Exiles from Eden
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Exiles from Eden : Religion and the Academic Vocation in America

3.5 (12 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

In this thoughtful and literate study, Schwehn argues that Max Weber and several of his contemporaries led higher education astray by stressing research-the making and transmitting of knowledge-at the expense of shaping moral character. Schwehn sees an urgent need for a change in orientation and calls for a "spiritually grounded education in and for thoughtfulness." The reforms he endorses would replace individualistic behavior, the "doing my own work" syndrome derived from the Enlightenment, with a communitarian ethic grounded in Judeo-Christian spirituality. Schwehn critiques philosophies of higher education he considers misguided, 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 study will interest all those concerned with higher education in America today: faculty, students, parents, alumni, administrators, trustees, and foundation officers.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 137.2 x 203.2 x 12.7mm | 204.12g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 0195179730
  • 9780195179736
  • 1,659,498

Review quote

"Schwehn's work is to be commended."-Review and Expositor "By means of a fresh, penetrating, and exceedingly lucid account of the intellectual and cultural roots of the modern academy, Schwehn sheds light on the cause of the current contradictions experienced by professors....Carefully researched and informed by considerable learning....It is not simply an academic book, for Schwehn is himself no ordinary academic, and he has long known it."-First Things "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."-Crisis "Schwehn offers a universal, rational, and religiously-informed philosophy of education."-Koinonia Journal "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 "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 "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."-Commonwealshow more

Back cover copy

Exiles From Eden sounds a call to the American academic community to begin seeking a solution to the many problems facing higher education today by rediscovering a proper sense of its vocation. Schwehn argues that the modern university has forgotten its spiritual foundations and that it needs to reappropriate those foundations before it can creatively and responsibly reform itself. The first part of the book offers a critical examination of the ethos of the modern academy, especially its understanding of knowledge, teaching, and learning. Schwehn then formulates a description of the "new cultural context" within which the world of higher learning is presently situated. Finally, he develops a view of knowledge and inquiry that is linked essentially to character, friendship, and community. In the process, he demonstrates that the practice of certain spiritual virtues is and always has been essential to the process of genuine learning - even within the secular academy. Schwehn critiques philosophies of higher education he sees as misguided, from Weber and Henry Adams to Derek Bok, Allan Bloom, and William G. Perry, Jr., drawing out valid insights, while 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. Exiles From Eden examines the relationship between religion and higher learning in a way that is at once historical and philosophical and that is both critical and constructive. It calls for nothing lessthan a reunion of the intellectual, the moral, and the spiritual virtues within the world of higher education in America. It will engage all those concerned with higher education in America today: faculty, students, parents, alumni, administrators, trustees, and foundation officers.show 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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