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Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind Hardcover – July 22, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (July 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802866379
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802866370
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,048,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"One of America's finest historians, Mark Noll takes us inside his mind to see the set of Christian convictions that have shaped his work. The clarity, forcefulness, and insistence with which he writes will certainly provoke questions that others have not asked or have asked but have not answered well. We are in his debt for this considerable service."
— David F. Wells
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

"It is odd that so much modern theology has treated Christology as just another doctrinal topic. Mark Noll shows us Jesus right where St. Paul left him — in Colossians — as the one 'in whom all things hold together.' Now that we have a christological clarion call for scholarship of all kinds, it's hard to believe we had none before. This is the ideal bookend for Noll's Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, sketching out a way for intellectual pilgrims to follow Jesus into academic fields of all kinds. May many take up that way."
— Jason Byassee
Duke Divinity School

"Mark Noll resolves the Scandal of the Evangelical Mind with the scandal of Christ crucified."
— Gene Edward Veith
Patrick Henry College

"In this wise and eloquent book Mark Noll draws on four decades of experience serving Christ in the academy. Many evangelical colleges and universities claim to be Christ-centered, but Noll shows the depth of meaning that phrase can convey. He offers a rich theological base for a life of learning, rooted in 'all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge' that are in Jesus Christ."
— Joel Carpenter
Nagel Institute, Calvin College

"More than a sequel to his Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Mark Noll's thoughtful new book offers at least the beginnings of a constructive christocentric theology for evangelical intellectual life. Rooted in the classic Christian creeds, Noll shows how a thoroughgoing Christocentrism can and should shape Christian engagement with such arenas as history, science, and biblical studies. . . . Though modest in length, this may be one of Noll's most important scholarly contributions."
— David P. Gushee
Mercer University

"Without retreating from his principles, Noll in this book offers a mature, nuanced, and wide-ranging reprise of his Scandal of the Evangelical Mind — but that is not all. By drawing constructively on poets, theologians, philosophers — and especially on the great historic creeds and confessions of the faith — he has crafted a challenging, inspiring christological philosophy of Christian education for the twenty-first century. This is a major contribution."
— David Lyle Jeffrey
Baylor University

About the Author

Mark A. Noll is Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. His other books include The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind and Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity.

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Customer Reviews

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Overall, a fairly easy read and well worth the time and effort.
Joel Holtz
He gives a good short history of the development of science and the relationship it has to Christianity.
Philip Taylor
The expansive implications of Noll's deceptively simple thesis is what makes this book so important.
David Swanson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Dr. David Steele on August 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mark Noll's latest book, Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind is "oxygen" for the soul. Noll's encouragement is greatly needed in our day. Many find themselves suffocating in these postmodern times. The thin air of anti-intellectualism is sucking the life out of the church. And the poisonous winds of heresy threaten the very spiritual health of believers.

A Place to Stand

Noll assures readers of the firm foundation the Christian worldview provides. The creeds of the early church serve as concrete blocks in this foundation: "The creed ... offers full cause for taking seriously the fact of the physical world as created by God, but also the dramas of redemption that relativizes all terrestrial realities in eternal perspective. It offers, in short, an ideal place from which to approach the tasks of Christian learning."

Noll reminds readers that this world is uniquely christological. As such, all learning should begin and end with Christ: "The light of Christ illuminates the laboratory, his speech is the fount of communication, he makes possible the study of humans in all their interactions, he is the source of all life, he provides the wherewithal for every achievement of human civilization, he is the telos of all that is beautiful. He is, among his many other titles, the Christ of the academic road." Indeed, this is much needed oxygen for the evangelical mind.

Motives for Learning

The author challenges the misplaced notion that a commitment to the Christian worldview necessarily derails a serious pursuit of scholarship.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Philip Taylor on August 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Everyone I know is smarter than me. I am not naturally or inherently strong intellectually. It is precisely because of this that I have to be disciplined with my mind and thinking process. I know what little strengths I have and need to nurture those strengths. This is why reading 'Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind' is important for me. Noll claims "Understanding more about Christ and his work not only opens a wide doorway to learning, but also checks tendencies toward idolatry that are as potent among scholars as in the rest of humankind." (p. ix)

I also belong to the Evangelical sub-culture of Northern Ireland. This sub-culture is not known for emphasising learning and the intellectual life as important. At the most extreme this sub-culture tolerates learning and the intellectual life as a means to get a job. In some churches it is not uncommon to hear further education and a life a scholarship viewed with extreme suspicion, especially if that education and scholarship is in Theology and related disciplines. Odd, I know. So it is refreshing to read Noll:

"The message in this book for my fellow evangelicals can be put simply: if what we claim about Jesus Christ is true, then evangelicals should be among the most active, most serious, and most open-minded advocates of general human learning. Evangelical hesitation about scholarship in general or about pursuing learning wholeheartedly is, in other words, antithetical to the Christ-centered basis of evangelical faith." (p. x)

Noll is a historian and therefore he is adept at drawing out the significance of the times.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Joel Holtz VINE VOICE on August 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Mark Noll is one of the giants in the Evangelical world, and his latest doesn't disappoint.

He sets the tone early for the book when he writes that .."The greatest hope for Christian learning..means learning more of Jesus Christ." (pg.22) I love how he refers to Christ as the "Christ of the Academic Road."

Throughout the book Noll encourages the Christian to make serious use of their minds, and how all learning in fact, leads back to Christ. Some of the book is highly academic, especially the middle chapters, and a bit hard to follow.. "By holding to traditional Christianity, historians can steer between the Scylla of relativistic postmodernism and the Charybdis of naive enlightenment positivism." (pg.77)

For me, the best chapter in the book is the Postscript, entitled "HOW FARES THE EVANGELICAL MIND?" In it, the author gives 10 reasons to be hopeful for intellectual life in Evangelical theology.

Overall, a fairly easy read and well worth the time and effort. A much needed message for current Christendom.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Swanson on March 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
In 1995 Mark Noll wrote The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, a book directed towards Christian academics that was, thankfully, read widely beyond academia. The book's hook came in a phrase often quoted over the past 15 years: The scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind. A bit of a downer, yes, but the book provided the implicit expectation of the compatibility of evangelical convictions with a robust life of the mind.

In his new book, Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind, Noll demonstrates how it is precisely these deeply held convictions that provide the rationale for unapologetic engagement with the academic disciplines. Once again, regardless of its intended audience, this is a book that deserves a wide reading.

Noll, formerly a professor of history at Wheaton College and now at the University of Notre Dame, is straightforward about the reason he believes evangelically-minded people should care deeply about learning.

"Thus, the greatest hope for Christian learning in our age, or in any age, lies not primarily in heightened activity, in better funding, or in strategizing for the tasks at hand - though all these matters play an important part. Rather, the great hope for Christian learning is to delve deeper into the Christian faith itself. And going deeper into Christian faith means, in the end, learning more about Jesus Christ."

And a few pages later, "Put most simply, for believers to be studying created things is to be studying the works of Christ."

Christology, according to the author, is the hope and rationale for all Christian learning.
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