Darrow Miller and Friends

The HARVARD WALL that Exposes the Modernist Rewrite of History

  1. VERITAS – The Puritan Pursuit of Truth
  2. The Atheists Who Honored the Bible
  3. The HARVARD WALL that Exposes the Modernist Rewrite of History
  4. SEMINARY: Education or Religious Schooling? part 1
  5. No More Puritans at Harvard?

By Ingfbruno – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Harvard and Yale, among other venues, clearly display the early American belief that truth derives from God.

In a recent post entitled The Atheists Who Honored the Bible, Darrow wrote about the founding of Western education in a biblical understanding.

The Founders of Yale and Harvard … were committed to understanding Veritas– Truth. They understood that truth was found at the intersection of God’s revelation through Creation, Reason, and the Word of God. 

Anyone walking around the campus of either of these two Ivy League schools could find evidence of this commitment to Veritas. The image below, for example, was taken at Memorial Hall at Harvard University. Notice that “Ve – ri – tas” is inscribed across three books. Notice also that the two books above are lying open and the one below is turned face down (more about that below.)

Harvard veritas shield
[Furnished by Harvard Graduate Christian Community. Used by permission.]
The website of the Harvard Graduate Christian Community indicates that symbols like these “can be found on many buildings around campus including the Widener library, Memorial Church, and various dorms in Harvard Yard.” Yale University displays a very similar salute to Veritas, with the upside-down book below two right-side up books. (Our friend Christian Overman has a picture at this blog post.)

Many of our readers are aware that these universities were once expressly Christian. The fact that both of these schools have public displays confessing their allegiance to truth is striking. Of course, in the centuries since their founding they have become thoroughly secular. As Darrow mentioned in The Atheists Who Honored the Bible, 

… how many of today’s educators would describe the purpose of education similarly? Thousands upon thousands of faculty and students walk by emblems like the one at Yale … without seeing what there is to be seen.

But why do the shields, both at Harvard and Yale, include three books? And why is one book face down? We find the first answer in a paper from Dr. David Scott, A Vision of Veritas.

Harvard’s original seal was designated by the Board of Overseers on December 27, 1643, as a shield with the word “VERITAS” inscribed over three books. … might not the three books on the Harvard crest possibly be a reflection of the influence at early Harvard of Comenius’ call for a Pansophic college based on the three books of Scripture, nature, and reason? … One of the texts used at Harvard was Comenius’ Physicae ad Lumen Divinum Reformatae Synopsis (first published at Amsterdam in 1633). In his Synopsis, Comenius committed the entire thirty-nine page preface to expounding at length his tripartite view of truth. He wrote that his main premise was that “the only true, genuine and plain way of Philosophy is to fetch all things from sense, reason and Scripture.”{28} … This same premise of Comenius’ vision for higher education continued to be influential at Harvard into the eighteenth century. For example, one of the technological thesis for the commencement of 1719 reads, “The true and genuine method of philosophizing is to draw all conclusions from Scripture, reason and sense.”{29} [boldface emphasis added]

Scott points out that Comenius, and other “integrationists,” followed the lead of Luther, Calvin, et al. They believed that all truth is God’s truth. But these “post-Reformation thinkers” took that reformed theology to the next level. They were convinced of the “consistency of all truth. … While Calvin systematized theology, these thinkers sought to develop comprehensive systems of all Christian knowledge.”

That leaves the question about the face-down book. For that answer, we point our readers to Dr. Georgia Purdom‘s article, “Harvard: No Longer Truth for Christ and the Church.” In her column, Purdom references “the Harvard Graduate Christian Community website.” (the source of the above reference and photo of the Harvard shield).

Interestingly, the top two books on the shield are face up while the bottom book is face down. This symbolizes the limits of reason, and the need for God’s revelation.

current Harvard shield

As Dr. Purdom notes, the current version of Harvard’s motto (shown here) represents significant erosion. The single word “veritas” remains, but the original slogan, Christo et Ecclesiae, (“for Christ and the Church”) is gone. Modern American culture is atheistic to the core. History is being rewritten, deconstructed actually. Modern secularists argue that Western societies are rooted in the European Enlightenment and not in the Judeo-Christian framework. Note also that the facedown book has been turned over: no limits of human reason or science to fear now! Yet each of these slogans chiseled into stone at our nation’s founding universities and historic sites is testimony to America’s original view of truth.

I close this post with this challenge from Darrow Miller:

We who are interested in the future of our nations must challenge those who would rewrite history. We must lovingly and firmly declare that the soil in which nations flourish is the soil of truth: God’s comprehensive revelation through nature, reason and His Word. Let us not be Sunday Christians only. Let us be Monday Christians who work to build and disciple nations.

 – Gary Brumbelow

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Gary is the Disciple Nations Alliance editorial manager. He manages Darrow Miller and Friends and serves as editor and co-writer on various book projects. For eight years Gary served as a cross-cultural church planting missionary among First Nations people of Canada. His career also includes 14 years as executive director of InterAct Ministries, an Oregon-based church-planting organization in Canada, Alaska, and Siberia. Gary is a graduate of Grace University, earned an MA from Wheaton College and a Graduate Studies Diploma from Western Seminary. He lives near Portland, Oregon with his wife, Valerie. They have two married sons and twelve grandchildren. In addition to his work with the DNA, Gary serves as the pastor of Troutdale Community Church.


  1. Carlos Said Pires

    March 7, 2013 - 9:13 am

    Very interesting text ! This should be known for everybody!!

    • admin

      March 7, 2013 - 11:43 am

      Thanks for reading, Carlos!

      Gary Brumbelow

  2. Doug James

    August 31, 2013 - 10:07 am

    I had heard something about the Harvard seal having a book turned over and it’s significance. It popped into my mind while watching a football game for some reason, so I did a search and found this article. Thanks for posting.

    So very sad the way our best Christian institutions have turned their collective backs to God and the pursuit of Truth.

    Seems I saw a discussion about this issue somewhere, perhaps on The Truth Project produced by Focus on the Family.

    Thanks for promoting truth in history and the pursuit of real Truth.

    • admin

      September 3, 2013 - 2:38 pm

      Thanks very much, Doug, for reading and responding. We are always happy to hear we have been of service to a new reader!

      Gary Brumbelow, DMF manager