Confessing History: Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian's Vocation

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At the end of his landmark 1994 book, The Soul of the American University, historian George Marsden asserted that religious faith does indeed have a place in today's academia. Marsden's contention sparked a heated debate on the role of religious faith and intellectual scholarship in academic journals and in the mainstream media. The contributors to Confessing History: Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian's Vocationexpand the discussion about religion's role in education and culture and examine what the relationship between faith and learning means for the academy today.

The contributors to Confessing Historyask how the vocation of historian affects those who are also followers of Christ. What implications do Christian faith and practice have for living out one's calling as an historian? And to what extent does one's calling as a Christian disciple speak to the nature, quality, or goals of one's work as scholar, teacher, adviser, writer, community member, or social commentator? Written from several different theological and professional points of view, the essays collected in this volume explore the vocation of the historian and its place in both the personal and professional lives of Christian disciples.

"Confessing History fills a large gap in the literature on Christian and especially evangelical historiography. I know of no other book or anthology of scholarly articles that so carefully analyzes how believing historians should work within the intellectual expectations of the guild. And it does so with pristine prose, impressive erudition, and charity of spirit. After reading Confessing History, I find myself compelled to take the prescriptions and proscriptions of the secular academy less seriously and my identity as a Christian historian more seriously." —Grant Wacker, Duke University

"How to reconcile religious commitment with the practices of the guild is one of the really big questions for believing historians. Confessing Historyis essential reading not only for them, but also for any wishing to understand the important issues at stake. In its pages we witness the concerns, questions, and yearnings of a new generation of believing historians—and perhaps even the contours of a new approach to Christian historical scholarship." —Donald Yerxa, Director, The Historical Society

"This collection of essays represents serious, sustained, multivalent, and cogent reflection on challenges for Christian historians as experienced by a mostly younger set of scholars. The volume acknowledges foundational work on such subjects carried out by a collection of older evangelical and Reformed scholars—including Ronald Wells, Darryl Hart, and George Marsden—but also moves well beyond these earlier voices, sometimes critiquing what they have written, but also sometimes venturing off into new directions." —Mark Noll, University of Notre Dame

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780268029036
  • Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2010
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 864,942
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

John Fea is associate professor of American history at Messiah College.

Jay Green is associate professor of history at Covenant College.

Eric Miller is associate professor of history at Geneva College.

Contributors: John Fea, Jay Green, Eric Miller, Mark R. Schwehn, Una M. Cadegan, Beth Barton Schweiger, Thomas Albert Howard, William Katerberg, Michael Kugler, Bradley J. Gundlach, Christopher Shannon, James B. LaGrand, Lendol Calder, Robert Tracy McKenzie, Douglas A. Sweeney, Wilfred M. McClay

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Table of Contents

Preface xi

Introduction: A Tradition Renewed? The Challenge of a Generation Eric Miller 1

Part 1 Identity

1 Faith Seeking Historical Understanding Mark R. Schwehn 23

2 Not All Autobiography Is Scholarship: Thinking, as a Catholic, about History Una M. Cadegan 39

3 Seeing Things: Knowledge and Love in History Beth Barton Schweiger 60

Part 2 Theory And Method

4 Virtue Ethics and Historical Inquiry: The Case of Prudence Thomas Albert Howard 83

5 The "Objectivity Question" and the Historian's Vocation William Katerberg 101

6 Enlightenment History, Objectivity, and the Moral Imagination Michael Kugler 128

7 On Assimilating the Moral Insights of the Secular Academy Bradley J. Gundlach 153

8 After Monographs: A Critique of Christian Scholarship as Professional Practice Christopher Shannon 168

9 The Problems of Preaching through History James B. Lagrand 187

Part 3 Communities

10 Coming to Terms with Lincoln: Christian Faith and Moral Reflection in the History Classroom John Fea 217

11 For Teachers to Live, Professors Must Die: A Sermon on the Mount Lendol Calder 233

12 Public Reasoning by Historical Analogy: Some Christian Reflections Jay Green 262

13 Don't Forget the Church: Reflections on the Forgotten Dimension of our Dual Calling Robert Tracy Mckenzie 280

14 On the Vocation of Historians to the Priesthood of Believers: A Plea to Christians in the Academy Douglas A. Sweeney 299

Afterword: The Christian Historian and the Idea of Progress Wilfred M. Mcclay 316

Contributors 345

Index 349

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