From John Henry Newman to
the Multiversity and Beyond

JIS XXIII 2011: 1-18


Oskar Gruenwald
Institute for Interdisciplinary Research

This essay proposes that the crisis of the contemporary university presents a unique challenge and opportunity to re-imagine the university as a quest for truth, reflecting John Henry Newman’s ideal of a “wholeness of vision” and “enlargement of the mind” in educating the whole person. Higher education can become more meaningful and relevant by combining a strong core curriculum in the liberal arts with vocational and career preparation, interdisciplinary engagement, and consilience between Athens and Jerusalem as modeled in the science-ethics-religion dialogue. A rediscovery of natural law and the moral law, universals and absolutes, which guide human aspirations for justice, fairness, and community, can counter the postmodern temptation for subjectivity and disconnection. The most cogent remedy for student boredom and faculty apathy is intellectual diversity for a renewed sense of excitement in exploring insights across the disciplines regarding ourselves and the world. This calls also for superseding the anti-liberal strictures of political correctness, rededicating the university to its essential task of free inquiry.

JIS XXIII 2011: 19-40


Charles A. McDaniel & Vance E. Woods
Baylor University

Martin Luther and John Henry Newman sought to re-envision university education at unique times in history. While Newman set out to architect a truly Catholic University that co-opted facets of the Protestant ethic without falling into the “heresies” of Lutheranism, Luther and his circle of gifted academics sought to craft a distinctly Evangelical concept of the university that would shield students from the corruption of worldly values thought to have infiltrated the Catholic Church. Those concerned with ethical, comprehensive education for all face similar challenges today. How do we create an educational system of universal accessibility without discarding the moral foundation provided by a faith-based model? Luther’s and Newman’s ideas suggest that private colleges and universities will serve students and society well where they remain true to their theological traditions, while public institutions contribute by taking seriously the challenge of moral education and taking advantage of available religious resources. If the basic dilemma in the postmodern university is the lack of balance between heart and mind–the moral and the pragmatic, “ought” and “is”–then Newman’s dialectical approach in particular offers an excellent first step toward the restoration of that balance.

JIS XXIII 2011: 41-57


Robert C. Christie
DeVry University

The evolution of scientism, relativism, and the resultant fragmentation of knowledge over the past century have led to a crisis in contemporary university education. John Henry Newman, a nineteenth-century philosopher of education, a major figure in educational theory and applied research, and author of the classic work on education, The Idea of a University, faced similar problems in his time, and his work is valuable in addressing contemporary dilemmas. Newman’s philosophy of mind and his vision of the unity of knowledge, which reflects an aesthetic dimension, and the resultant essential role of theology in education, are key elements for re-imagining the university. An analysis of Newman’s spirited Eighth Discourse anchors this retrospective and commends his work to higher education today by recalling an earlier ideal of the integration of all disciplines.

JIS XXIII 2011: 58-76


Lanney Mayer
University of La Verne

Modern educational traditions have used empirical parameters that presume faith and learning are incommensurate. Consequently, faith commitments and academic learning must be integrated after the fact. The postmodern critique challenges all educators to interrogate these dichotomies and offers a way for educators with faith in science or religion to initiate a project to construct ways of knowing that envision quantitative knowledge as part of a larger qualitative enterprise. This essay suggests that Mennonite communitarianism, Roman Catholic sacramentalism, and Jesus’ parables provide opportunities for just such a project. They offer correctives to modernistic Reformation models and authenticate ways in which certainty, ambiguity, the social construction of knowledge, and the central role of ethics in epistemology are meaningfully represented both qualitatively and quantitatively. Educators within communities of faith have a unique opportunity to draw upon postmodern insights in ways that might prove foundational to such a more broadly conceived higher education.

JIS XXIII 2011: 77-96


Joshua D. Reichard
Oxford Graduate School

As the interdisciplinary movement gains momentum, Christian scholars need to reflect on viable interdisciplinary methods rooted in faith-learning integration. The humanities provide a starting point for such a method. The humanities were divorced from the natural sciences in the modern era and, thus, aspects of reality that the humanities represent were alienated from academic conversations. This essay compares Frank Gaebelein’s approach in the modern context with William Dennison’s methods in the postmodern perspective. Both sought to develop an intentional method for Christian interdisciplinary studies. By synthesizing the best aspects of Gaebelein and Dennison, the humanities emerge as a potential focal point for epistemological pluralism or “multiple ways of knowing.” Such methodological openness, balanced by the unity and universality of truth, enables Christian scholars to integrate knowledge from the humanities while transcending both modern positivism and postmodern relativism.

JIS XXIII 2011: 97-116


Mitchell Langbert
Brooklyn College, CUNY

U.S. business schools’ commitment to positive social science has led to their excluding ethics from the core curriculum. In place of ethics, management scholars have adopted either nihilism or, more frequently, a subliminal virtue ethics. The nihilistic approach has influenced some executives, contributing to the business world’s moral malaise. The literature on managerial competency is an important example of the subliminal approach. The competency-based approach to teaching management has gained increasing recognition as a research paradigm and a pedagogical tool. But it omits justice from its catalogue of virtues. Justice ought to serve as the foundation of managerial competence. Because Aristotle’s approach to ethics is compatible with the existing literature, it can be integrated with the instructional model adopted in some business schools. A competency-based ethics founded on justice and natural law would integrate ethics with the business curriculum and be more effective than positivism in fostering ethical business behavior.

JIS XXIII 2011: 117-136


Thi Kim Quy Nguyen
University of London

With the triumph of the current neo-liberal discourse, many university leaders worldwide have embraced an entrepreneurial model as the answer for change, turning the university from a public good into a commodity. Vietnam, a developing country in Southeast Asia, has become an active participant in this trend. This essay explores how neo-liberal discourse has shaped higher education in both developed and developing countries, with a focus on Vietnam. The expansion in Vietnam of private universities, the introduction of tuition fees, and the corporatization of higher education are all developments associated with trends toward marketization. Given the pervasiveness of globalization and the neo-liberal agenda, serious consequences will follow if the traditional role of the university is sacrificed to the invisible hand of the market. This is confirmed by ongoing trends and outcomes of university reform agendas in different parts of the world, including Vietnam. There is a need to recover the idea of the university as a public good, focusing on academic freedom, autonomy, and human development.

JIS XXIII 2011: 137-164


Jerry Bergman
Northwest State College

Advancement of all forms of knowledge depends on the right to freely search for the truth and the unhindered ability to disseminate the results. For this reason, academic freedom is universally regarded as a central requirement of a free society and a prerequisite for social and scientific advancement. Although college instructors are considered to have more academic freedom than high school teachers, litigation does not support this claim in the area of religious speech. There is little difference in legal rulings at any academic level. In all cases when information interpreted as favorable to a theistic worldview was presented in the classroom, the ruling went against the instructor, while in all cases critical of Intelligent Design and/or theism, U.S. courts ruled in favor of the teacher. In all cases it was the teacher who appealed to the courts claiming that academic freedom was denied, not the institution. Ruling that academic freedom does not reside in the teacher, but rather in the institution, goes against the very definition and purpose of academic freedom.

JIS XXIII 2011: 165-186


Bruce N. Lundberg
Colorado State University-Pueblo

The subjects of mathematics are gifts of the mind which help humans house, heal, lead, feed, comfort, protect, and inspire each other. They can facilitate faithful agreements about nature and action across ages and cultures. Since mathematics is often entangled with truth claims, technologies, and theories of reality, both trivializations and apotheoses of mathematics can deform science, degrade nature, and diminish humans. The love of life compels the search for a theology of mathematics: an understanding of mathematical activities, artifacts, and auras in their relations to existence. This essay proposes a theology of mathematics which can say both “yes” and “no” to the reign of mathematics, to guard the dignity and humility of human thought, and support the stewardship and enjoyment of nature, culture, and community. In theology, the doctrine of the Trinity reveals both aptness and limits in mathematical understanding. In mathematics, Plato’s “no one ignorant of geometry enter here,” can either support or subvert Christ’s “no one comes to the Father except through me.”