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The Messianic Character of American Education Hardcover – January 1, 1995

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 410 pages
  • Publisher: Ross House Books (January 1, 1995)
  • ISBN-10: 1879998068
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879998063
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,417,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 74 people found the following review helpful By "doctorfred" on September 28, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book is a very complete history of public education in America. It includes biographical sketches of every influential thinker including Europeans who have influenced U.S public education. The author is a theologian as well as a scholar in the field of education. He places education in the United States in the greater context of ancient and medieval educational theory and practice. His insightful philosophical observations in his introductory materials and his epilogical comments are worth the price of the book. Any one taking the standard undergraduate course in "history of education" would greatly profit by using this book as parallel reading. Any one seeking to know why the American public school system, once dominated by Protestant theology and ethics, has become theologically "neutral" and dominated by a humanist theology and ethic should consider Rushdoony's point of view.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Doug Erlandson TOP 100 REVIEWER on February 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This book, originally published more than 50 years ago (1963), is a compendium of information on the history of educational philosophy in America. It vastly expands on some of the ideas Rushdoony presented in his earlier work, "Intellectual Schizophrenia" (1961). Whether you agree with all of Rushdoony's conclusions concerning the nature of American education in general or what he says about specific figures, or, in particular, whether you agree with his position as a Christian Reconstructionist, Rushdoony makes many perceptive points regarding the philosophy of American educators and philosophers such as Horace Mann, William James, John Dewey, J.B. Watson, Edward Lee Thorndike, George Counts, and others. Although some of his analyses may be superficial (but going into greater depth would have meant either writing an unwieldy book or ignoring many of the currents that have shaped educational philosophy in America), they still function both as an overview and as a decent critique of the various positions examined.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By D. T. Kleven on February 20, 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a thick book: 400 pages, every one densely packed with names and philosophies of education covering the last 200 years in American education. This book appears on several reading lists (for example in Doug Wilson's Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning), as a devastating critique of the philosophy of the American education system.

This book is "an historical and analytical study of the philosophies of education in state education in the United States." (x) He starts out with a couple of chapters of historical introduction, stretching all the way back to Rome and then later Scholasticism, and explains how "the university gradually developed its concept of academic freedom, that is, an independent authority for reason and scholarship which made it responsible to none other, and its concept of the redemptive, authoritative and power-endowing nature of knowledge, of reason, of university and school." (17)

He then jumps into the American history of the philosophy of education, and doesn't come up for air until the end of the book. 21 of the 28 chapters are each devoted to a particular figure in this history, starting with Horace Mann, and including men like William Harris, Francis Parker, Wiliam James, G. Stanley Hall, and John Dewey.

Each chapter is heavy on original source quotes, so you can read for yourself the sort of language and philosophy that has shaped education in America. This is important, because if you couldn't see it with your own eyes, you would be tempted to write Rushdoony off as a crackpot conspiracy theorist.
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12 of 26 people found the following review helpful By pylgrym on May 7, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Four stars, but only because I am an amillennialist - not a theonomist or postmillennialist. Welcome to Post-christian America, and check the messages at the truthtapes dot com website by Brother Gene Breed - especially his recent series on the harlot church of these last days and her judgment in the Book of revelation .... But I am a sovereign Grace calvinist, and here and especially here in this irrefutable masterwork is where Brother Rousas shines brightest, in my humble opinion... and where I agree with him the heartiest. For man in his best state is altogether vanity; where unregenerate men hold sway they will vainly attempt to supplant the Triune God with all manner of inventions. Rushdoony takes the likes of Utopian Horace Mann to task, and spares not the likes of Humanist John Dewey. I first found and, riveted, read this book in its entirety in one sitting (they ran me out!) in the library of Washington University, St. Louis where and while enrolled in a philosophy of education course back in 1977....
The instructor of the course gave me an "A" but never returned the paper I wrote, refuting his anti-authoritarianism. This "Rush" is a quick and an easy read, but a read that you will want to savor again and again and use for direct quotes in your fave online op-ed forums. Highest recommendation.
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12 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Alan J. Richard on July 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book, while essential reading for anyone attempting to understand the form of fascism that has gripped America over the past two decades, has little to offer either the serious scholar of American education or the devout Christian. Its argument, resting on a flawed understanding of the country's founding documents and an extremely narrow view of its history, relies on the reader's presumed preference for a freedom that is undermined by the very "solution" it implies. While articulate, this is ultimately a work of deception and untruth.
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