Building the Christian Academy
The Christian academic tradition has long played a major role in Western intellectual history. Over the last one hundred years, however, we have witnessed the progressive secularization of higher education. In this volume Arthur Holmes shows precisely what in the...
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The Christian academic tradition has long played a major role in Western intellectual history. Over the last one hundred years, however, we have witnessed the progressive secularization of higher education. In this volume Arthur Holmes shows precisely what in the Christian tradition of learning has now been lost and explains what we should know about this tradition as a condition of practical wisdom for the present.Holmes focuses on seven formative episodes in history that pertain to building and maintaining a strong Christian academy today. His fascinating treatment is set within the history of ideas -- the early church in pagan culture, Augustine's formative influence on monastery and cathedral schools, the rise and decline of scholasticism, Renaissance humanism's contribution to the Protestant Reformation, the utilitarian view of education that accompanied the scientific revolution, and struggles with Enlightenment secularization -- and incorporates the educational thought of Plato and Socrates, Clement and Origen, Abelard and Hugh of St. Victor, Aquinas and Bonaventure, Erasmus and the Reformers, Francis Bacon and John Milton, and John Henry Newman.For each historical period considered, Holmes asks what problems educators faced and what major concerns guided educational thought and practice. He identifies four recurring emphases at the heart of the Christian academy: the care of the soul, the unity of truth, contemplative (or doxological) learning, and the usefulness of liberal arts as preparation for service to both church and society. This book, then, is about the philosophy of higher education and the outworking of these four emphases in key historical contexts. In theconcluding chapter Holmes discusses the Christian academy in the twentieth century and affirms the need to reclaim for our day the four traditional emphases and the theological foundations of learning.
Arthur F. Holmes (Ph.D., Northwestern) is professor emeritus of philosophy at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He is the editor and author of many books including Ethics, All Truth is God's Truth, New Dictionary of Christian Ethics & Pastoral Theology and Fact, Value and God.