The Love of Learning and the Desire for God by Jean Leclercq
Call Number: 271.0902 L496L
Publication Date: 1982
The classic study on the subject of Latin monastic thought and culture from 850-1150, Lerclercq, a Benedictine monk himself, documents the “splendid synthesis” of classical and Christian civilizations in the medieval West. The two consistent currents in monastic culture at this time were the literary character of monastic writings and its mystical orientation: “A written rather than an oral teaching, but well written in conformity with the art of writing, grammatica is directed to personal union with the Lord here below and later in beatitude." Grammar included the ability "to write, to read, to understand, and to prove,” and constituted “the first stage and the foundation of general culture"(22). For the Romans of the classical period, Leclercq writes, grammar was "a truly logical analysis of the categories of the understanding." For Christian monastics, it was viewed as the necessary means in the search for God, who was to be found principally through engagement with Holy Scripture, and by the practice of lectio divina. Read Dr. Evan Howard's article, "Lectio Divina in the Evangelical Tradition." (2012)
The Christian Scholar in the Age of the Reformation by E. Harris Harbison
Publication Date: 1983
Harbison reminds us that "there are no scholar-heroes in the Gospels" as he reviews the New Testament witness regarding faith and learning in Chapter 1. He points out the deep current of anti-intellectualism in Christianity from the very beginning. The Lord Jesus himself contributed to it. In several places in the Gospels we find him praising the Father for confounding "the wise and learned," but he was also, Harbison contends, "a profound student of the Scriptures [...] a teacher aware of his relation to a great religious tradition, steeped in that tradition, and conscious of a call to shape it. To that extent, he was a 'scholar" (pp. 2-3). Harbison also includes Saints Paul and John as early representatives of this less obvious scholarly current in the New Testament. Over the centuries Christian scholars have fulfilled one of three tasks as the times demanded: 1) focus on the tradition itself with the intent to purify, restore, preserve and protect it; 2) relate the faith to the surrounding culture; and 3) reconcile faith and with new scientific knowledge.
The Idea of a University by John Henry Newman; Frank M. Turner (Editor); Martha M. Garland (Contribution by)
Publication Date: 1996
J.M. Cameron, in his biography on Newman, wrote that "modern thinking on university education is a series of footnotes to Newman's lectures and essays." British historian, G. M. Young, characterized Newman's Idea as "the final utterance ... of Christian Humanism; as if the spirit evoked by Erasmus had found its voice at last" (Last Essays, 1950). In an article entitled "Newman and Lewis on the Limits of Education," Thomas Howard, an evangelical convert to Catholicism in the 1980s, recounts his first encounter with the book: "Here at last I found an author who seemed to be aware of both sides of the question; for no one ever insisted so eloquently as Newman on the beauty of culture for its own sake, and no one ever so sternly resisted the temptation to confuse it with things spiritual. The cultivation of the intellect, according to him, is 'for this world': between it and 'genuine religion' there is a 'radical difference'; it makes 'not the Christian… but the gentleman,'… he 'will not for an instant allow' that it makes men better." Idea has been one of the consistent texts on Wheaton College's Faith and Learning Seminar reading list in recent years.
Christianity and humanism; studies in the history of ideas. by Quirinus Breen
Publication Date: 1968
Breen brings the full power of his impressive erudition to support the assertion to "let secular learning be secular," the sub-title to the last essay in this volume, "The Church as Mother of Learning." He begins the essay by paying homage to our Western cultural heritage, namely, the intellectual and political goods of the Greco-Roman world. He then constructs a theological basis for letting secular learning be secular, followed by a historical survey of the Church's shifting role vis-a-vis secular learning, as alternately step-mother, foster mother, and, ideally, the mother of learning. His arguments are theological and historical. Breen bases his theological apologia on the doctrines of creation, providence, and the incarnation to defend the following: 1) Christianity is a religion of human redemption...[so it's] necessary to know the nature of the man who is to be saved...which cannot be known apart from secular learning; 2) man and the natural order being created by God, secular learning has a sacred character; 3) In the Incarnation God became man, thereby bestowing a most extraordinary honor on man including his life of natural reason.
Building the Christian Academy by Arthur F. Holmes
Call Number: 377.8 H734b
Publication Date: 2001
Holmes's examines "seven formative episodes" in Church history for answers to two basic questions: "What is it that the Christian tradition contributed to higher education that has been lost? What should we know about that tradition as a condition of practical wisdom for the present?" This is not just a repackaging of Idea of a Christian College despite what the similar titles suggest. The "heart and soul" of Christian higher learning consist in four things: 1) usefulness of the liberal arts as preparation for service; 2) the unity of truth; 3) contemplative (or doxological) learning; and 4) care of the soul (p.2). The last two elements are not addressed in Idea of a Christian College. What about the importance of integrating faith and learning? Interestingly, Holmes, who uses the phrase eleven times in Idea of a Christian College, mentions it not even once. The post-integration Holmes?
The Pattern of God's Truth by Frank E. Gaebelein
Publication Date: 1985-12-01
The Pattern of God’s truth: the problems of integration in Christian education was first published in 1954. Notice the change to the subtitle in the latest reprint. Gaebelein was the first exponent of faith-learning integration in American evangelical circles. The Pattern of God’s truth speaks to the importance of integration in all aspects and all levels of education, and not only among the faculty in institutions of Christian higher learning, though successful integration begins with the faculty. The Pattern of God’s Truth and Gaebelein’s Christian Education in a Democracy (1951) remained “required reading for any teacher seeking certification with the Association of Christian Schools International, the largest evangelical Christian school association in America, through at least 2003.” Ken Gangel and Warren Benson consider this first handbook on integration to be “the one significant volume that must be mastered” if one is to grasp the true distinctiveness of evangelical perspectives on education.
Early Christianity and Greek Paidea by Werner W. Jaeger
Call Number: 209 J175e
Publication Date: 1961
Widely considered as one of the great classicists of the his time (d. 1961), Jaeger had a particular interest in "the patristic fusion of Hellenism with Christianity." He was also considered one of the premier scholars on the life and thought of Gregory of Nyssa. This short work of 154 pages chronicles the encounter of Greek thought and early Christianity through the figures of Clement of Rome and Origen. They were instrumental is paving the way for the great synthesis of Greek culture and the Christian religion as embodied in the lives and works of the Cappadocian Fathers and Macrina, sister to Gregory of Nyssa and Basil the Great. Noteworthy as it relates to integration is Jaeger's discussion of Gregory of Nyssa later in the book, and specifically the way Gregory develops a Christian counterpart to the classical Greek concept of paideia. At the core of Gregory's Christian paideia is the Bible, which replaces the corpus of Greek literature as the object of learning, the form that molds a person. "Christ is the form," Jaeger writes, "and he must take shape" in us. To the extent that we have been molded by the Bible, by Christ, we are prepared for the successful integration of faith and learning.
Fr. John Behr, Dean of Saint Vladimir Seminary in New York, gave this lecture at the Center for Orthodox Thought and Culture at Eastern University in St David's, PA, a Baptist affiliated school. Fr. John illustrates the importance of engaging and integrating secular learning and culture for Christians from the writings of the early church fathers. According to Behr, learning and letters are intrinsic to being a Christian, and a means of becoming truly human (hence "the humanities"). "Christians are those," Behr says, "who read scripture in order to encounter Christ. Our encounter is literary. We come to know God through his word. It’s what we do in church. The very structure of Christian revelation is literary at its very heart."