• One last burst of rating college ratings focused on the use of “comparison groups” by colleges and universities.
• In their own return to publishing, Douglas and Rhonda Jacobsen examined another return: that of religion to higher education.
• It wasn’t a long post, but struggling to pick just nine favorite Bob Dylan lyrics kept me up into the wee hours.
• From the people who brought history the Reign of Terror, a view of women that’s simultaneously lofty and regressive.
There and Everywhere
• Either I’m reading too many newsmedia and blogs or eighteen-year olds are reading too few, but apparently none of my Christianity and Western Culture students had heard that a Harvard scholar announced the discovery of a 4th century text that has Jesus claiming to be married. The cooler heads of Philip Jenkins, Stephen Prothero, Eleanor Barkhorn, Leroy Huizenga, and others have hopefully prevailed…
• …and John Ortberg previewed his new book on the meaning of Jesus for history in an interview with Christianity Today, claiming that “Most people—including most Christians—simply have no idea of the extent to which we live in a Jesus-impacted world. From the existence of hospitals to the notion of universal human dignity and rights to the prizing of virtues like humility and forgiveness, our lives are simply unimaginable apart from his life.”
• I’m excited to see Gordon College’s estimable Tal Howard join the blogging roster of The Anxious Bench. He didn’t exactly ease into the role, choosing the “Death with Dignity” act being voted on this November in Massachusetts for his inaugural. I’d love to see him spin off a whole post just from this sentence: “…I’m the sort of Protestant that believes that on many theological and moral matters, one has the ecumenical duty to consult what the Catholic Church teaches and only dissent as a last resort.” (In the election season spirit of equal time… Here’s a critique of Catholic Church teaching on this issue.)
• Having spent a good chunk of August reviewing five years’ worth of student course evaluations (in writing my application for renewal of tenure), I found myself agreeing with at least part of every response to this New York Times “Room for Debate” panel.
• And if I ever get around to developing a course on the enduring questions related to warfare, I think I’ll include something on just war and the ethics of killing by political philosopher Cécile Fabre.
• And perhaps this debate over the justness of the U.S. Civil War while I’m at it.
• What caused the collapse of Communism? It’ll be a key question in my Cold War history course next spring. Based on prior experience, I suspect that many of my students will want to credit Ronald Reagan and his “tear down this wall!” speech, but Liam Hoare was having none of that.
• Textbook choices for that and other spring courses are due October 1st (!)… Perhaps I should consider adding Evan Thomas’ new book praising the “brilliant prudence” of an earlier Republican president of the Cold War era. Here’s a preview from the author himself.
• Based on Joshua Rothman’s New Yorker post on the physical, mental, and psychological effects of campaigning, I’m going to go ahead and cross “presidential candidate” off my list of “jobs to try if higher education as we know it collapses.”
• I was happy to find (three months after they started) that the editors of Wipf & Stock (the publishers of our Pietist Impulse in Christianity) are fellow bloggers.
• And in this morning’s edition of “Weekend Reading” at our department blog, several links centered on the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Antietam or the growing challenges of preserving historical evidence.