Orthodoxy & Higher Education Forthcoming Volume

Orthodox Christianity & Higher Education:

Theological, Historical, and Contemporary Reflection

Guiding Questions for Forthcoming Volume of Collected Essays

I. Historical and Theological Roots

  1. How does the Orthodox Christian tradition conceive of the relationship between faith and learning, between faith and knowledge, between faith and scholarship? 
  2.  How does the Orthodox Christian tradition view the purpose of education, and how might this guide Orthodox engagement in higher education, especially in our contemporary pluralistic setting? What does it mean to be an educated person from an Orthodox Christian perspective? 
  3.  What is the history of interactions between the Orthodox Church and the University? Why aren’t there colleges or universities in traditionally Orthodox lands that tried to be “Orthodox” in their educational structure, in the way the West did with its structures of higher education? 

II. Twentieth Century Experiences of Orthodox Undergraduate Education in the United States & Orthodox Homelands (Russia, Romania, Lebanon, Greece)

  1. How has the topic of Orthodox Christian faith and the values of higher education been discussed in Orthodox Christian undergraduate institutions of higher learning? How did this conversation affect the institutional history and outcome, if at all?
  2. Is there something particular or unique about how the Orthodox Christian tradition is/can be expressed in undergraduate education? What distinctive traits characterize such an institution?
  3. What is the recent historical trajectory of the relationship between Orthodoxy and “higher education” in traditionally Orthodox countries? What is the contemporary situation in these countries?
  4. In the United States, where there has been considerable scholarly treatment of the relationship between faith and learning for higher education among Roman Catholic and Protestant Christians, why have the Orthodox not entered the conversation? Why is there no Orthodox equivalent to J. Newman’s The Idea of a University––even though J. Pelikan before his conversion to Orthodoxy wrote a book by the same title?


III. The Vocation of the Orthodox Christian Scholar: Orthodox Scholars in the U.S. Academy Today

  1. Does being an Orthodox Christian matter in the academy? Does the faith commitment of an Orthodox Christian scholar have any bearing in his/her scholarly work? Does it matter to the institution in which she/he works?
  2. How do “theological opinions” as well as dogmatic teachings of the Orthodox Church have an impact on her/his scholarly activity?
  3. Does being an Orthodox Christian contribute to the “way of knowing” of her/his scholarly work, especially outside of religion and theology?
  4. Are Orthodox Christian scholars “ghettoized” in any way?
  5. How does the Orthodox Christian scholar relate to students, especially Orthodox? Does the faith bond and commitment create a unique pattern of mentoring such students? Does the Orthodox Church have a stake in current debates over the nature and aims of the University?