last time we focused on the predecessors of the current university chapel and the historical context of the founding of the college of New Jersey.
And now we're going to focus on the immediate historical context of the construction of the university chapel itself.
This is going to involve a walk around the entire exterior of the building.
So I hope you've picked a pleasant day.
Let's begin by looking at the west facade.
That would be the part facing east pine where we came from.
And take a good few steps back so that you can see the whole structure moving upwards.
Ralph Adams Cram, the architect whom we'll be talking about so much today who constructed this, felt that Gothic was less a method of construction than it was the visualizing of a spiritual impulse.
And this is a great vantage point from which to see that because the stone is almost lace-like, levitating the building even though it's so heavy.
It's made to appear light.
And Cram was very specific in his intentions for this building.
He wrote that it would establish in the midst of campus and in perpetuity a center of dynamic energy that would work silently and subconsciously towards bringing back once more in to the undergraduate life those supra material supra intellectual forces which, to say the least, add so immeasurably to the joy and the fullness of life.
Now let's walk in towards the tympanum itself.
That's the semicircular structure above the lintel, above the doorway.
And this, according to Richard Stillwell, the art historian who wrote the definitive text on the chapel, is at summation for the theme for the entire scheme of decoration of the chapel.
That is we can see the whole in just this part.
So let's examine the tympanum.
It may look familiar to you if you've ever been to Chartres Cathedral in France because it's almost an exact copy of that west facade there.
I'm going to read to you right now from a text that's famous for its obscurity, but I think you're going to find that its obscurity in fact illuminates immediately what you're looking at right now.
At once I was in the spirit and lo a throne stood in heaven with on seated on the throne.
Round the throne were 24 thrones and seated on the thrones were 24 elders.
And on each side of the throne are four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind.
The first living creature like a lion.
The second like an ox.
The third with the face of a man.
And the fourth living creature like a flying eagle.
That's of course from the "Book of Revelations," specifically chapter four.
And, as you can see, the tympanum is just illustrating that sacred text.
As you may know, later church tradition assigned each of the four gospels to one of these animals in the scene.
And so the angel or the man up at the left got Matthew.
The lion got Mark.
The ox because the ox is a beast of burden, a servant creature, well that was a perfect fit for the gospel of Luke because their Christ is portrayed particularly as a servant reaching out to the poor more than in the other gospels.
And finally the eagle soars above the other animals just like the gospel of John soars them mystical heights above the synoptic gospels.
And, interestingly, the 24 elders that surround the mandorla, that's the almond shaped structure in which Christ resides, I don't know about you, but they look to me like colonial figures with the wigs.
Maybe they invoke Jonathan Edwards, Dickinson, Witherspoon, etcetera.
Now I had mentioned that the whole chapel can be summed up synecdochally or as a microcosm in this tympanum.
This tympanum explains the whole.
But why is that?
The answer is found in Christ's lap.
On his lap you can see there's a scroll and written on that scroll are the words in Greek "Who is worthy to open the scroll." Now the immediate answer seems to be whoever has bothered to learn Greek, but for another answer we've got to go to "Revelation" chapter five this time, moving on from four.
It reads, "And I saw on the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back sealed with seven seals.
And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice." And, by the way, look at the angels to the left and right of Christ with their mouths open and imagine them saying this.
Quote, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?" And no one in heaven or on Earth or under the Earth was able to open the scroll or look in to it.
And I wept much that no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look in to it.
And so the author of the "Book of Revelation" is asking who is worthy to break the seal.
Who is worthy to unlock the secrets of the scriptures.
Who is worthy to make sense of the mystery of the cosmos?
Who is worthy, in this case, to unlock the iconography of this particular building?
And the answer is the lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David.
The answer is Christ.
This is what I believe Professor Richard Stillwell meant when he said that the tympanum is the summation of the entire decorative scheme of the chapel because Christ, as we'll see, is the one who makes sense of the exterior stone carvings and the one who makes sense of the interior wood carvings and the stained glass.
Without him, this building is incoherent.
And with him it makes perfect sense within and without.
This leads us to a question that we might ask ourselves.
Doesn't this seem out of step with the current practice of Princeton University?
I mean Princeton is clearly a pluralist institution.
It doesn't endorse one particular perspective, but it permits a variety of perspectives to compete with one another.
And here this chapel which is so cosmetically and ceremonially central to campus is endorsing one particular perspective, namely the Christian one.
So there does seem to be a disjuncture.
And I imagine the way that Princeton handles this and the way that many universities in similar situations handle it is by saying, well, our religious foundations were Christian, but now we are a broader institution and our chapels, in Princeton this particular chapel, is a remnant of our past.
And, to an extent, that answer is true.
But what I'd like to suggest is that examining the historical context of the construction of this chapel shows that it in fact is one of the first expressions of pluralist Princeton.
And though the chapel certainly is specifically Christian in its approach, it is arguing for Christianity in a context that can no longer assume that the students themselves are Christian.
And so it attempts to persuade them with an argument of glass and stone.
One of the many arguments that students will receive in their time as an undergraduate at Princeton that they're free to accept, reject, or ignore.
But that will become clearer as we talk about the immediate historical context of the present chapel's construction.
While we're at the tympanum it's a chance to marvel at the great humility of Princeton University because although they could have placed the new Princeton University seal right up there in the heavenly sphere with Christ, no, they placed it just below the celestial plane.
There it is, the seal of Princeton University which it received in 1897.
The vet nov testamentum which is written on the open book as a carry over from the old seal of the college of New Jersey which said "Collegii ne cesariensis," the college of New [inaudible] that's what New Jersey means.
But in addition to the new seal was the new university motto that came with its status as a university, and that's "Dei sub numine viget" or viget, depending on your pronunciation.
It means under God's power she flourishes.
Also notice the empty spaces to the left and right of the tympanum which seem like sculptures should be there, but there are no sculptures.
And if you look at the top of those empty spaces you'll see croquets on which are placed tiny little faces.
A great story behind those.
In 1991 a 97 year old man named Clifford McKinnon [assumed spelling] came forth and said, "I was one of the sculptors who worked in the chapel back in the '20s and I carved my face in to a rather important part of the building." I like to think, though, that the story might have gone where Clifford would get in trouble and Ralph Adams Cram would come over and say, "What are you doing carving your face in to my chapel?" And Clifford would say, "Well, Ralph, don't worry.
I carved your face too." So if you look in the opposite croquet on the other side of the tympanum to the right you'll see Ralph Adams Cram recognizable by his glasses.
And it would have been a face recognizable to all of America probably because in 1926 Ralph Adams Cram was on the cover of "Time" magazine and '26 would have been at the height of Cram's career during the construction of this chapel itself.
Take a few steps back and look at the date stone on the buttress to the right.
You'll see the date 1925.
That's when the chapel began construction.
Inside there, by the way, is a time capsule that perhaps future generations shall uncover.
And the chapel, as we've already mentioned, was completed in 1928.
As you're stepping back you can see two angels carrying a sudarium.
That is the sweat cloth of Christ with a crown of thorns depicted upon it.
It's above the tympanum on the part of the stone that's jetting outwards.
We're going to move towards the narrative of Christ's life as we go around, but this is the only very important reference to the passion in the external stonework of the chapel.
And I also think it's important how the reference to the passion offsets the potential triumphalism of the tympanum.
That is there we see Christ in majesty triumphant over all, but we are reminded that we live in a world of suffering that he also engaged by that sudarium.
Let's move now to the left and wrap around the building and we'll get to the northwest tympanum.
There's another doorway there with a smaller tympanum.
And it is a scene that you may recognize.
There is the angel Gabriel announcing to a young maiden "Blessed art thou among women." And what the scroll says, in fact, are the words "Et verbum caro factum est," and the word became flesh.
So we've gone from Christ in majesty to the first moment of the incarnation, the beginnings of God's intervention through Christ which happened through this woman.
Also notice the exquisite carvings alongside this door of animals and plants.
And do a 180 and look behind you and you'll see an amazing modern sculpture by Jacque Lipchitz, a 20th century sculptor who was fascinated throughout his career with the theme of the harp.
And walking along it from the appropriate angles you can certainly see that that was the case.
I love how the curves of this sculpture contrast beautifully with the sharp angles of the chapel.
The Princeton campus is wonderful for being accentuated with these modern sculptures throughout, and we will soon see another one.
Now let's walk down towards what is Washington Road with Firestone library at your left and the university chapel on your right.
You'll see a curved handsome bench that you could sit on.
You can also go all the way down to the Hibben Garden.
And if you walk in there, there's a bench set aside away from view that you could sit on as well.
And that would be a good place to sit because we're going to talk for a little bit about John Grier Hibben whose role was so central in erecting this structure that we're standing in the shadow of.
John Grier Hibben was Princeton's last president who was also a theologian, but he presided over an increasingly secular domain.
Remember 1897 alcohol was served in the town of Princeton and the college of Dickinson, Edwards, and Witherspoon had yielded to the secularizing influences of the day, said one critic.
Furthermore Woodrow Wilson when he was president of Princeton went beyond McCosh and abolished denominational tests for faculty.
Clearly theology no longer was unifying the undergraduate curriculum and a daily Princetonian poll taken in 1927 even showed student agnostics to beat out student believers.
And one contemporary historian describes the situation this way.
Quote, "During the febrile skeptical 1920s when campuses generally were not very devout and H.L Mencken and his American mercury assailed the old pieties, Puritanism, and the bible belt, required chapel did not call forth the most worshipful behavior from Princeton's undergraduates." End quote.
Now this had been the tradition for 175 years.
Remember we spoke at the beginning of the 5 AM tradition of daily chapel.
And I had also referenced that it led to much prank and protest.
These included bouts of foot scraping, a calf once tied to the pulpit, perhaps commentary on the skills of the preacher that morning, the tarring of the seats of the old chapel, and the tradition culminated in Marquand Chapel in 1914 during Hibben's presidency when the entire class erupted with a corporate bout of bronchitis such that the service couldn't continue.
Now the gentle mannered Hibben took a unique approach to this dilemma.
He was probably well aware of Princeton's history.
Remember we talked about the nadir of the college when students bucked against the administration grain and it even got to the point where they had to bring in the police because the great cracker, the firework that went off in the doorway of Nassau Hall where we began this tour and it cracked the foundation.
Now lest he provoke that kind of reaction from students again, Hibben chose not to take the heavy handed approach.
Hibben abolished required daily chapel in 1915.
And so I'd like to suggest that when Marquand Chapel burned down in 1920, five years later, so also did the last architectural expression of required daily chapel.
It was a new era in Princeton.
And in Marquand's place Hibben sought to build a structure capable of compelling students to enter voluntarily, one that would seek to convince, not impose the truths of faith.
In short, he wanted to build a structure so beautiful that students would want to go to chapel even though they no longer had to.
As wrote in an appeal letter to raise funds to build the current chapel, quote, "The thoughts and feelings of youth are peculiarly sensitive to their surroundings, and a new meaning will be imparted to their interpretation of things unseen and eternal as they come by daily association to recognize the new Princeton chapel as the university's protest against the materialistic philosophy and drift of our age.
The symbol of the higher aspirations of man, our refuge for quiet thought and contemplation, a house of ancient mystery, the holy place of God." End quote.
Now please keep in mind that there would be required Sunday services at least you had to attend half of them over the year as an undergraduate, and those required services lasted for Sundays all the way, at least for freshmen, through 1964.
So required chapel wasn't abolished completely, but when in 1915 that daily chapel requirement went, the essence of compulsory faith, I'd like to argue, was removed from Princeton University.
And all the sources that I've been able to find from the 1920s confirm this.
Listen to the words of Ralph Adams Cram in the Princeton Alumni Weekly in 1928.
Quote, "If I were an undergraduate and were offered the dry husks of a winnowed grist of public worship that are handed out as chapel services in so many colleges, I would reject them as definitely as the student body has rejected them.
I am not concerned now to argue for anything resembling compulsory chapel.
The Princeton chapel must make its appeal to free will and compel acceptance by the strength of its dynamic power." End quote.
Or consider the writings of one Princeton senior who graduated the year of the chapel's completion.
The average Princeton undergraduate has been inclined to resent the institution of compulsory attendance at chapel services.
As a matter of principle more than as a matter of convenience.
Given the new chapel, he is wondering whether his coercive measure will be rescinded and whether the chapel services will not be made so beautiful in proportion to the new surroundings that his own aesthetic sense will urge him to attend.
And so it's quotations like these that lead me to believe that the chapel is in a pluralist [inaudible] seeking to convince students who are no longer required to attend which is why I think such a non obligatory building fits so well in to modern Princeton.
Now one at this point must quickly point out it's not that Hibben's plan exactly worked.
One student called the new chapel a white whale only fit for bowling.
One of my favorites is they called it the theodrome [assumed spelling].
Probably the wittiest remark was one student said, "Oh, gosh.
A $2 million protest against materialism." Because it was widely publicized that it costs $2 million to construct the chapel.
Now the last of these mockeries of the chapel requires a little bit of preface.
Another of Hibben's reforms involved taking the president out of the pulpit every Sunday and placing there instead the dean of the chapel.
And so the office of religious life and the dean of religious life have their origin in the reforms that accompanied this chapel in 1928.
And this first dean of the chapel was a man named Bobby Wicks and Christian Gauss was the dean of the college at the time.
And so one student threw together this limerick.
Here's to Reverend Bobby Wicks who came to us our souls to fix.
$2 million for his house.
To fill it up, he turns to Gauss.
Because Gauss is the one who would enforce the half of the year that you did have to go to Sunday chapel.
Well, let's now get up and continue our tour along the perimeter here.
We walk outside past the Hibben garden and you're going to see a statue looming over on the right.
That is Abraham and Isaac by the sculptor George Segal, another 20th century sculptor.
And there's a controversy behind this.
This was given to Kent State in commemoration of the shootings there and the students who had died in Vietnam war protests.
And when Kent State looked at the sculpture from a particular angle they were offended.
They thought it was actually an obscene gesture that was intended to insult and offend.
And so they refused it, but Princeton took it instead.
The scripture passage from Genesis can be found on the chapel wall nearby.
Let's now round the east apse and walk up under the Rothschild arch where we'll be able to discuss the collegiate Gothic.
Now walk through here in to this usually sunlit courtyard and you'll see an unusually unified architectural style.
There's been a hodgepodge, as we saw before when we started this tour, but now it's all the same.
And this goes back to an extreme make over that the college had after it received its status as university.
What happened was President Woodrow Wilson, of course before he was president of the states, when he was president of the college, he went with a bunch of trustees over to Oxford and Cambridge and came back and said, "That is what a university should look like." You see the assortment of styles at Princeton many supposed had led to a degree of visual confusion unbefitting this institution's new name.
And the unifying potential of the Gothic style was suggested to address the problem.
Now it had already been tried at schools like Bryn Mawr not too far from here.
So Wilson wasn't suggesting something totally new.
But Princeton took it very, very far and had a 50 year love affair, in fact, with the collegiate Gothic style.
And Wilson said this, quote, "We have added 1,000 years to the history of Princeton and as the imagination of classes yet to be graduated from Princeton is affected by the suggestions of that architecture, we shall find the past of this country married with the past of the world." Now that connection to the great heritage of English learning at Oxford and Cambridge is made quite literally in this courtyard by the Mather sundial which is poking up in the lawn.
It's an exact replica of a sundial like it at Corpus Christi College in Oxford.
On the top of the sundial you see a pelican pecking itself and feeding its starving young with its own blood.
And that's a medieval symbol of the Eucharist.
Feel free to sit down at the sundial.
It used to be that only seniors could sit at its base, but now anybody can.
But before you walk over there do check out the bull dog that is staring down at you from the drainage pipe.
Exactly how this Yale mascot got on the Princeton chapel remains a mystery, but it is after all on the gutter so we're not too concerned.
Well, maybe as you sit at the Mather sundial, and listen to this next portion as you look out on this Gothic quad, the question to ask yourself is if you were in charge of giving a college a Gothic make over in America of the early 20th century, to whom would you go?
Well, the answer then was clear.
You went to the high priest of Gothic, Ralph Adams Cram.
Cram has been compared to his more celebrated contemporary architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
They both were in search for architectural absolutes, but whereas Wright found his in the clean pure lines of modernism, Cram found his in medieval Europe.
A medieval Europe which served for Cram as an antidote to 20th century industrialization and global war.
But lest you think he was just living in the past, think again.
He was quite complex.
He loved Picasso.
He enjoyed conversation with Water Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus.
And, believe it or not, he hated Gothic revival.
Now what do I mean by that?
Well, if you would have said, "Oh, Ralph Cram, I love your Gothic revival stuff," he would say, "Well, I don't do Gothic revival.
That's archaeology, not architecture.
I take the Gothic and move it forward in to the present.
I develop that tradition.
I don't slavishly copy it." Cram would say, "Don't you see?
The Gothic was never exhausted as a style.
It was prematurely murdered by Henry the VIII in England and I'm simply picking up where the English Gothic left off in the 16th century." Cram was a fascinating individual.
He came from a New England Unitarian family.
And although he received an honorary doctorate from Princeton and was director of architecture at MIT, he never went to college.
But he did get a chance to go to Europe which was a rare privilege in the day.
He got to go to London.
He went and he saw the English Gothic there.
And then he got to go to Italy and it was first in Assisi where he was at the tomb of Saint Francis and all of a sudden he found himself on his knees saying something by way of prayer.
He couldn't explain it.
Then he went to midnight mass on Christmas eve in Rome and something happened.
He had a religious conversion.
He did not become a Catholic.
He became an Anglo Catholic which then was understood to be the shortest route to medieval Catholicism.
Roman Catholicism is seen as Irish, exotic, and foreign, but Anglo Catholicism then was this pure expression of the medieval ethos, a way more Roman than Rome.
But Cram was always very near to Roman Catholicism.
One of his books even has an imprimatur.
That means it has the official approval of the Vatican.
And as one exasperated Catholic journal put it, "God only knows why Cram never embraced the faith." And clearly his Roman affections are influencing his architecture.
What you see here is primarily English Gothic, but there's some French influence, Flemish influence, Spanish influence, all kinds of Gothic architecture, a collage of sorts of the European tradition.
Cram's big breakthrough, his firm's moment, was when they won the architectural competition for West Point.
And if you go there you'll see something very similar to Princeton.
And what he's constructing now in the phase we're describing is after his firm's establishment.
He was Princeton's first supervising architect for 20 years.
And that Rothschild arch that you just walked through was the reason for his resignation.
Though the details are elusive, what essentially happened was it wasn't made to his exact specifications.
If you look at the drawings he did for it it's supposed to be just one arch, but there are two.
And when this was done without his approval he left.
But at that point it's not like he would have been out of work.
If you happened to be visiting Princeton today from somewhere else in the United States chances are when you go home you can see something from Ralph Adams Cram as well.
His work is all over the country.
Washington, D.C. Chicago, Detroit.
Houston. All over his native New England up and around Boston and dozens more American towns.
Not to mention the school, as we've already mentioned, West Point, Princeton, there was Wellesley, Wheaton, Rice, Notre Dame, Phillips Exeter, all over the place.
I'll mention a few of his commissions nearby in case you have the chance to go.
One is just a short walk away, what is called the finest secular Gothic interior in all of the New World.
And this is the graduate college Procter Hall.
And so you just walk up past the seminary and ask people where the graduate college is and get in there and check it out.
It looks a lot like Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
The greatest piece of work that he accomplished in his lifetime is largely recognized to be Saint Thomas' Episcopal Church on 5th Avenue.
This is just a block away from Saint Patrick's Cathedral which everyone's heard of, but you've just got to make that extra block walk and you can see this extraordinary church which will resemble the university chapel in many respects.
And it's worth taking a trip there.
And if you make that trip, I ask you what excuse is there to not take the further excursion of north to Morningside Heights near Columbia University where you can find Cram's 10th symphony?
What would have been the largest Gothic cathedral in the world.
But, like so many European Gothic cathedrals, it was never completed.
And I'm referring to Saint John the Divine recently marred by fire, but it still stands.
Now Cram did not just build buildings.
He also wrote lots of books in which he was very fond of hyperbole.
And from those books I have culled for you Cram's philosophy of architecture which can be memorized in three simple points.
And this is a great place to sit at the Mather sundial while we recite these points because conveniently Whig and Clio Hall are out of view.
Point number one.
Classical architecture need not be used as the visible expression of Christian religion.
Point number two.
Classical architecture should not be used as the visible expression of Christian religion.
And point number three.
Classical architecture must not be used as the visible expression of Christian religion.
So there you have it.
That's Ralph Adams Cram.
To be taken of course with a grain of salt.
He had a great sense of humor, and he admitted that he spoke that way just to get people's attention.
I think as we leave off Cram his philosophy is beautifully encapsulated by a reviewer of one of his books that wrote, "For him, Gothic is not past, but eternal." Now speaking of the past, this isn't just Princeton's past.
What I'd like you to do is to look over to your left on the other side of the transcept that's poking out.
This is called the bright pulpit, and it is still used to commence the palm Sunday processions around the college chapel today.
This too is a replica of something from the English collegiate Gothic, specifically a famous exterior pulpit in Oxford at Magdalen College.
Now I mentioned Magdalen College because recently Magdalen made the decision to return to the Gothic style of their past.
And the architect they hired to do that was Demetri Porphyrios, a Greek architect who specializes like Cram in taking the themes of the past and creatively interpreting them for the present.
And lo and behold Demetri Porphyrios is the very architect who was hired to construct the most recent undergraduate dorm at Princeton, Whitman College, which again is in the neo Gothic style.
One imagines that Cram would be pleased because this connection with Oxford and Cambridge continues and this creative interpretation of the Gothic past still goes on today.
Well, we haven't gotten yet to that southwest doorway, the last of our tympanums, but that's going to be a great place to begin part three of the audio tour which will take us from that doorway in to the chapel to examine the stained glass and wood carving of what has been called the finest Gothic interior in America.
To review part two we started looking at that tympanum which served for us as a microcosm of the entire chapel inside and out, and then we went in to the historical context of the chapel's construction.
We saw that it was President John Grier Hibben's protest against materialism in an attempt to convince the students of Christianity with an argument of glass and stone.
And to woo them back to chapel even though, thanks to his liberalizing measures, they no longer had to attend every day.
And finally we discussed Princeton's collegiate Gothic make over and the one who made it happen, Ralph Adams Cram.
Thanks for listening and I hope you'll stay on for part three.
[ Drum Roll ]
Greetings, and welcome to the first half of the third session of the Princeton University Chapel Audio Tour.
My name is Matt Milliner.
I'm an art and archeology graduate student here.
And I'd like to again, quickly remind you to check out the Office of Religious Life website under History and Architecture where we have put up lots of information, images, bibliographical resources, articles concerning the chapel for you to pursue at your leisure.
There's also a PDF file to print there that has a layout of all the windows that will be particularly helpful for this part of the tour as would binoculars.
So, if you happen to have them.
In Session 1, you'll remember we focused on the predecessors of the University Chapel.
Session 2, we focused its immediate historical context.
And now, in Session 3 we're going to finally go inside.
The Princeton University Chapel has been called the "finest Gothic interior in the America" and the "finest assemblage of stained glass in all of the Western hemisphere." A quick disclaimer, the person who made those statements, a professor of art history here named Albert M. Friend, had a lot to do with putting these windows together.
So, he may be a biased observer.
But we'll see if you agree.
We're going to begin at the southwest doorway.
If you're facing the main west tympanum, that' means just wrap around the building to your right.
And that's where we ended up last time.
And the trajectory of the exterior carving was the Life of Christ, beginning with the Glorious Christ in the tympanum of the west façade.
And then going to the first moment of the incarnation, the annunciation on the southwest façade.
We wrapped around the building.
And now we've come to Christ in his full maturity at the moment of his baptism by John the Baptist.
The whole trinity is referenced in this tympanum.
The son is obvious.
The spirit is the dove above Christ.
And the father is referenced with the inscription, which says in Latin [speaking Latin].
"You are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." And so, Christ's life surrounds the perimeter of this structure.
And we are now going to literally enter into the life of Jesus Christ.
Now, as you walk in, I'd like you to turn around and look at the door that you just walked through.
Now, the chapel is full of lots of surprises.
And the first one is right here.
This window is dedicated to medicine.
And depicted there is al-Razi, a Persian physician.
And the inscription on his scroll reads: "The book of everything on medicine." This is a book that he wrote.
And underneath: "In the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate." And so, even though it is a Christian chapel, there's a reference to Islam as soon as you walk in.
I think that's very interesting.
Because, while Christianity and Islam differ about the nature of Jesus Christ, which is a very significant difference, nevertheless, according to Hibben, as we've seen, the chapel is a protest against materialism.
And in such a protest, Islam is not a rival to Christianity, but an ally.
And another ally in this protest is Judaism, a faith which will be testified to in countless windows that we're about to see.
On the other side of the doorway there's a gate and a glass wall that usually blocks it is a window dedicated to the Holy Family.
Don't feel bad if you can't see it.
It's not the best window.
But if you walk, turn around now, and you'll see an inscription above you to Westminster Choir College.
That is because they graduate here as does Princeton Theological Seminary.
As you keep walking past the stairway, you'll see on your left the Princeton Prayer carved in stone.
And keep walking along and you see this gorgeous woodwork above you in the ceiling.
And if you get to the other side, looking at the other doorway, above which is the Enunciation, you know from an earlier session.
To the right of that doorway is a window dedicated to music.
And there's John of Damascus with a Greek inscription.
And his scroll says: "Come through, all be praised.
May God be praised through everything." Which is a hint at what the theme of this narthex is.
And we'll get there in a second.
And to the left of that doorway is a window dedicated to painting from Angelico.
You can usually see that through the -- there's some coats and storage there.
But go ahead and take a look at that window.
Now, please, discretely move the rope that is blocking this stairway and go up that stairway on that side of the narthex near the window to music and painting.
And we're going to see the first half of an important story that will unfold the theme of the narthex.
Now, take advantage of the fact that you can see these windows up close.
Oh, please, by the way, don't go into the choir loft, or the balcony there.
You're not supposed to go through there.
But do hang out on the stairway.
Have a seat and examine these windows in detail.
Because they really are quite nice.
And you can see them closer than you can any of the windows in the nave.
Now, what is the chapel.
Remember, it is a protest against the materialist philosophy and drift of our age, according to President Hibben.
And materialism, no doubt, is a very compelling, attractive set of ideas.
And it needs to be battled against.
And this is what the chapel is doing.
And if you're going to tackle materialism, the first thing you have to deal with is the greatest challenge to religion and spirituality.
And that great challenge has always been the problem of evil.
If, supposedly, God is all powerful and all good, well, then why do evil things occur.
It's a serious threat.
And the chapel is going to address it right here, with the great response to the problem of evil from the Hebrew scripture.
And what's great about it is it doesn't all into the trap of providing some logical explanation for crimes and horrific things that occur.
No. No, no.
It tells a story about a man who had many things.
And there you see that man.
At the left lancet, at the bottom, he has seven sons.
He's doing quite well.
And furthermore, he's a righteous man.
And then one circle up, Satan appears and says, "Well, you know, the only reason he's righteous, and the only reason he praises you, Lord, is because he has been so blessed.
Remove the blessings and not praises but curses will follow." And God permits this.
And his oxen are taken away.
And those oxen are referenced between the two circles.
But nevertheless, above the top circle, Job still sacrifices to God.
And then, if you go to the next lancet and start at the bottom, things really start to go wrong.
And all his possessions are stolen.
His children, his family dies.
But nevertheless, he still praises God.
Go up one circle on the right lancet and there he is with the harp.
And then go all the way up to the top and you'll see Job with a sash on which those famous words are written: "The Lord hath given and the Lord hath taken away.
Blessed be the name of the Lord." This is the first half of the story.
Now let's walk down the stairs.
Go up the next stairway.
Remove that rope discretely.
And up we go.
And we're going to catch the second half.
Now Job has been afflicted.
First it was just his fortune.
Then it was his family.
And now it's his flesh.
And Satan made this request.
He said, "If you let me touch his skin, he will give up." And God permits it.
And there his wife is at the bottom of the left lancet advising her husband.
It's a controversially translated passage.
It could mean several things.
But the traditional translation is: "Curse God and die.
Give up. God's abandoned you." And here's the important part.
Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are his friends who gather around him in that bottom circle.
And they have all these logical explanations.
They've got their moral calculators out.
And they punch it in.
And they say, "Well, clearly, Job, you must have done something wrong here." But you see, he hasn't.
And notice how Job's face is turned away from his three friends.
And at this point the righteous Job challenges God.
And then, a younger man, amidst older men, decides to step in.
There he is, Elihu.
Notice him to the right of the three friends.
Little, small blue figure.
Well, up until now he'd been keeping silent amongst his elders.
But now he's going to speak up.
He says, "You're not right, Job.
God is greater than any mortal.
Why do you contend against him saying he will answer none of my words.
For God speaks in one way and in two, though people do not perceive it." And goes a marvelous Hebrew poem about the righteousness and justice, yet the mystery and majesty of God.
But it's just a preface.
Because in Job 38, God speaks.
And just above that bottom left circle, you see Job's hands raised in protesting question.
And this provokes not some logical solution, but the whirlwind depicted in the circle above.
"Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge.
Gird up your loins like a man and I will question you.
And you shall declare to me." So, goes God's speech to Job.
And if you skip to the bottom of the right lancet, you see a reference to when God says, "Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook, or press down its tongue with a cord.
Where were you when I created these creatures?" God is asking Job.
"I am beyond your understanding, don't you see?" And then we move up and Job offers a sacrifice.
And this is an important sacrifice because it's on behalf of his friends who so misunderstood the nature of God with their tidy solutions.
And there, up one more circle, are his friends who have been reconciled thanks to Job's intercession.
You see that all his fortunes also are restored twofold.
But that's not the point.
The point is up one more where you see Job with a sash.
It says, "In light of these great questions yet will I trust in him." And this is the chapel's first response, first protest of materialism.
The Book of Job, which presents it with mystery.
With Elihu's speech and with God's.
But not only would God inspire the Book of Job, the message of the chapel is that God would become a Job.
And would take on these afflictions himself.
And as we talked about before, Christ is going to be the theme that makes sense of the inside of the nave.
So, let's walk downstairs again, appreciate the narthex, and allow it to serve as that transitional space between the outside and the inside.
Get used to that low ceiling.
And as you walk in, be overwhelmed.
That's the idea.
Be humbled before the space.
Not exalted, into it.
But humbled beneath it.
This is what the Gothic is intended to do.
Now, if you turn around and look at the doorways that you just walked through, you'll see a lozenge above each door.
And in the center one, three interlaced circles represent the trinity.
And carved at the center of the trinity is a heavenly rose, which is described by Dante in Canto 33 of the Power of [inaudible].
And we'll see more of Dante as we go along.
And in front of the circles is the figure of Christ, the man of sorrows.
And in the door to the right is the lamb of God.
And then the door to the left is the dove.
Now, if you turn around again and look down towards the altar at the east, get a sense for the Gothic architecture.
If you look at the walls, there's the gallery is the space with the pointed arches.
Up one more level, that's the triforium.
And up one more level with the windows, and that's the clerestory.
You can remember clerestory, that's the top level, clear.
Also called clearstory, depending on your pronunciation.
And this is, of course, the great innovation of Gothic architecture.
The weight of the walls, which once in the Romanesque was on the walls, is projected in the Gothic onto the buttresses so that the walls can be liberated for windows.
And the light comes through.
This light mysticism of Abbot Suger and the Gothic.
This is what it's all about.
Now, as we're looking at all three levels, listen to a quote from [inaudible]: "Gothic is the physically complicated of any style, with its concentrated loads, its balanced thrusts, and its -- so to speak -- arboreal development from roots to trunk, branches, twigs, leaves, to flowers.
It's absolutely organic." And so, you can see that here.
You see -- take one of those engaged colonettes, and we're going to trace that arboreal, rational, organic structure.
So, the engaged colonettes are the cluster piers that are transfixed to the buttresses of the arcade.
Okay, so that's up against the wall.
And just follow it up.
It goes from the arcade into the clerestory.
And then it's cut, but it doesn't stop.
The colonettes then divide off, go their separate ways.
And the colonettes become ribbing.
And the ribbing is what makes the groin vaults above you.
And they intersect.
That's why they're called groin vaults.
But keep following.
The ribbing then becomes a colonette again.
And it goes all the way down through the clerestory, through the triforium, through the arcade, and back down to the floor.
It all has a rational structure.
There's no randomness.
It all comes beautifully together.
Although it looks so unsystemic, but it makes perfect sense.
It's like nature.
And so, now, if we follow this along each of the bays.
The bays are all this organizational structure, arcade, triforium, and clerestory, each one of those is a bay.
And then go down all the bays.
And then you get to where the massive nave, which by the way, is where we get our word "navy," you know.
I mean, it's from the same root.
Because it looks like an upside down ship, doesn't it.
This is the idea of the ship of faith cutting through the celestial sphere, taking the faithful onwards to the journey.
And where the nave meets with the transepts -- the transepts, remember, would horrify the Presbyterians -- but where the nave meets with the transepts, well, that's the crossing.
And that's where it all explodes.
And once you got used to each of the more tame bays, wow! Then go down to the crossing.
And we'll get there.
You don't have to walk there just yet.
But just look at those massive color with those cluster piers.
So many more things going on than just these bays.
And they explode into 16 different parts of the ribbing up there.
And, I mean, the webbing is cut into 16 different sections.
And look at the massive bosses up there in that crossing.
But here's the thing.
Look at the huge pillars.
They are much bigger than they need to be to support the structure.
That's because they were intended, these pillars in the crossing, to support a tower.
But the tower was never constructed.
And maybe due to foundational concerns.
But because of that, Princeton University Chapel is not the, technically, tallest college chapel in the world, or in the United States.
Because it doesn't have a tower, it is surpassed in technical height by Duke University Chapel, by the Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago, which also has a tower.
And by the Campanile of the Chapel of the Resurrection at Valparaiso University.
But, it's just the towers.
This is the largest nave of all the university chapels in the United States.
78 feet, 6 inches high at the crossing.
Intentionally probably deferring -- intentionally deferring -- to Kings College, Cambridge, which is 80 feet high in the nave.
Now finally, we've got to get on to the windows.
If you move to your right, after you walked into the nave, you haven't gone into the pews yet.
You're behind the pews.
Move to your right and you'll see a plaque commemorating Martin Luther King, Jr., who spoke here, twice, I believe.
And if you sit at the bench under that plaque, or maybe a little bit down towards the east, wherever you sit, I'd like you to get a good look at the windows of the north wall.
Now, in the Middle Ages, to own a book was like owning a Porsche today.
You had to be pretty wealthy.
And not many people had one.
And this goes back to the church tradition of art as the Biblia Pauperum, the book of the poor.
And this whole church, the whole medieval system, was meant to, in a way, operate like an illuminated manuscript for everybody.
And I mention this because if you're looking at the north wall, I'd like you to read it as if it was the page of a book.
And if it was the page of a book, you would know exactly what to do.
You'd start at the upper left.
Your eyes would follow over until they got to the end.
And then they'd skip back to the left.
And they'd follow over until they got to the end.
So, you already know how to read these walls.
Now granted, there are reading pattern irregularities within the windows themselves.
But the overall scheme on the north and south walls is like a book.
Now, this book has two pages.
And the first page tells the story of the life of Jesus Christ.
And the second page tells the story of the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Now, at the crossing are the two great north and south windows.
And the great north window, we'll see, culminates the lesson of the life of Jesus Christ.
The great south window culminates the lesson or the teachings of Jesus Christ.
It's very logical.
Now, the battle against injustice to the point of shedding of blood, that is the great north window, and the battle against error -- so that you would have to teach the truth again and again -- and that is the great south window, are in a way temporal concerns.
One won't always have to endure unto the end.
And one won't always have to struggle against error.
One does have to do so on the temporal plane.
But the great east window and the great west window are eternal.
Because the great theme of the east window, as we'll see, is love.
And love is of both temporal and eternal concern.
And in the same way the theme of the great west window, which is the presence of Christ, the second coming of Christ, in fact, both the first and second coming juxtaposed against one another.
The presence of God is also eternal.
It's with us now, but it will be with us then.
And so, that's the contrast between the eternal nave and the temporal transept.
It's very interesting.
Well, let's start with the first page of the book, which you'll remember is the life of Jesus Christ.
So, our eyes start in the upper lefthand side where -- look at that window.
You can see what it's about.
You see a snake wrapped around a tree and two people wondering what's going on.
Well, of course, this is the fall.
Now, this is where the binoculars come in handy.
Please feel free to go back to these windows and explore them in detail.
They're really beautiful.
But we have to move kind of quickly.
Now, the genesis window is also another response to the problem of evil.
God is all powerful.
God is al good.
Why do evil things happen.
Because he gave his creature free will.
And this is what they did with it.
And you see around Adam and Eve are circles representing the different moments of creation.
And interestingly, those will come back when we deal with science and religion at the end of this tour.
So, keep those in mind.
Now, in a fallen world, not a good versus bad Manicheanism.
You know, it's good gone bad.
Now, this is this understanding that the chapel is presenting us.
But even though bad has occurred in a good world, there are still those who are righteous, nevertheless.
Now, if we skip one window over, we see Able, Noah, Abraham, Melchizedek, and Job.
You know, right there in the middle, another of the chapel's surprises.
You see Abraham's sash.
Zero in on that sash and what do you see.
The three great monotheisms: Islam, the crescent; Judaism, the Star of David; and the cross, Christianity.
Now, this was well before that insight was so fashionable as it is today.
It'll make the cover of Time magazine.
But the chapel did it way before it was cool.
So, those are the figures that, even though in a fallen world, they are still righteous.
Now, moving along are two -- with the next window over -- remember, moving to the right like a page of the text -- are two indispensable lights in this dark world that we live in: God's law and wisdom.
Jacob, Aaron, Moses, Samuel, and Solomon are the figures depicted there.
Moving one more over, you have a window dedicated to the Lord of Hosts: Joshua, Gideon, David, Samson, and Saul.
This idea in the Hebrew scriptures, this narrative of actual battle.
That God makes war upon the evil of the world.
He does not just look the other way.
Now, lest this theme of war cause anxiety, I just want to point out there's some incredible statements about peace.
Remember, this is just after World War I that this chapel was constructed.
And that's going to be a serious theme that we're going to encounter.
So, fear not.
And remember that wonderful figural interpretation of these passages in the Old Testament of war.
And what I love -- I think it was one of the popes, and he said: "When you see the seven tribes of the Canaanites that are warred against in the Old Testament, I want you to think of the seven deadly sins that war against your soul that you need to conquer." I love that figural interpretation.
Now, nevertheless, moving on, God's prophets of judgment are the next ones over.
Now, this is serious.
Some people think religion is just support of the status quo.
It certainly can be.
But in this case, we have Nathan, Elijah, Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Jonah.
People who spoke words of truth to those in power.
People who spoke words of justice to the unjust.
Very important aspect there.
And then moving on, God's prophets of the Messiah: Josiah, Jeremiah, Isiah, Daniel, and John the Baptist.
And they each hold in their hands their prophesies.
This is where the binoculars are so essential, because it's such a gorgeous window.
Now incidentally, if you're wondering why these windows look so beautiful, well, because the largest stained glass restoration project completed in the United States to date is what you are looking at.
And it was done at the cost of $10 million.
And if you want to get a sense of that, walk over to the -- as I mentioned before -- the graduate college, Proctor Hall, and you'll see the windows where they're dirtier.
And you just can't appreciate them as much.
So, it's such a gift to be able to have had these restored and to be able to do this tour like this.
But, you know how to read a book.
Where did we get to.
We got to the prophets and the Messiah.
And your eyes are at the edge of the text.
Well, they can skip all the way back to the left again.
And we'll start, walk all the way over there.
And we'll start with the beginning of the life of Christ.
Remember, he was present all through the Old Testament according to this narrative, what the Christians call the Old Testament.
But now we're going to talk about the fulfillment, the life of Jesus Christ according to Christian doctrine.
And there at that window on the left, all the way back at the left, you have the enunciation and the nativity.
And you can see the camels and the Magi and Mary.
It's very easy to pick them out.
Moving one window over we have the temptation, the cleansing of the temple, the wedding at Canaan, the preaching from the boat.
Remember, this is the life of Christ.
And we have his action, his earthly ministry.
The things that he did, just like the Old Testament narrative where things that happen.
Now, this is stuff that happens at the hands of God and Christ.
And each window is a sermon in and of itself.
In fact, ten sermons, maybe more.
So, I could point out so much, but I'll only just pick two instances.
And the first is in this window.
If you look up at the righthand, the lancet, you see at the upper righthand side, you'll see Christ being tempted by the green figure.
This is Satan.
The three temptations are there.
This is the one furthest on the right.
And Satan is saying, "Christ, turn these stones into bread.
If you're so hungry, use your powers for this reason and to gratify yourself." And Christ's finger is pointing.
And if you follow his finger, an interesting thing, it goes all the way to the bottom left.
And what is he pointing to.
Well, he's turning the water into wine.
I won't turn stones into bread if Satan tells me to.
But, as one of my friends pointed out, well, but I will turn water into wine if my mother tells me to.
And so, all these different relationships in these windows.
So many different events from his ministry here.
Moving one window over, you have the three healings of the lame, the blind, and the leper.
And the feeding of the multitude.
One more window over.
And here's the second thing I'll point out is that in the upper lefthand part of this window, you have Peter sinking.
And Christ's finger is in a direct 90-degree angle as it points into his eyes.
And he says, "Peter, look at me.
Don't look at your circumstances." You also have in this window the transfiguration, the stilling of the storm and the entry into Jerusalem.
Because we've gotten to the end of Christ's public ministry.
And he's moving into his passion.
But where do we go.
Well, our eyes skip all the way across the crossing, across the transept, to that little apse that is part of the what is called the Marquand Transept.
And if you walk over there, or better yet, if you go there at noon when the Catholic chaplaincy has its noonday mass on weekdays during the school year here, the action of the priest lifting up the host is perfectly mirrored by the ascending narrative of those windows moving upwards, which depict the passion.
So, it's just -- so that's the wonderful way that the passion is illustrated in the chapel.
That blends beautifully with the religious services that occur here on a daily basis.
Now, speaking of the Catholic ministry here, we have to talk about the strange room that we just passed over to look at those passion windows.
And this is the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
Now, it wasn't always the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
It used to be, in fact, a broom closet.
But Father Tom Alelli, the priest here, decided to turn it into a place where the sacrament will be perpetually reserved so that students can pray there.
And they often do, as well as professors.
So, feel free to acknowledge the presence of the Lord there if that is your belief.
And with respect, for whoever may be praying there at the time, please do inspect the entrances to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.
Now the first of the carvings are along the jambs of the door closest to the entry into Jerusalem window that we recently talked about.
And they depict the seven vices paired with the seven virtues.
They're written in Latin, but there's an animal appended to each one to give you a clue as to what they are.
And above all these carvings, by the way, are three symbols for the chief religious centers for western Christendom: Jerusalem -- that's the cross with four crosslets; and Rome, the keys of Saint Peter; and Canterbury is the other one.
Now, moving on to the other doorway.
Of the jambs of that door are carvings representing the seven liberal arts depicted with the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
And each figure carries an appropriate symbol identifying each one.
Above this doorway are the three seals of oldest European universities: Oxford at top, Paris at the left, and Salamanca on the right.
And if you look above those universities, you'll see the shield of George Washington.
And then wrap around the corner of the transept on the wall there and you see three more shields.
The first is the shield of the Channel Islands, which I'm sure you knew offhand.
That's because it was the original home of the Marquand family was the Channel Islands.
And this is the Marquand transept.
One shield over and that's the shield of Nassau, which was a prominent European dynasty that we've Nassau Hall is named after.
The next shield over is the shield of George II who granted that royal charter in 1746, not George III who got his head lopped off by Alexander Hamilton in Nassau Hall.
While we're talking about this, just let your eyes jump over to the other side, the Brahmin transept and you'll see three more shields.
These are Queens College Belfast, Princeton University, and the University of Edenborough, that great tradition of English learning carried on at Princeton as we talked about before.
But while we're at the Marquand transept, go ahead and look at those passion windows more closely if you'd like.
And notice that amazing sculpture of President James McCosh.
The original had been burned in the Marquand fire.
But the cast survived.
So, they made a replica for the Marquand transept.
Now, while we're in the Marquand transept, go ahead and look above George Washington's shields above the universities, and you'll see the window dedicated to friendship.
David and Johnathan are depicted there.
They're way up high.
And then, if you look on the other side, way up above the passion windows, you see a window dedicated to Psalms 147, 148, and 150.
There will, in fact, be several of these transitional psalm windows that'll lead us into the climax of the chapel, which is the Milbank Choir.
But we'll get to that in the second part of Session 3.
We've already covered a lot in this first half.
And we'll begin the second half by looking at the great north window of martyrdom that culminates that first page of the chapel covering the life of Jesus Christ.
Welcome to the last session of the Princeton University Chapel Audio Tour.
I won't bother to introduce myself because hopefully you know me by now because you've taken the previous three sessions, but if you haven't, I must admit you made a good move skipping to this one, if you're only going to take one, because this is definitely going to be the best one by far.
May I remind you that you may find that PDF file that you can print out from the Office of Religious Life website under History and Architecture and Tours, very helpful as you have a chart of the windows that you're looking in, and binoculars won't hurt either.
Well, welcome back again and here we are at the crossing where the transept intersects with a nave.
Let's take a look to our, if you're facing east at the altar, to our left, and we're going to check out the culmination of the Great North Window of Martyrdom.
Now, each of these great windows has a theme verse.
This one is clearly legible, and beneath it, "He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." The culmination of the action side, the North side, the Life side of the chapel with martyrdom.
Now, of course the great martyr of the Christian faith is Christ, and so there Christ is.
You can see Him in the center, up a little bit.
And below him is the Crown of Thorns.
And he's flanked by the Archangel Gabriel and Raphael.
Gabriel's on the left.
Raphael on the right.
And above Him is Abraham, all the way up at the oculus, with a hammock, it looks like, on his breast.
And that's Abraham's bosom.
A scriptural metaphor for heavenly rest.
So, all of the martyrs here are gravitating upwards towards Abraham's bosom.
Now, to examine these figures, look at the left lancet at the bottom, and there's a figure who's actually contemporary, well at least 20th Century, which neatly weaves in with these ancient martyrs, which we're about to discuss.
And this contemporary figure is Cardinal Mercier.
This was the Archbishop of Louvain, a Professor of Philosophy, and when Hitler came to take over Belgium, he was a great resistor.
And he was a martyr.
So, Cardinal Mercier is shown there.
Let's look right about Cardinal Mercier on the left, that far left lancet, and you see Saint Sebastian who became target practice.
That was how his martyrdom occurred.
And the story of his martyrdom is depicted beneath him, and to Saint Sebastian's right is Saint Stephen, the first martyr who was stoned in the Book of Acts, Chapter 8.
And there's his stoning, depicted beneath him.
I won't point out everything, but let's just skip all the way over to the right now, and you see at the bottom right, Thomas Becket.
And to the left of Becket, is Joan of Arc.
And above Becket is Saint Christopher, bearing the Christ child.
And to the left of Saint Christopher is Saint Lawrence, who has a very interesting story attached to him.
The story is that Saint Lawrence was tortured to death and in the Roman era when Christianity was illegal.
And he was roasted alive.
But he had such composure while he was being roasted alive, that he looked up at his executioner and he said, "I'm done on this side.
You can flip me now." And granted, you know, we dismiss these stories.
These are [inaudible], no wait a second.
This is communicating a truth about endurance through life's worst circumstances.
These stories have punch behind them, so he's carrying his gridiron and that's how we recognize Saint Lawrence.
So, this is the North Great Window.
And we're going to finish off now with the first page, the life of Jesus Christ.
And let's look around at the -- the wood that is surrounding us.
First of all, that amazing pulpit.
Okay, this if from Northern France.
Dates back to the mid-16th Century, and you can see little inlays of marble on the part that's going up to where the preacher would stand.
You can see the signs of the zodiac going up the stairway.
It's just gorgeous.
Now remember, the signs of the zodiac, and we'll see them again during this tour, they don't just -- this isn't you know, get your horoscope told by your church.
No, this is symbolic of the entire cosmos because all of the cosmos is contained within Christ, according to the chapel, because he is all in all.
Now, to the lectern which looks like the lectern that John Witherspoon was preaching from in the green statue outside, that's to the right, with the eagle on it.
Well, this was given by John Grier Hibben, and it was purchased just before it became illegal to buy furniture of this quality from France.
And it was -- so, we got lucky with this one.
Now, speaking of wood, look out at the pews.
Now, I mentioned before that there is a great statement about peace in this chapel, and here's -- here's what that statement is.
Now Isaiah once prophesied, and he's not far from us.
Remember, he's at the top of the clerestory near us.
And he prophesied that swords would be bent into plowshares.
Instruments of war would be used for more peaceful purposes.
And folks, the wood of the pews of the whole, just field of pews going back towards the west, they were intended to be Civil War gun carriages, but they were used for worship purposes instead.
Such an amazing story.
Now, as you discreetly remove the rope to go into the Milbank Choir, there's an amazing story to this wood as well.
All of the wood in the Milbank Choir, these beautifully carved benches and the altar and the wood all along the walls, well this goes back to Sherwood Forest, the Sherwood Forest, and some of it may in fact date back to the time of Robin Hood.
So, too bad for Sherwood Forest, but good for the chapel.
It's such beautiful wood.
It doesn't even need a veneer.
This is just its natural sheen.
And it took over 100 wood carvers, one year to complete the carvings that you're looking at right now.
Now, there's a rhythm as with everything else in the chapel to the carvings, and if you look to your right, behind the lectern, you'll see these figures: Orpheus, Cecilia, and Ambrose.
And if you look to your left, if you're still facing east behind the pulpit, you see Ptolemy, Pythagoras, and Gregory.
Now, why are these figures there carved along these benches.
Well, because this is where the choir would sit, and those are all figures associated with music.
And moving more towards the altar, you'll see a new set of figures on both sides.
Behind the pulpit, you'll see Thomas Aquinas, Charlemagne, and Bede.
And on the side of the lectern, you'll see Aristotle, King Alfred, and William of Wykeham.
Now quickly, William of Wykeham was the Bishop of Winchester.
He was the great builder and founder of New College Oxford, one of Cram's [assumed spelling] great inspirations.
And so, William of Wykeham again goes back to another, yet another, reference to Oxford and Cambridge.
So, why are these figures there.
Well, this is where the professors traditionally would sit.
And so, you have great scholars and figures of learning and leaders, etcetera.
And so, everything has a purpose here.
Now, very discreetly again, let's walk up to the altar and see these wonderful figures there.
Now, listen to what the Princeton Alumni Weekly wrote when they were raising funds for this chapel.
Quote, "With Christianity split asunder into so many doctrinal and denominational fragments, we need some massive monument to its holistic heritage, in hand-cut stone, and elaborately crafted stained glass, creating a panorama of the unfolding Christian narrative," end quote.
And this betrays the ecumenical of the Milbank Choir.
I think this is the greatest ecumenical chapel in the country, maybe the world.
I don't know of any -- I mean, there's one in Chartres, I've seen, but it's just a side chapel and ecumenical.
But this is truly an ecumenical chapel.
Now folks, here's why.
The two -- the four figures to the -- to your left, if you're facing east, are, up at the top, you see the Catholics: Saint Peter, Saint Columba, he was a Celtic missionary, and below them, Saint Gregory, and Saint Augustine of Canterbury who was Gregory the Great's missionary to England.
Now, these are the Catholic figures.
To the right, now you see, up at the top on the left, John Wycliffe and John Calvin.
Wycliffe was the man who was martyred for translating the Bible into English.
And of course, John Calvin, the great 16th Century reformer.
Below them, John Knox, that great Presbyterian Scott.
And to his right, Jonathan Edwards, whom we talked about so much in the first session.
Catholic and Protestant, they are coming together at this altar.
And above, look at those angels above you, and how their wings poke up above their heads.
It's one of the most gorgeous aspects of woodcarving in the chapel.
So much -- oh, it's just -- it all comes together.
And by the way, the angels along the sign, behind the pews that are to the left and the right of the Milbank Choir flanking the windows and the walls, well they also have symbols on them.
Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the animals that you'll recognize from the second session, as well as symbols for baptism, the Passion, etcetera.
So, there's just carving everywhere, and it's so wonderfully done.
Now, we're going to take the ecumenical theme to the next level.
And what I'd like you to do is to please have a seat in the benches to your right, if you're facing east, and look at those two massive windows dead ahead of you.
Now, these are the four great epics of the Christian faith.
This is -- testifies to this great books idea that Albert M. Friend had when he put this choir together.
He said, "I want to have the four great epics of Christianity." And the two to the left are Catholic, and the two to your right, well, to your back if you're sitting down, are the Protestant epics.
Now, I'd love to see -- now, see if you can guess what they are, but let's go look at the one to the left first, if you're facing that north wall.
And a couple of clues.
Look at the bottom, right-hand part, and you'll see -- well, the winning of a sword named Excalibur.
Well, that probably gave it away already.
If you look above, you see the four ladies take Arthur to Avalon.
You see the lady of the lake.
See if you can find the sword in the stone.
This is Le Morte d'Arthur by Malory, The Death of Arthur Legend.
And you don't have to read [inaudible].
You just have to have binoculars, and you come here, and you can read all these great books just by sitting where you're sitting right now.
Every detail is parsed out in this wonderful window.
If you go up one tier, you'll see all of the chivalrous virtues that need to be acquired in the knight on his way to the vision of Christ, which is that oculus way at the top.
This is all the quest for the Holy Grail.
This is the death of Arthur.
Now, to your right, as you may imagine, is the most important Catholic literary epic.
All the way at the bottom, you see the poet Virgil who is guiding somebody along.
And I hope you realize, yes, this is Dante's Inferno.
Inferno at the bottom tier.
Purgatorio in the second tier.
And Paradiso in the top tier.
Okay. And the wonderful thing about it, I mentioned before, there's an irregularity in the window sometimes, and there's an intentional irregularity in the Hell tier, because all -- there's no order.
It's all chaotic.
You can see Lucifer, the three-headed Lucifer hung -- suspended upside down in hell and freezing hell, not burning, but freezing hell in the bottom, left-hand side in Circle 9 there.
And then you go up and you see a mirror of the blessed sacrament chapel [inaudible] where each of the vices have to get replaced with virtues in purgatory.
And so, you have the Angel of Zeal, the Angel of Justice, the Angel of Abstinence, the Angel of Purity, etcetera, purging out the different vices that people need to get rid of if they're going to make it up to the top tier to the celestial realm, where sun, mars, Jupiter, Saturn, etcetera, function as this metaphor of the heavenly realm itself.
It is -- and then the mystic roses all the way at the top.
And by the way, Dante's high school crush who gave him the inspiration for his writing, Beatrice is located.
You can barely see her.
You definitely would need binoculars for this, just below the mystic rose at the oculus way, way, way at the top.
Isn't it wonderful how he saw that early affection that he had for Beatrice.
It could be purified and brought into his quest for God.
So much to talk about in that wonderful window.
Now, let's -- feel free to linger.
By the way, all the quotes from the original Italian, and so, please linger as long as you like, but let's get up and move to the other side, and get a look at the other two epics.
Now, we've talked about the two great Catholic epics.
Now, we're going to talk about the two great Protestant epics.
Let's do the one on the right first.
And there you have a person named Christian who is on his way to the celestial city.
He has to leave his homeland behind, and he has to get rid of a large burden first.
And on his way up, he has to navigate between two allegorized vices.
Worldly wise man at the bottom tier, at the top of it, on the left, you'll see worldly wise man, and then on the other side, the right of that bottom tier, you'll see ignorant, obstinate, and pliable.
And ideally, Christian has to make his way through these two figures.
He can't become a snob, but he can't become ignorant, either.
Just like you would expect is what the Princeton students should do as they try to develop virtue and knowledge, without yielding to either of those extremes.
Well, this is all of course, Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress.
Bunyan was that Baptist preacher in England who was imprisoned for preaching without a license, and he had this dream, and it became this famous Protestant epic of Christian faith.
By the way, just above the middle tier there, at the bottom, left-hand side, you'll see Christian and Faithful, one of his companions at this point, enter Vanity Fair.
Now, this is -- we know it as a magazine, but it actually has its origin as the personification of vanity that can distract Christian from going where he needs to go.
He can get caught up at Vanity Fair and do all -- but he needs to be on his way to the celestial city.
He meets Flatterer and Atheist up there in that middle tier, one from the left.
All these different personifications.
Incidentally, Bunyan wrote a sequel to Pilgrim's Progress in which the main character was Christiana.
Now, Christian's wife.
Not a lot of people know about that, but it's something worth checking out.
We could go on forever, but we've got to move on to the left window.
And there you see, again the original translation.
Well, not translation.
The original language.
Someone saying to himself that I might justify the ways of God to man.
Again, that theme of the Odyssey.
Defending God against the problem of evil.
Well, here's somebody who wrote a whole poem to try to defend God against the problem of evil.
Why did evil things occur.
Well, let me explain to you the Christian perspective on the world.
And then next to him, at the bottom tier, well, you see Satan saying to himself, "Well, it's better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven." And this is of course Milton's Paradise Lost.
And because of Milton's Presbyterian phase, it gets placed under the Protestant epics.
The rebellion that Satan sparks in hell is transferred in the middle tier to Adam and Eve, and it goes on to the earth as well.
This rebellion continues, but then it is reversed when the One who is rebelled against takes the punishment of the rebels.
And that's the Passion there [inaudible] at the upper tier.
So, Protestant and Catholic are coming together in the Milbank Choir.
Now, let's take a look at, rise up and let's get a look at that great window, the climax of the entire chapel.
First some quick context.
In 1928, when the Milbank Choir was dedicated, the first part of the chapel that was dedicated, the rest of the windows had yet to be put in, and it wasn't complete, but this part was complete.
These remarks were made at the dedication service.
Quote, "While so imperfectly has it been either apprehended or heeded by the world at large these 20 centuries, the commandment seems still to express the brightest and fairest hope for pure religion and for the refinement and permanence of our civilization," end quote.
And what is the commandment that's being referred to in those remarks.
Well, it's the commandment that Christ gives in the great east window, dedicated to love.
"This commandment I give unto you that you love one another, as I have loved you." That is written in the glass, not the stone, at the bottom of the window.
And then above, there's another theme verse, "Greater love hath no man than this, than He laid down His life for His friend." That's above, in the middle of the window, in the center.
So, there's two theme verses to this one.
And this again, after the world has torn itself apart in Europe, and the fear of war, there's a place to come back to, with refuge.
And there in the middle, you see the eucharistic table.
And the disciples gather around it.
Christ who exemplified this kind of love, giving Himself for His disciples and for the world.
And below the eucharistic table, He's washing the feet of Peter, prideful Peter.
Now, the great east window of love is an ordered collage of different scenes from the gospels.
And of course, we can't talk about all of them, but I will point out the two vertical right-hand lancets, in which the six works of mercy, from Matthew 25, where Christ says, "I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat.
I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink," are paired with those who actually did in fact do those things, such as Matthew is paired next to "I was hungry," because he invited Christ in with the tax collectors and sinners for a meal.
And next to "I was thirsty" is paired the Samaritan woman at the well who gave Christ water to drink and He in turn, gave her the living water.
And these pairings go on and on, implicitly challenging the viewer, not just confirming their beliefs with the pan in the back, but challenging them whether or not their life corresponds with these works of mercy.
So many things to point out as we take a few more steps back.
You can see the crucifixion all the way up at the top, and this strikingly egalitarian statement, because on the same level to Christ's right, are the women to whom Christ revealed his resurrected body first, and to His left are the disciples who saw the resurrected body later.
So, at the most prominent part in the entire chapel, men and women are equal.
And I think at least that's something worth pointing out.
Well, now let's exit the amazing Milbank ecumenical choir, and go down please reconnect that rope as you exit.
And as you leave, notice the amazing organ, 18,000 pipes in this wonderful instrument.
And if you look, carved on both sides of the organ, are the eight notes personified there.
Just a wonderful -- another accent to the Milbank Choir.
Now, I had mentioned before that there were some windows that serve as a transition between the nave and the Milbank choir.
You can see some of those windows above the organ, and if you wrap around to the east side of the Bramand [phonetic] transept opposite Marquand's transept, you'll see another psalm window.
And on the west side of the Bramand transept, you see a window dedicated to Christ's disciples, old and new.
Luther, John Knox, Wesley, George Whitfield, that great revivalist, recalling back to revivalist days of the College of New Jersey, and by the way, he did get an honorary master's degree from the College of New Jersey, George Whitfield did.
And there he is, preaching on the steps of Nassau Hall, way up there at that window.
But here we are in the Bramand transept, and let's point out the incredible south window of teaching.
We're going to start with the culmination of the theme of the south wall which we'll recall of course is teaching.
As with the north window of martyrdom, the theme verse is inscribed in stone beneath the window, and this one is, "You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." And as again with the north window of martyrdom, Christ is the prominent teacher of the faith, as he was the prominent martyr of the faith.
And below Christ in that very central position is Saint Augustine, and -- because he's the great western teacher of Christianity.
And he occupies that central place because of it.
Now, to the left and right of Christ is Paul on the left, and John on the right.
And then, below Paul is Pontius Pilate saying, cynically, "What is truth?" to Christ at the Passion.
And then to -- below John, is Doubting Thomas, who gets his doubts reconciled by placing his finger into the side wound, instead of cynically giving up the search.
So, there's that interesting connection.
How does one handle one's doubt.
Does one allow it to cripple you and just give up, or does one seek to have it reconciled in faith.
Interesting connections to be made there.
And of course, many more.
We can only point out a few.
At the bottom, right-hand side, at the bottom right lancet, you see John Witherspoon.
He's named amongst the greats.
Above him, is Saint Jerome, and Saint Jerome translating.
He of course wrote the Vulgate, so that's beneath Saint Jerome.
To the left, to John Witherspoon's, if you're facing John Witherspoon, to his left is Erasmus.
To the left of Erasmus, Francis of Assisi.
Then you have the story of Augustine's conversion, Tolle Lege, take and read, below Saint Augustine.
To the left of Tolle Lege is Benedict of Nursia.
And all the way over at the top, left lancet, you see Clement of Alexandria, that great philosopher who became a Christian but did not lose his fluency in philosophical traditions of his time.
Well, that's the great south window.
And now, we're going to move into the clerestory of the south wall.
But before we do that, do notice that the flag that is in the Bramand transept was on the USS Princeton that saw lots of action in World War II.
It was in fact sunk by the Japanese, but they preserved the flag.
And also speaking of World War II, the Saint Michael statue that is poking out, well this was made from the plaster cast of a statue that was destroyed at Coventry Cathedral in London during the World War II bombings there.
So, there's a memorial function that the Bramand transept performs as well.
And by the way, if you were to go outside through the OG, that is the Spanish form of the arch going out from the Bramand transept, you would see a window, a beautiful window that has all of these different plants that are symbolic of something in the Middle Ages, such as the strawberry of righteousness, or the ivy of immortality.
You can see those beautiful details there, going outside.
But also, if you poke your -- if you were able to poke your head through the stairway going down, you would see an Adlai Stevenson window.
He was a democratic statesman, lost to Eisenhower a couple times.
Very important, however, and he was a Princeton alum.
But let's now leave the Bramand transept and go into the south clerestory where again, we're going to read it like a book.
And so, we start at the upper left, and we see a window dedicated to philosophy.
Now, this is going to be following the teachings of Christ, but the way the chapel understands it is that there's nothing outside of Christ.
All the disciplines find a home within Him, because He is all in all.
Very bold statement for the chapel to make.
Up at the top, you even have at the rose window there, the [inaudible] oculus, Zeus.
And so, even pagan deities are seen, well you can maybe find a place in here, because we're confident enough in our claims that we'll see any truth that you do have is welcome inside.
So, there's Zeus and below you see Pythagoras, Demosthenes, Plato, Aristotle, Francis Bacon.
And below them, Spinoza, David Hume, again from John Witherspoon's curriculum, the great skeptic finds a place in the chapel.
They're not afraid of it.
Bishop Berkeley, Descartes, and Kant.
Alright, moving one window over, you have the window dedicated to theology.
You have Saint Paul, Athanasius, Thomas Aquinas, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards.
And I love how Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin have to sit right next to one another, and because again, the ecumenical theme is finding expression here as well.
Below them are the five central teachings of the Reformation: justification by faith, a priesthood of all believers, authority of the Bible, and the right of private judgement, as well as the sacredness of all vocations.
And so, even though they'll put Aquinas in there, they're still going to get their Protestant point in.
If you move one window over, you see a window dedicated to chivalry.
And there's Roland from the Song of Roland, Richard the Lionhearted, Godfrey of Bouillon, Bertrand de Born, and Bertrand du Guesclin.
So, these are some great figures from the Crusading Era.
Moving one window over, you have the window dedicated to poetry.
And this window looks very modern.
And you'll see Virgil, Dante, Shakespeare, John Milton, Emily Dickinson.
And below them, Parnassus, Chaucer, John Dunn, William Blake, and T.S. Elliott.
And I think T.S. Elliott ascending the staircase there.
I think that's the only necktie in the entire chapel.
If you get binoculars, maybe even without them, you can see his little necktie.
Then is the window dedicated to law.
Now, as you may know, Princeton does not have a law school, but we do have a law window, which maybe is good enough.
You see Augustus, Justinian, and by the way, that depiction of Justinian there is an exact copy of Justinian's famous mosaic in Ravenna in Italy.
So, it's very interesting.
To the right of Emperor Justinian is Saint Louis Hugo Grotius, a Protestant natural law philosopher, and James Madison.
Next, we have the window dedicated to science.
Hippocrates, Aristotle, Roger Bacon, and around them from the top left, Aristarchus of Samos, Euclid, Archimedes, Galen, Ptolemy, Galileo, Pascal, Newton, Harvey, Pasteur, Joseph Henry, remember Joseph Henry House, and at the top of the lancet, you have earth, water, fire, and air, the four elements.
Now, look at those windows, the circles there.
And remember I mentioned that the window of Genesis 1 was going to come back into play here.
Well, you see those circles of the days of creation.
If you contrast them directly across with the window dedicated to science, you see how the great scientists of the world are unpacking, exegeting the mysteries latent within the creation.
There is a statement being made about the harmony of science and religion.
And that is because remember, in the protest against materialism, one of the first, after you make the defense of the problem of evil, you have to say, "Don't you see.
Science does not conflict with your faith.
It is a complement to it." And there's a great Princeton tradition of this.
Walter Minto, one of the college's first science professors, he proclaimed in 1788 in his inaugural address, that quote, "Instead of these sciences being hurtful to religion and morality, they will be found to be of the greatest advantage to them.
Indeed I consider a student of science as engaged in a continuous act of devotion.
This immense, beautiful, and varied universe is a book written by the finger of Omnipotence.
And raises the admiration of every attentive beholder." End quote.
And this tradition continued with President James McCosh.
Remember that bronze statue that we saw, who insisted, and this is very interesting, that evolution was no more harmful to one's faith than the law of gravitation.
Quote, "We are not precluded from seeking and discovering a final cause because we have found an efficient cause," end quote.
And so, the chapel seeks to consciously preserve this tradition of harmonizing science and religion.
Now, we're at the top of the science window, and we have to read it like a book, so our eyes have to jump down to the bottom, to the arcade level, and we have to start again down there where we see of course the teachings of Jesus Christ, that all of the university disciplines have been a preface to.
And you'll see two windows dedicated to the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5 through 7.
Now remember, Matthew is the great teaching gospel, so it's appropriate for the south teaching wall.
And then we skip over to Matthew 22 and 25 with three windows dedicated to parables in preparation for the Second Coming: the wedding feast, the talents, and the wise and foolish virgins.
And this leads us to the great west window, the eschatological window.
We've discussed this already, the Second Coming of Christ.
He's surrounded by the zodiac, is contrasted with the First Coming of Christ.
There He is at the nativity at the bottom.
Now, every great show has to have a curtain call, and this window functions also as the university chapel's curtain call in which we'll see some of the significant figures that we've looked at over the course of the tours, up here again.
This is the encore performance.
So, to the left of Christ are Matthew and Mark, up at the top there.
To the right of Christ, at the top, are Luke and John.
Below them are the four rivers of paradise.
Now, below Matthew on the left, is Moses, Adam and Eve, Saint John, Godfrey of Bouillon.
Below Mark, David, Thomas a Kempis , Pasquale, Aquinas, and Plato.
Below Luke, Ezekiel, Homer, Abraham, Columbus, and Saint Louis.
And below John, Solomon, Isaiah, Galileo, Dante, and Saint Paul.
And all these figures gathered together are also another reference to the Book of Revelation that we began with, where the blessed from every tongue, tribe, and nation, assemble in the new heaven and the new earth.
Now, on a more mundane note, all who worked hard in the chapel, get their say here too.
And if you look all the way at the bottom on the left, you see a window dedicated to architecture.
And in a fascinating detail, the plan that the architect is holding there, is an exact plan of the university chapel itself.
To the right, sculpture.
And then skip three windows and you see the glassmakers, and finally on the right, the organist gets a say as well.
And that's their way of taking a bow and saying, Thank you for coming to our chapel." And thank you for taking these tours.
Hopefully you've taken all four of them and I hope you have appreciated them.
Over the course of these tours, you've presented with the historical evidence that shows you that the current Princeton University chapel is not some remnant of College of New Jersey past, but is in fact one of the first expressions of pluralist Princeton, seeking to convince students who no longer have to go to daily chapel, about the truths of faith.
It is an argument of glass and stone, one of the many arguments that students will encounter in their time here at Princeton, which they are of course free to accept, reject, or ignore.
Thank you for not yourself choosing that third option.