Journals Higher Education

$49.99

Paperback

02 May 1996

480 Pages | 2 line illus.

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

ISBN: 9780195106503


Bookseller Code (04)

The Soul of the American University

From Protestant Establishment to Established Nonbelief

George M. Marsden

Only a century ago, almost all state universities held compulsory chapel services, and some required Sunday church attendance as well. Today, however, the once pervasive influence of religion in the intellectual and cultural life of America's preeminent colleges and universities has all but vanished. In The Soul of the American University, George M. Marsden explores how, and why, these dramatic changes occurred.
Far from a lament for a lost golden age when mainline Protestants ruled American education, The Soul of the American University offers a penetrating critique of that era, surveying the role of Protestantism in higher education from the founding of Harvard in the 1630s through the collapse of the WASP establishment in the 1960s. Ranging from stories of many of our pace-setting universities at defining moments in their histories (such as the religious feuds that accompanied Yale's transition from a flagship evangelical college to a university) to an analysis of such poignant issues as the debates over Darwinism and the impact of changing student mores, Marsden argues persuasively that just as the academy has made room for feminist and multicultural perspectives, so should there be room once again for traditional religious viewpoints. A thoughtful blend of historical narrative and searching analysis, The Soul of the American University exemplifies what it advocates: that religious perspectives can provide a legitimate contribution to the highest level of scholarship.

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