A Hermeneutic of Faith
In The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship, George Marsden argues convincingly that the "rules of the academic game" in American higher education should be changed to make room for perspectives explicitly informed by Christian theology and a Christian world-view. Just as there are places at the table for Marxist or feminist views, Marsden contends, so should there be places for Christian points of view. Judging from the heated reactions in The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times to Marsden's earlier work on this topic, The Soul of the American University, this would indeed seem to be an "outrageous" idea. How it came to be viewed as "outrageous" and why Christian scholars themselves are either unwilling or unable to "come out of the closet" and think deeply and openly about the relevance of faith to their scholarship is the focus of The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship.
I read this book while vacationing in the High Sierras, surrounded by blue sky, clean air, and lots of tall trees. I read passages to my husband, Don, a committed Christian scholar, who began his career as a physicist, then became a social psychologist, and who has been teaching for over 20 years at the graduate level in the academic mainstream. What I discovered in our discussions is something I always suspected: that while our commitment to Christ is the same, the differences in our disciplines, the fact that he is a professor of management in a secular university and I am an English professor in a Christian university, causes us to think differently about this issue.
My husband's research right now is focused on organizational design theory in business, government, and the nonprofit sectors. What he is trying to do, as I understand it, is to critique economic theories of the firm that dominate the field and that do not take into account altruistic, religious, or spiritual motivations. Is this Christian scholarship? If by "Christian scholarship" we mean scholarship written ...