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The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief ebook

by George M. Marsden


George M. Marsden is Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame

George M. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. Marsden takes his readers on a journey from the founding of some of America's most prominent universities (. Harvard, Yale, Princeton) as (generally) denominational institutions to their gradual secularization.

A book that expertly tracks the history and purpose of the American University from its deeply Christian . Marsden argues, in a short chapter at the end of the book, that intellectually robust Protestants should have a seat at the Ivy Table, though not the head

Marsden argues, in a short chapter at the end of the book, that intellectually robust Protestants should have a seat at the Ivy Table, though not the head. He rightly states the implicit bias that only secularists, naturalists are actually welcome is as exclusive as the early days of the Ivy schools. Back then, only males WASPS were allowed, but at least that was transparent.

The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief. The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: The 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief. New York: Oxford University Press. New York: Basic Books. C. S. Lewis's Mere Christianity: A Biography.

Marsden's analysis ranges from debates over Darwinism and higher critics of the Bible, to the roles of. .to the infringement of the free exercise of religion in most of academic life. In effect, nonbelief has been established as the only valid academic perspective.

Marsden's analysis ranges from debates over Darwinism and higher critics of the Bible, to the roles of government and wealthy contributors, the impact of changing student mores, and even the religious functions of college football. In a provocative final chapter, Marsden spells out his own prescription for change, arguing that just as the academy has made room for feminist and multicultural perspectives, so should there be room once again for traditional religious viewpoints.

book by George M. Marsden. Only a century ago, almost all state universities held compulsory chapel services, and some required Sunday church attendance as well. In fact, state-sponsored chapel services were commonplace until the World War II era, and as late as the 1950s, it was not unusual for leading schools to refer to themselves as "Christian" institutions.

George Marsden of the University of Not Dame knows a great deal about how .

George Marsden of the University of Not Dame knows a great deal about how Christians in the United States have struggled with the perils of pluralism. The book examines in great detail the displacement of Protestant Christianity from its near controlling role in our high culture and in higher education, and its replacement by, well what exactly? In the subtitle, Marsden says established nonbelief," but that has a polemical tone hardly matching Marsden's steady, balanced, at times somewhat coldy anaytical style.

Marsden tells the stories of many of our pace-setting universities at defining moments in their histories, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, the University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins, the University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Chicago.

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From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief. by George M. Published May 2001 by Replica Books One of the remarkable facts of American history is that only six years after their settlement in the Massachusetts wilderness the Puritans established what soon. Published May 2001 by Replica Books One of the remarkable facts of American history is that only six years after their settlement in the Massachusetts wilderness the Puritans established what soon became a reputable college.

Surveys the change in the religious orientation of U.S. colleges
Vonalij
Marsden takes his readers on a journey from the founding of some of America's most prominent universities (e.g., Harvard, Yale, Princeton) as (generally) denominational institutions to their gradual secularization. He illustrates the changes by identifying key milestones like the elimination of chapel attendance, changes in board mix (away from ministers), battles over curriculum and appointments of controversial (e.g., agnostic) professors. He covers the key influencers in the 19th and 20th century higher education such as Harper, Tappen and Porter and weaves in the key themes affecting the universities including sectarianism, Common Sense philosophy, Darwinism, German higher criticism and logical positivism. Marsden also touches on denominations' attempts to respond to changes through the establishment of campus groups and lectures. The book is well researched with hundreds of footnotes.
Yannara
I really enjoyed this book. I had always wondered about the transition from religiously founded schools to secular schools that took place from the 19th century to the 20th century in this country. The author did a great job on that history. My only problems come in the final chapter where the author tries to make recommendations for some return of religious viewpoints in the academic world. I have no problem with that concept, but I do with some of his arguments about why some religion-based schools (especially Catholic?) have become more secular in recent years. He blames this partially, at least, on accrediting associations. Whether this is the case or not, I find it interesting that after writing an entire book explaining how there was almost an inevitable evolution from religious to secular approaches among all the Protestant based schools, that he finds it necessary to blame some outside forces on what could well be the same kind of evolution in Catholic schools. One final observation: He is apparently in favor of government support for small religious colleges. In arguing for this, he flippantly dismisses much research on the history of church and state by stating that "separation of church and state" is too simple a solution. It may be simple, but it has been the guiding principle for our government since Jefferson and Madison at the founding and the Supreme Court since Everson v. Board of Education (1947). Ironically, Marsden referenced this case earlier in his book. Arguing constitutional questions to fit your religious agenda, it would seem to me, is not a good way to support your view that religious-based scholarship is just as legitimate as secular. He also seems to be agreeing with Catholic leaders from the 19th century who argued against public education by saying that education without religion (Catholicism) was not education at all. He is walking a very fine line here in attempting to return religion to educational institutions without completely changing their character.
SupperDom
As a student of American religious history and an educator, this book filled a needed area of my education. For those in the history/education fields, this book will possibly provide new insights into the development and metamorphosis of religious higher education in the United States.
Avarm
So called scholars lack practical experience and perception.
Musical Aura Island
One of America's finest scholars, George M. Marsden, offers us a first-rate intellectual history in The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief (New York: Oxford University Press, c. 1994). The book's subtitle sums up Marsden's thesis. He moves from the Colonial era's "establishment of Protestant nonsectarianism" to "defining the American university in a scientific age" during the last century, to analyzing "when the tie no longer binds" in our day.
America's "university system was built on a foundation of evangelical Protestant colleges" (p. 4). Until after the Civil War, virtually all universities retained a certain "evangelical" commitment, with required chapels, recurrent revivals, and resident clergymen-presidents. Yet within a short 50 years virtually all these universities underwent a metamorphosis, so that "by the 1920s the evangelical Protestantism of the old-time colleges had been effectively excluded from leading university classrooms" (p. 4). During the next half-century, the faith which had founded and structured the universities would be routinely ignored, pilloried and rejected.
Marsden finds a key to this process in the bombshell of a book William F. Buckley, Jr. published in 1951, God and Man at Yale. Reviewing his texts and teachers at Yale, Buckley pointed to "the triumph of 'relativism, pragmatism and utilitarianism,' in the spirit of philosopher of John Dewey. 'There is surely not a department at Yale,' Buckley observed, 'that is uncontaminated with the absolute that there are no absolutes, no intrinsic rights, no ultimate truths'" (p. 12). Though his judgment may have been severe, Buckley incisively exposed the true state of Yale's secularized irreligion.
Sixty years earlier Yale had still seemed distinctly Evangelical. Noted preachers such as Dwight L. Moody, R.A. Torrey, A.J. Gordon, and John R. Mott found the campus open to their ministries. Students responded zealously to Christian appeals. Only inwardly, especially in the minds of the faculty, Yale was changing. "Higher criticism" of the Bible incarnated itself in professors such as George Adam Smith, and social action rather than personal piety increasingly attracted students' commitments. While sustaining an appearance of Evangelical orthodoxy, Yale in fact lost its intellectual integrity as an orthodox Christian college. It became a purely secular institution.
To explain this process, Marsden presents in-depth case studies of significant colleges (or presidents or scholars) which illustrated significant trends in their day. Decade by decade, accommodations were made, often with little understanding the ultimate import of such moves. Religious principles and objectives, encrusted like fossils in mission statements, were often assumed, since they had provided the basis for the colleges' founding and comforted their donors. But in fact they were increasingly pushed to the periphery of institutional operations.
Generally speaking, by the end of the 19th century, colleges such as Harvard retained a commitment to only a vaguely Christian morality. For example, Harvard's president, Charles Norton Eliot, announced, "'The moral purpose of a university's policy should be to train young men to self-control and self-reliance through liberty'" (p. 188).
Committed to the notion of human goodness, Eliot embraced William James' voluntarism, defining man's nature as the result of exercising his free will. So Eliot eliminated required courses (Latin and Greek and the classics, including doses of Bible and Christian theology) in favor of "electives," allowing students to design their own course of studies. He also eliminated mandatory chapel, insisting young men be allowed to choose whether or not to learn about the Christian faith.
Almost alone, as the 19th century ended, Princeton University retained a commitment to more traditional Evangelicalism. Publicly debating Eliot, Princeton's President James McCosh (an eminent philosopher as well as administrator) insisted that students must be exposed to traditional Christian teachings. To simply tolerate Christianity, as one among competing ideologies, would effectively dislodge it from the core of the institution. Still more: McCosh insisted there could be no "morality" without distinctly Christian theology, a position proven self-evident by spending a few days on most any modern university campus!
McCosh, however, was a lonely resister. His successor, Woodrow Wilson, deserted McCosh's stadard. In short order most universities followed the model which flourished during the 1890s at the University of Chicago, where John Dewey espoused "the religion of democracy." In Dewey's opinion, "'a society in which the distinction between the spiritual and the secular has ceased, and as in Greek theory, as in the Christian theory of the Kingdom of God, the church and the state, the divine and the human organization of society are one'" (p. 250). Progressive politicians like Theodore Roosevelt and social reformers such as Jane Addams sought to inaugurate the new kingdom enunciated by John Dewey: the religion of democracy.
Illustrating the change taking place in the universities, in 1909 Cosmopolitan maga¬zine published an article by Harold Bolce, "Blasting at the Rock of Ages." Bolce's words bit with the teeth of a pit bull: "'Those who are not in close touch with the great colleges of the coun¬try, will be astonished to learn the creeds being foisted by the faculties of our great universities. In hundreds of class-rooms it is being taught daily that the decalogue is no more sacred than a syl¬labus; that the home as an institution is doomed; that there are no absolute evils; that immorality is simply an act in contravention of society's accepted standards; that democracy is a failure and the Declaration of Independence only spectacular rhetoric; that the change from one religion to another is like getting a new hat; that moral precepts are passing shibboleths; that conceptions of right and wrong are as unstable a styles of dress; . . . and that there can be an are holier alliances without the marriage bond than within it'" (p. 267).
Bolce's prescient words charted the course of higher education in our century. Flagship colleges and universities cut down their religious emblems, casting off from the denominations which had chartered them. Virtually all abandoned any reserva¬tions concerning naturalistic evolution; virtually all abandoned compulsory chapel; and in time virtually all abandoned any clear identification with Christianity. The "liberal" Protestantism which triumphed on American campuses quickly lost much resemblance to traditional Christian orthodoxy.
What American universities such as Harvard and Yale lacked was what John Henry Newman had espoused his Idea of a University: a firmly-anchored theo¬logical center which maintains a genuine university. Unfortunately, most Evangelical colleges too easily majored in emotions and ethics rather than theology. They frequently fomented life-changing revivals and dispatched missionaries around the world. But they failed to immerse and dye their intellectual clothing in the classical theology which could sustain their institutional mission.
To identify such trends, note the difference between two mission statements of Duke University, a Methodist institution. In 1924, the statement said: "'The aims of Duke University are to assert a faith in the eternal union of knowledge and religion set forth in the teachings and character of Jesus Christ, the Son of God'" (p. 422). In 1988, this was revised to read: "'Duke cherishes its historic ties with the United Methodist Church and the religious faith of its founders, while remaining non-sectarian'" (p. 421). Secularization was, essentially, complete.
The Soul of the Uni¬versity concludes with a brief challenge, a "concluding unscientific postscript," from Marsden. It's more a wish-list than an agenda for action, but he does have some reason for hope. Given the openness to various perspectives of "postmodern" academicians, Christians need to insist their views get a fair hearing on univer¬sity campuses. It's time to disestablish the anti-religious orthodoxy which has dominated academia for decades. The book's value, however, is its wealth of historical data and skillfully-drawn vignettes. To understand why American education has developed as it has, Marsden's treatise is essential.
The Soul of the American University: From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief ebook
Author:
George M. Marsden
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Replica Books (May 1, 2001)
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