Benne, “Keeping the Soul in Christian Higher Education”

Here is another entry in new books about Christianity and the American university, but Roanoke.jpegthis time with a historical (as well as Lutheran) orientation: Keeping the Soul in Christian Higher Education: A History of Roanoke College, by Robert Benne of the College’s Religion and Philosophy department. The publisher is Eerdmans and the description is here.

Many colleges with historical church ties experience significant tension between the desire to compete in the secularized world of higher education and the desire to remain connected to their religious commitments and communities. In this history of one such school, Roanoke College, Robert Benne not only explores the school’s 175-year tradition of educational excellence but also lays bare its complicated and ongoing relationship with its religious heritage.

Benne examines the vision of ten of Roanoke’s presidents and how those visions played out in college life. As he tells the college’s story, Benne points to specific strengths and weaknesses of Roanoke’s strategies for keeping the soul in higher education and elaborates what other Christian colleges can learn from Roanoke’s long quest.