Higher education and university-based research rank among the main forces shaping our world. Focusing on knowledge rather than institutions, Language, Religion, Knowledge offers penetrating insight into how higher learning took its present form and the direction in which it is headed. The first section of this remarkable collection probes the history of higher learning in the United States; the second analyzes problems in higher learning today.
Renowned historian James Turner uncovers surprising blind spots in our knowledge of how higher learning has evolved by focusing on four themes: the influence of philology, historicism, disciplinary specialization, and the retreat of religion from the academy. Turner offers an especially interesting discussion of the powerful, yet often unrecognized, impact of the study of texts and languages on knowledge.
These thought-provoking essays examine losses and gains for contemporary higher education resulting from the fading of religion. Turner counts fragmentation of knowledge and the “marooning of research on an island of secular modernity” as among the greatest losses. Yet, he also proposes ways for higher learning today to recover the benefits of religiously grounded thinking without compromising the advantages of secularity.
By demonstrating that religious intellectual traditions can and should reinvigorate the life of the mind, Language, Religion, Knowledge gives new insights into the past and future of higher education.