Yale’s Seal

Some months ago someone pointed out Yale’s seal to me. I’ve held off writing about it until now – but it’s interesting to me that it shows an open book with the Hebrew words “Urim va Tummim” (which translates into English fairly directly as “Urim and Thummim”) and then the words underneath “Lux et Veritas” which translates as “light and truth.” For obvious reasons (to us at least) I think Mormons would find this university seal to be of interest.

Back when this was being shown to me, the point being made was that in its earlier days, Yale expected all incoming students to be able to read and understand Biblical Hebrew as well as other scriptural and classical languages – a standard that is not so much of a university priority these days.

I am wondering what led the university founders to choose the words “urim va tummim” for their seal. It’s a fairly obscure Biblical Hebrew phrase and although I can speculate as to why that choice was made, I’m wondering about the original story behind this. I’ll try googling around and see what I can come up with – but thought I’d open up the question to blog readers as well.