Literate Ignoramuses

“Montaigne speaks of ‘an abecedarian ignorance that precedes knowledge, and a doctoral ignorance that comes after it.’ The first is the ignorance of those who, not knowing their ABC’s, cannot read at all. The second is the ignorance of those who have misread many books. They are, as Alexander Pope rightly calls them, bookful blockheads, ignorantly read. There have always been literate ignoramuses who have read too widely and not well. The Greeks had a name for such a mixture of learning and folly which might be applied to the bookish but poorly read of all ages. They are all sophomores.” ― Mortimer J. Adler, How to Read a Book