Sunday Night Odd and Ends

A few things online that caught my attention this week:

Geoffrey Kabaservice reviews Randy Boyagoda, Richard John Neuhaus: A Life in the Public Square

Dressing up as Indians

St. Chesterson?

The origins of African-American politics

Robert Putnam and the American Dream

17th century New England “sermon culture

Does the United States still have citizens?

Prayer and Nebraska football

University presidents tackle the crisis in the humanities

Abraham Lincoln’s travel reimbursement

The other Selma marches

How the game Monopoly became what it is today

Mark Noll reviews two new books on American evangelicalism

Evangelical academic publishing

A Dr. Seuss museum is coming to Springfield, Massachusetts

Historians discuss The History Manifesto

A historical reflection on sin

The problem with single-perspective narratives in history classes

2 thoughts on “Sunday Night Odd and Ends

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  2. Welcome back, John. You were missed.

    17th century New England “sermon culture”

    Q: Your argument hinges on the idea that seventeenth-century Puritans lived in a “sermon culture.” Can you elaborate on what that encompassed and how it worked?

    —“I use the term “sermon culture” to indicate not just the sermon texts themselves but also the practices and phenomena involved in the production and reception of those texts. I knew that people sometimes took notes on the preaching they heard, and I thought this might be a better way to explore the aural experience of the sermon, even though I wasn't sure I could even find such notebooks.

    Essentially, I went to the archive to be a fly on the wall and to eavesdrop (as it were) on the minister speaking, but I soon became more interested in the auditor listening.”

    Fascinating. I'm of the opinion that the “real” John Locke means little; it is only how he was understood [or appropriated] by the Founders that we need to learn.

    We can easily say the same of Jonathan Edwards. Neither Locke nor Edwards are on the level of an Aquinas, who is still referenced and studied today for his timelessness, not timeliness.

    As for the circling of the academic establishment's self-serving wagons in

    the bolder challenge comes from Roger Scruton's latest

    that the university has turned against its origin as the conservatory of civilization and become its wrecking ball.

    “Universities exist to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and culture that will prepare them for life, while enhancing the intellectual capital upon which we all depend. Evidently the two purposes are distinct. One concerns the growth of the individual, the other our shared need for knowledge. But they are also intertwined, so that damage to the one purpose is damage to the other. That is what we are now seeing, as our universities increasingly turn against the culture that created them, withholding it from the young.

    That purpose has been central to the educational tradition that created Western civilization. Greek paideia regarded the cultivation of citizenship as the core of the curriculum. Religious practice and moral education remained a fundamental part of university studies throughout the Middle Ages, and the Renaissance ideal of the virtuoso was the inspiration for the emerging curriculum of the studia humaniores. The university that emerged from the Enlightenment did not relax the moral reins but regarded scholarship as a disciplined way of life, whose rules and pro­cedures set it apart from everyday affairs. However, it provided those everyday affairs with the long-term perspective without which no human activity makes proper sense…


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