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The Vocation of the Christian Scholar: How Christian Faith Can Sustain the Life of the Mind [Paperback]

By Richard T. Hughes (Author)
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Item description for The Vocation of the Christian Scholar: How Christian Faith Can Sustain the Life of the Mind by Richard T. Hughes...

Richard T. Hughes's highly praised book on the relationship between Christian faith and secular learning - originally published as "How Christian Faith Can Sustain the Life of the Mind" - is now available in a revised edition that brilliantly incorporates recent interest in the topic of vocation. While the vocational dimensions of the earlier book were implicit, this revised edition makes them explicit. In the first of two completely new chapters, Hughes recounts his own vocational journey, telling how he drew on Christian theology to discover his talents and how best to use them. The second new chapter focuses on the vocation of Christian colleges and universities, including the purpose and goals of church-related education. The story offered here provides a compelling argument that faith, properly pursued, nourishes the openness and curiosity that make a life of the mind possible.

Publishers Description
Can Christian faith sustain the life of the mind? To many academics this question seems absurd. In their judgment, religion is fundamentally dogmatic while the life of the mind requires openness, creativity, and imagination. This stereotypical assumption about the nature of religion in general, and Christianity in particular, has contributed significantly over the past century to the divorce between faith and learning at countless colleges and universities in the United States. But is this assessment of the intellectual nature of faith justified, or the academic rift it has opened?

In this powerful -- yet very personal -- reflection on faith and scholarship, Richard T. Hughes counters the widespread perception of Christians as steeped in narrowness and dogmatism and provides a compelling argument that faith, properly pursued, in fact nourishes the openness and curiosity that make a life of the mind possible. Neither an assessment of church-related higher education today nor a lamentation over the process of secularization, this book is instead a badly needed aid for academics in both private and public institutions who want to connect Christian faith with scholarship and teaching in meaningful and effective ways.

Defining the "life of the mind" in terms of disciplined search for truth, conversation with diverse viewpoints, critical analysis, and intellectual creativity, Hughes shows that such life, far from being impeded by Christian faith, can actually be enhanced by it -- but only if Christians learn to think theologically and break through the particularities of their traditions.

Hughes first examines the way that the Deism of the Founding Fathers defines the values of themodern academy in the United States, and he asks how the Christian tradition might interact with these values in meaningful ways. He then looks at four different Christian traditions -- Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, and Mennonite -- and the different ways they sustain the life of the mind. When he turns to teaching, Hughes uses his own classroom work as an illustration of how a commitment to some of the great themes of Christian theology can undergird both the form and the content of the teaching task. Finally, in an especially poignant chapter, Hughes explores how good teaching and scholarship can be rooted in human suffering and tragedy.

After a spate of books and articles that merely mourn the decline of Christian intellectual life, here -- at last -- is a volume that offers a constructive assessment of how Christian faith might, indeed, sustain the life of the mind.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Pages   145
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.98" Width: 6" Height: 0.52"
Weight:   0.58 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 2, 2005
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  0802829155  
ISBN13  9780802829153  

Availability  1 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 23, 2016 04:19.
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More About Richard T. Hughes

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Richard T. Hughes is Director of the Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies and Distinguished Professor of Religion at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, and author or editor of more than a dozen books, including Myths America Lives By and How Christian Faith Can Sustain the Life of the Mind.


Richard T. Hughes currently resides in the state of California. Richard T. Hughes was born in 1943.

Richard T. Hughes has published or released items in the following series...

  1. Studies in Anabaptist and Mennonite History

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Education > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Education

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Pastoral Help > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Vocation Of A Christian Scholar: How Christian Life Can Sustain The Life Of The Mind?

Vocation of a Christian Scholar  Sep 24, 2009
The book was delivered promptly and in new condition. Fantastic book for students and staff of a Christian liberal arts university.
A Paradox of Vocation  Jul 3, 2008
Richard Hughes addresses the tension between scholarly teaching according to the canons of secular academia while at the same time holding on to a Christian worldview--even (or especially) within a church-based higher education context. This proves to be a more difficult task than Hughes lets on. He ably demonstrates that the Christian worldview has nothing to fear from pluralism, diversity of thought and healthy skepticism. He also recognizes the significant intellectual contributions of various religious perspectives (Catholic, Reformed, Lutheran, Mennonite). He highly values the concept that individuals should be taught in such a way that they are sympathetic and compassionate to those who are experiencing injustice and suffering. To this concept the institutions of religion and education both give at least lip-service. While the book was well-conceived and well-written, it left this "church-based" reader wondering if Hughes' interpretation of the significant doctrines of justification and sanctification would be embraced by those who take the biblical teachings on those doctrines seriously. This is the linch-pin of Hughes' argument and it does not quite hold together. It will be up to a more "secular-based" reader to say if the book defines a relationship between faith and the academy which they find acceptable.

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