Exiles from Eden

Exiles from Eden : Religion and the Academic Vocation in America

3.5 (12 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

In this thoughful and literate essay, Mark Schwehn argues that Max Weber and his contemporaries led higher education astray by stressing research - the making and transmitting of knowledge - at the expense of teaching moral character. Schwehn sees an urgent need for a changed orientation and calls for a "spiritually grounded education in and for thoughtfulness." Schwehn's reforms would replace individualist behaviour, the "doing my own work" syndrome derived from the Enlightenment, with a communitarian ethic grounded in Judeo-Christian spirituality. Acceptance of this "spiritual ethic" would lead scholars to show humility before their texts, trust in their colleagues' research, self-denial and openness to changing one's mind, and charity towards their students and colleagues. Schwehn examines misguided philosophies of higher education from Weber and Henry Adams to Derek Bok, Allan Bloom and William G. Perry, Jr. He draws out valid insights, always showing the theological underpinnings of the so-called secular thinkers. He emphasizes the importance of community, drawing on both the secular communitarian theory of Richard Rorty and that of the Christian theorist Parker Palmer. Finally he outlines his own prescription for a classroom-centered spiritual community of scholars. Schwehn's analysis should be of interest to all who care about higher education in America today: faculty, students, parents, alumi, administrators, trustees, and foundation officers.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 158 pages
  • 147.32 x 208.28 x 22.86mm | 272.15g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195073436
  • 9780195073430

Review quote

"A volume that university administrators in both religious and secular settings could usefully give their faculty colleagues to help restore a better sense of the purpose of their academic vocation....A compelling argument both for the restoration of religion in the understanding and practice of the academic vocation in general and for the more particular efforts of religious communities to transmit their convictions in the setting of modern higher education."--Commonweal"There can be no doubt that the academy in the West is undergoing, and must undergo, fundamental alterations in direction and self-understanding. Schwehn's book is a significant contribution to the necessary debate."--The Cresset"Eminently readable, solidly grounded in its sources, it makes a contribution to the debate about values in higher education. The author handles religio-spiritual questions with great sensitivity."--Robert P. Swierenga, Kent State University"Schwehn offers a universal, rational, and religiously-informed philosophy of education."--Koinonia Journal"Intelligent and provocative....Persuasive....Schwehn is certainly fighting the good fight....This thesis, ...can be fruitfully debated on any American campus. Will it be debated? Not unless Mark Schwehn provides us with a sequel, for which we may devoutly hope."--Crisisshow more

Rating details

12 ratings
3.5 out of 5 stars
5 8% (1)
4 50% (6)
3 25% (3)
2 17% (2)
1 0% (0)
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