Founding the Fathers

9780812243192: Hardback
Release Date: 10th May 2011

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 576

Series Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion

University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.

Founding the Fathers

Early Church History and Protestant Professors in Nineteenth-Century America

Founding the Fathers explores the development of early Christian history and theology as a discipline in four nineteenth-century Protestant seminaries in the United States. Archival sources reveal how professors adjusted German scholarship to fit Americans' evangelical assumptions and to make the Catholic past more palatable.

Hardback / £69.00

Through their teaching of early Christian history and theology, Elizabeth A. Clark contends, Princeton Theological Seminary, Harvard Divinity School, Yale Divinity School, and Union Theological Seminary functioned as America's closest equivalents to graduate schools in the humanities during the nineteenth century. These four Protestant institutions, founded to train clergy, later became the cradles for the nonsectarian study of religion at secular colleges and universities. Clark, one of the world's most eminent scholars of early Christianity, explores this development in Founding the Fathers: Early Church History and Protestant Professors in Nineteenth-Century America.

Based on voluminous archival materials, the book charts how American theologians traveled to Europe to study in Germany and confronted intellectual currents that were invigorating but potentially threatening to their faith. The Union and Yale professors in particular struggled to tame German biblical and philosophical criticism to fit American evangelical convictions. German models that encouraged a positive view of early and medieval Christianity collided with Protestant assumptions that the church had declined grievously between the Apostolic and Reformation eras. Trying to reconcile these views, the Americans came to offer some counterbalance to traditional Protestant hostility both to contemporary Roman Catholicism and to those historical periods that had been perceived as Catholic, especially the patristic era.

Introduction: Higher Education and Religion in Nineteenth-Century United States

PART I. THE SETTING: CONTEXTUALIZING THE STUDY OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY IN AMERICA
1. The Institutions and the Professors
2. Infrastructure: Teaching, Textbooks, Primary Sources, and Libraries

PART II. HISTORY AND HISTORIOGRAPHY
3. Defending the Faith: European Theories and American Professors
4. History and Church History
5. Development and Decline: Challenges to Historiographical Categories

PART III. TOPICS OF EARLY CHRISTIAN HISTORY IN NINETEENTH-CENTURY ANALYSIS
6. Polity and Practice
7. Roman Catholicism
8. Asceticism, Marriage, Women, and the Family
9. The Uses of Augustine
Conclusion

Appendix: Student Notetakers
List of Abbreviations and Archival Sources
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Acknowledgments

Elizabeth A. Clark is John Carlisle Kilgo Professor of Religion and Professor of History at Duke University. She is the author of numerous books, including Reading Renunciation: Asceticism and Scripture in Early Christianity and History, Theory, Text: Historians and the Linguistic Turn.

"Founding the Fathers is sweeping in its view of the history of American higher education, its comprehensive sense of the study of religion, and its firm grasp of the transnational scope of nineteenth-century theological learning. An original and substantial contribution to both American intellectual history and the history of early Christian studies."—Leigh Eric Schmidt, Harvard University

"This is a genuinely pioneering work from one of the most engaged historians of early Christianity. Elizabeth A. Clark's lucid exposition reveals a mastery of scholarship on German, British, and American educational curricula and intellectual life."—Mark Vessey, University of British Columbia