As I blogged about a few weeks ago, and I wrote about here, I recently spent a day or two at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL to participate in a special symposium on our new book Confessing History: Explorations on Christian Faith and the Historian’s Vocation (Notre Dame 2010).
While we were there the co-editors of the volume spent some time with Rob Moll, editor of Trinity Magazine, talking about the book and reflecting on the place that Trinity had in shaping a lot of our thinking about the past. Here is a snippet from Moll’s article about our visit:
For 20 years John Fea, Eric Miller, and Jay Green have been trying to figure out what it means to be a Christian historian. “We were MA students of Dr. John Woodbridge’s in early 90’s,” says Jay Green, associate professor of history at Covenant College. “All of us consider this place as our first serious engagement with history and of our professional lives as historians.” More than an introduction to the past, Woodbridge provided a way to think about history. “He taught in a way that forced us to think about historical method,” says Eric Miller, now a professor of history at Geneva College. “We were not just thinking about the past as if it is something to contact, but as a lens of interpretation and analysis. It ignited a deeper engagement.”
That engagement has now formed the basis for a book, dedicated to Woodbridge and to advancing the thought among Christian historians of what it means to practice their vocation. The former students dedicated the book to their professor here on campus last month. Confessing History: Explorations in Christian Faith and the Historian’s Vocation follows in the footsteps of George Marsden’s The Soul of the American University, which sought to provide a space for Christians in the university to practice a brand of scholarship that would be respected within academia. Confessing History tries to take that conversation farther, asking, “What implications do Christian faith and practice have for living out one’s calling as an historian? And to what extent does one’s calling as a Christian disciple speak to the nature, quality, or goals of one’s work as scholar, teacher, adviser, writer, community member, or social commentator?”
Edited by Green, Miller, and Fea, the book germinated in conversations they had as students at Trinity. “I learned to be a historian at a divinity school,” says Fea, who teaches American history at Messiah College. “I got the sense at Trinity that academic life, intellectual life was legitimate calling. We could be serving God with our minds. We all learned that here, inspired by church history program.”
Read the rest here.
I had a great time with you John!