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Teaching as Believing

Faith in the University

Chris Anderson

Publication Year: 2004

The public university classroom is a place where socialization still occurs: it's where students learn to be citizens of the world. Having attended to political correctness and multi-culturalism, universities are now facing the issue of spirituality in their quest to educate the whole person. In this book, Chris Anderson takes up this task by carefully exploring how a professor of faith can help a public university accomplish its pluralistic mission. Anderson illustrates how the study of secular literature throws fresh light on the ways in which the Bible can be read. He also deftly shows how a sympathetic study of the Bible trains secular readers for understanding the abiding significance of the Western literary canon as a kind of scripture. Anderson thus gives readers a book that is as much about the experience of a faithful teacher and the proper ends of education as it is about discovering the right ways to read texts, be they sacred or secular.

Published by: Baylor University Press


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p. ix

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p. xi

To Parker Palmer, for his example and encouragement. To Fr. Andy Dufner, S.J., Colleen Dean, and the Nestucca community, for sanctuary and guidance. To the faculty and students of Mount Angel Seminary and the monks of Mount Angel Abbey, for all they’ve taught me, and to the diaconal community of the Archdiocese of Portland and St. Mary’s...

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pp. 1-18

On Holy Saturday, Barb and I and the kids went hiking in the old growth forest of the Drift Creek Wilderness, not far from Waldport. It was a wonderful day, a day of healing. The fir and the spruce were as huge as we longed for, bigger around than two of us could reach, and they stretched out as far as the eye could see. There was that sense you get in...

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1: Teaching Genesis as Story

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pp. 21-46

In the beginning of The Idea of the University, Cardinal Newman considers the possibility that even when the university is sponsored by the church, a “line” exists between the way of the university and the way of faith. For a moment he identifies a clear boundary: It will be said, that there are different kinds or spheres of Knowledge,...

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2: Teaching the Ecology of Mark

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pp. 47-75

This chapter continues the discussion of the line that Newman momentarily considers between the way of the university and the way of faith. As I argued in the first chapter, reading Genesis as story not only honors that line but makes it even clearer. Ricouer’s theory helps unthicken the images in these ancient texts, and there’s a way in which this ...

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3: The Odyssey as Eucharist

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pp. 79-104

I began my discussion of “The Way of the University,” in chapter 1, with a quotation from Newman’s The Idea of the University , but, as I admitted then, I took it out of context. As soon as Newman considers the idea that “a university has a line of its own,” that it has its own “sphere” of knowledge, he denies it: It will be said [. . .] that a University has a line of its own. It ...

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4: The Confessions as a Model for the Academic Life

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pp. 105-135

My second experience of the congruence of faith and reason takes place the next term, in winter, when I’m teaching Augustine’s Confessions. Teaching the Odyssey I had fallen in, experiencing the closeness of literature to the spiritual. What Augustine makes clear is that this plunging in and this immediacy of experience is what Christianity affirms, explicitly,...

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5: Moving Beyond the University

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pp. 139-172

Chapters 1 and 2 were grounded in Newman’s momentary concession that a “line” exists between the way of the university and the way of faith.The last two chapters have been grounded in his rejection of that idea. God is too big, God is everywhere, he says, overflowing, and so nothing is free of his presence and his urgings and his structures, not even the...

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6: Living the Difference

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pp. 173-193

In the last chapter, I put on the alb that I took off in the second when I returned to the university from the seminary, the alb the color of the oak grove, of the grass by Amos’s grave. I put it on in the church, across Monroe Street, but I put it on, and though I’m looking back at the university from the other side of the street, from inside the Eucharist, this...

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pp. 195-204

What I’ve done in this book is used my own experience to reflect on the experience of all Christian faculty who finally have to cross the line in their teaching and their faith. The line is hard to define but nonetheless real and good—good for us both as intellectuals and as Christians. Without it, the necessary and creative tension between faith and reason...


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pp. 205-223

Works Cited

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pp. 225-230


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pp. 231-234


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E-ISBN-13: 9781602580367
E-ISBN-10: 1602580367
Print-ISBN-13: 9781932792034
Print-ISBN-10: 1932792031

Page Count: 230
Publication Year: 2004

Edition: 1st

OCLC Number: 70802572
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Teaching as Believing

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Subject Headings

  • Anderson, Chris, 1955-.
  • Oregon State University.
  • Christian college teachers -- Religious life.
  • Catholic teachers -- Religious life.
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