Holy Minded: American Evangelicals and Intellectual Life
Molly Worthen, Assistant Professor of History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Evangelicals have an authority problem. Torn between the demands of dogma, reason, and spiritual experience ever since the origins of their movement in the Reformation, evangelicals struggle — more than most people — to reconcile competing sources of intellectual authority at once. This ongoing crisis has produced a culture that observers and believers alike have called anti-intellectual. Yet evangelical defenders insist that their approach to education and critical inquiry is no more biased or blinkered than that of secular thinkers; if anything, it is more honest. An examination of how 20th-century American evangelicals have navigated the straits between religious and secular authorities in the realms of science, history, and worship suggests that this crisis is both evangelicals’ greatest bane and an abiding source of strength. (Worthen)
Molly Worthen is an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her most recent book, <em>Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism</em> (Oxford, 2013) examines American evangelical intellectual life since 1945. She writes about religion and politics for the <em>New York Times</em>, <em>Slate</em>, and other publications.
On April 18, BCSR presents a workshop with Professor Worthen with a response by David Hollinger, Preston Hotchkis Professor Emeritus of History. Participants are asked to read Professor Worthen’s paper, “The Bible Alone: The Sola Scriptura Problem in the Study of American Evangelicalism.” To receive the paper, contact firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, April 16.
The Berkeley Public Forum on Religion is a program of the Berkeley Center for the Study of Religion (BCSR). Co-presented by the History Department’s New Voices in American History Series.
Introduction and Response: David Hollinger, Professor Emeritus of History, UC Berkeley