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The Christian College: A History of Protestant Higher Education in America (RenewedMinds) 2nd Edition
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Reviewed by Gary C. Shaw, M.S.Ed., Old Dominion University
The introduction by Mark A. Noll to The Christian College: A history of Protestant Higher Education in America (Ringenberger, 2006) stands well as a pamphlet in its own right. In sketching the developments of the distinctly Protestant sector of American higher education, Noll brings to light intellectual traditions and the required changes that were made to them over time from Puritan beginnings to modern day. Mutation, modifications, and adaptation were all tactics used to navigate secular forces in bringing the Christian college over the span of time to fruition as we see it today; carefully balanced between free academic inquiry and committed theological loyalty.
In discussing the colonial period, the Christian college as demarcated from any other type of higher education institution, be it pubic, private, secular; or diverse in any way, by sex or race, did not exist. Thus Protestant Christianity dominated education in America during this period, and as such may be fairly and equitably described in several other historical works. Two of which give more detail of this era are A History of American Higher Education (Thelin, 2004), and The History of Higher Education (Goodchild & Wechsler, Eds., 1997). This goes as well for the following chapter covering the old-school philosophy of education prior to the Civil War.Read more ›
One of William Ringenberg's most insightful and useful contributions is his list of developments that seemed to encourage the secularization of colleges and universities in America--from Harvard on down. This list makes you think, and it is a practical caveat for those involved in Christian higher education today, or for that matter any other kind of Christian nonprofit endeavor.
I'd recommend this book to anyone, and I am glad it has been reprinted with new chapters.