Christian Liberal Arts articulates the practical, pedagogical, and theological reasons why Christian liberal arts colleges are distinctive in the world of American higher education. Mannoia enumerates the intrinsic and instrumental values of Christian liberal arts, and how both should forcefully shape an institution's goals. He suggests that Christian colleges should strive to help their students go beyond the extremes of dogmatism and skepticism to achieve critical commitment. Colleges must also aid their students to adjust to real world problems without sacrificing academic quality. Mannoia believes that the solution to this challenge must inevitably integrate multiple disciplines, values and learning, and theory with practice, a process from which both faculty and graduates will acquire the capacity to resolve the thorniest dilemmas facing society and the Christian community.
In the discussions concerning higher education that have filled the press in recent years, the component that's been overlooked is the liberal arts college-particularly the Christian liberal arts college, of which there are hundreds in the U.S. Jim Mannoia here fills that gap with an articulate, deeply informed, slogan-free development of the thesis that the unique task of such institutions is to produce critically committed graduates tackling real world problems. It's the best statement we have of what the Christian liberal arts college could and should contribute to the remarkable pluralism of American higher education. -- Nicholas Wolterstorff, Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology, Yale University James Mannoia's Christian Liberal Arts gives a clear and profound analysis of why the liberal arts are humanly indispensible, how they should be done, and how the Christian approach to them can help solve some of the most difficult problems facing higher education of all sorts today-secular and non-secular. He has made a unique contribution to current discussions, and one which no responsible leader in the field can afford to overlook. -- Dallas Willard, University of Southern California Provides a good resource for faculty and administrators of liberal arts colleges to interact with each other about the missions of their colleges and how to implement them. And for parents who are considering college choices for their children, and who want to explore the issues faced by those of us in Christian higher education, the book will be revealing. * Teaching Theology & Religion * Blending philosophical competence with powerful and practical insights, Mannoia has written a 'must-read' book for faculty and administrators prepared to wrestle with what it means and what it asks when educators hold both critical and Christian commitments. -- Dr. Sharon Daloz Parks, co-author, Common Fire: Leading Lives of Commitment in a Complex World