Harvard has often been referred to as "godless Harvard." This is far from the truth. The fact is that Harvard is and always has been concerned with religion. This volume addresses the reasons for this. The story of religion at Harvard in many ways is the story of religion in the United States. This edition clarifies this relationship. Furthermore, the question of religion is central not only to the religious history of Harvard but to its very corporate structure and institutional evolution. The volume is divided into three parts and deals with the Formation of Harvard College in 1636 and Evolution of a Republic of Letters in Cambridge (Volume 1,"First Light"); Religion in the University, the Foundations of a Learned Ministry and the Development of the Divinity School (Volume 2, The "Augustan Age"); and the Contours of Religion and Commitment in an Age of Upheaval and Globalization (Volume 3, "Calm Rising Through Change and Through Storm"). The story of the central role played by religion in the development of Harvard is a neglected factor in Harvard's history only touched upon in a most cursory fashion by previous publications. For the first time, George H. Williams tells that story as embedded in American culture and subject to intense and continuing academic study throughout the history of the University to this day. Replete with extensive footnotes, this edition will be a treasure to future historians, persons interested in religious history and in the development of theology, at first clearly Reformed and Protestant, later ecumenical and interfaith. Further information: Volume 1 - First Light Divinings traces one of the threads in the larger story of Western education, that of the role played by religion, first defining and then weaving itself into the history of education at Harvard College and its divinity school and into the larger development of the university. This first of three volumes of that history concerns Harvard and a "culture of colleges," a kind of "first light" laid down for what would become the formation of Harvard College in 1636 and would lead to "a republic of letters" in Cambridge. This would become for the nation a model of church/community, governance, and education. This story was taken up first by rectors and presidents of the college like Increase Mather in the eighteenth century and Josiah Quincy in the nineteenth century, later by scholars such as Samuel Eliot Morison in the twentieth century. This book is the first to tell that story from the perspective of the role played by religion in the life of the university. Volume 2 - The Augustan Age: This volume picks up the story of religion at Harvard College from where it was left in the previous volume, from a state of division in theological understanding and the subsequent issues for moral order in society. Volume 2 carries us from the presidency of John Thornton Kirkland (1810-28) through that of President A(bbott) Lawrence Lowell (1909-33), into the presidency of Nathan Marsh Pusey (1953-71). It is an "Augustan Age" in that this period of years is characterized by three institutional innovations. First, the period gives birth to forces that propel Harvard College to become a private university of national and then international renown. This development is a part of the story of the separation of church and state in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and in the United States. Second, this period covers the founding and unfolding of the Harvard Divinity School, attendant as it was to the streams of intellectual history coursing through American culture. Third, the period is also about the beginning and formation of The Memorial Church, all the more striking in light of Congregational polity and the symbolic significance of the gathering of a "Church within the Walls" of Harvard College. Volume 3 - Calm Rising through Change and through Storm The title for this third volume comes from the "Ode to the Sons of Fair Harvard," by Samuel Gilman, A.B. 1811. It gives voice to life in the university as three social movements dominated the last half of the twentieth century. These were the civil rights movement, the sexual revolution, and the anti-Vietnam War protest. Each of these climaxed in the late 1960s, the effects of each reached throughout theological reflection and religious life at Harvard and beyond. Each will prove to be infused by the four theological themes identified in the previous volume: concern for comparative ecclesiology, interest in world religions, research into the psychology of religion, and commitment to a social gospel. These three movements have continued to affect our understanding of individuals and groups in society, of the nature of the person, and of the interactions of communities with one another. Reaching back to the earliest disputes in the college, these issues shaped questions of inclusion and exclusion in community, of the nature of a covenant of works and that of grace as applied to persons and social structures, and of an understanding of the nature of the renewal of persons and social order.
Divinings by George H Williams was published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht GmbH & Co KG in February 2014. The ISBN for Divinings is 9783525550564.