Christians who have pursued learning as a Christian calling have never received the attention they deserve, says Dr....



Christians who have pursued learning as a Christian calling have never received the attention they deserve, says Dr. Harbison, whose intention it is in this book to show how their work is as important as that of the saint, prophet and priest. Calling attention to the deep current of what we today would call anti-intellectualism in Christian tradition, he recognizes that its source can be found in the New Testament itself, where the man of learning is often seen as putting stumbling blocks in the way of piety. But he also points out that the most obvious thing about Jesus is that He is a teacher who is aware of His relation to a great tradition, steeped in that tradition and conscious of a call to shape it. In this sense, Jesus was a scholar as were John and Paul preeminently. They were the first to begin the task of relating their faith to the religious tradition out of which it sprang as well as to the surrounding culture in which it was to fight for a hearing. Dr. Harbison points out that the scholar has had crucial influences at various turning points in the history of Christianity. He proceeds to show which scholars provided this vital influence during the period in which the Greco-Roman civilization went into its death-throes (Jerome & Augustine); the High Middle Ages (Abelard, Thomas Aquinas, Petrarch, Valla, Pico, Colet, Erasmus) and the Reformation (Luther & Calvin). These Christian scholars come to life in the pages of this book--and what they studied and taught is made clearer and more compelling by the biographical detail which reveals the men. The reader in the Protestant tradition acquires a feeling of personal gratitude to all of these Christian thinkers who love God with their minds as well as their hearts, each of whom in his own way built on the labors of the others. Learning and devotion have joined hands at significant moments in Christian history-- and from these men we learn a new respect for the Christian scholar of our own day. Many Protestant clergy, especially, should own this book.

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 1956


Page Count: -

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1956