That Was The Week That Was

This week I engaged in some hopeful thinking about the future of the humanities, announced my first online adult ed course, recruited some Anxious Bench colleagues to join me in identifying non-religious turning points in religious history, and recorded podcasts about math and e-sports. Elsewhere:

• Another week, another inspector general fired after he tried to investigate corruption in the Trump administration.

• In the midst of the COVID pandemic, Donald Trump likes to call himself a wartime president, so let’s imagine he had been the president in the midst of an actual world war…

Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill at the August 1941 Atlantic Conference – Imperial War Museum/Wikimedia

• How might future history professors use Trump’s inaugural address as a primary source for an exam essay question?

• Is the much-feared second wave of COVID already hitting rural America?

• If we’ve learned anything from this crisis, let’s not “waste” it by simply trying to return to normal.

• The leader of the Church of England has been volunteering as a hospital chaplain.

• From the department of irony: being temporarily closed because of COVID may become the permanent status of a British museum dedicated to one of the inventors of vaccinations.

Painting of Edward Jenner advising a farmer to vaccinate his family – Wikimedia

• Pubs were in trouble even before this year, but the coronavirus “may deliver the death blow” to that venerable British institution.

• On that theme of being in trouble before and more trouble after COVID… why the colleges in the greatest danger may be small, private, and rural.

• I’m right there with everyone who sees clear limits to what purely online education can accomplish. But I still have a sinking feeling that this college president is actually right about the risks of moving back to campus this fall.

• Remember how the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision was going to devastate Christian higher education? Here’s how some of those colleges and universities have been adapting.

• Liberty University’s abrupt elimination of its Philosophy department cued my post on the future of the humanities. Here’s a response to that decision by one of the affected professors. (H/T John Fea)

• The president of the Evangelical Philosophical Society is “disappointed when Christians don’t see the value in the pursuit of the good, the true, and the beautiful,” but he still insisted that “evangelical philosophy is also flourishing.”

• If you’re willing to go down a rabbit hole… this investigation of an Oxford professor who stole papyri and sold them to a family of evangelical billionaires is something else.

• To end on a bittersweet note… I’d been hoping that my friend Christian Collins Winn would write something about his mentor, Don Dayton, who died earlier this month. Here’s what Christian ended up writing for Christianity Today — complete with a Pietist motto as the headline!