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John Wilson, Editor
Stranger in a Strange Land
INTELLECTUM VERO VALDE AMA
Greatly love the intellect
A year ago in this space [May/June 1998] we congratulated the first winners of an annual competition sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Christian Studies (IFACS) for books exemplifying scholarly excellence and integrative Christian thinking. And we were pleased to announce that the competition would henceforth be jointly sponsored by BOOKS & CULTURE and IFACS. In this issue, we are privileged to announce the cowinners of this year's $10,000 prize: William J. Abraham, Albert Outler Cook Professor of Wesley Studies at Southern Methodist University's Perkins School of Theology, for Canon and Criterion in Christian Theology (Oxford Univ. Press, 1998); and Roger Lundin, Clyde S. Kilby Professor of English at Wheaton College, for Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief (Eerdmans, 1998). Reviews of both books—assigned before the award was announced!—are forthcoming in B&C.
Cosponsoring this book prize is one way in which B&C is responding to the challenge posed by George Marsden in his provocative book The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship: to show how Christian thinking makes a difference. The particulars will vary from discipline to discipline, as Marsden noted, and we will be publishing an open-ended series on these themes. Several of the essays in this issue's special section, "The History Wars," for example, take up the question of providentialism and the Christian historian; Douglas Sweeney's essay-review focuses specifically on the "school" of historiography centered around Calvin College. In our July/August issue, Emily Griesinger of Azusa Pacific University will take up the question "Christian Scholarship in Literature: What Difference Could It Possibly Make?"
Christian scholars, of course, like all Christians, must operate in a culture that is at many points deeply hostile to Christian belief; this is especially so in the academic world and in the "cultural sphere" generally. See, ...