Continuing this emerging series of posts on the vocation of the (Christian) faculty member–and this will surprise none of my regular readers–I want to take a moment to brag on a recent issue of Christian History magazine, which delves into the Christian (and, here’s a surprise, medieval) history of the university.
The issue is called “Hallowed Halls: The Christian Story of the University,” and is available both in full color and downloadable individual articles at the preceding link. As always, an impressive roster of (that rare bird) scholars-who-can-write-for-ordinary-folks lined up to write about this topic for our indefatigable managing editor, Jennifer Woodruff Tait (yes, you absolutely should read her Intervarsity Press book Church History in Seven Sentences, her even-more-recent co-edited The Cambridge Companion to American Protestantism, and her prize-winning published dissertation The Poisoned Chalice: Eucharistic Grape Juice and Common-Sense Realism in Victorian Methodism). Among the stellar authors in the issue: George Marsden, Jens Zimmermann, Thomas Albert Howard, and Gillian Evans.
And when Marsden was responding to a symposium convened to discuss the new edition of his Soul of the American University, and reflecting in that response on the original, Christian humanist purposes of the university, which motivated its medieval founders, he was moved to refer to the author of the lead article, Regent College scholar of Christian humanism Jens Zimmermann, and to recommend the issue as a whole:
“As Jens Zimmermann of Regent College has recently reminded us, the Christian humanist tradition goes back not only to the founding of Medieval universities, but to Augustine and the Patristic era.1 Protestants and Catholics share that long-lasting, many-sided, and resilient spiritual and intellectual heritage. Recognizing our common concerns for finding ways for it to continue to thrive may be one avenue for [the university] creatively moving into the future.”
Reads Marsden’s footnote (and I link Jens’s excellent article here): “Jens Zimmermann, “Restoring the Divine Likeness: Christian Humanism and the Rise of the University,” Christian History 139 (2021): 6-11.”
The note continues, “See this Christian History issue on ‘Christianity and Higher Education‘ for a nice overview of many aspects of the history.” I agree!