By Philip S. Francis, Randall Balmer

Foreword via Randall Balmer

The tales amassed in those pages lay naked the ability of the humanities to unsettle and remodel deeply ingrained spiritual ideals and practices. This publication grounds its narrative within the money owed of eighty two Evangelicals who underwent a sea-change of spiritual identification in the course of the intervention of the humanities. "There by no means could were an undoing of my conservative Evangelical worldview" confides one younger guy, "without my come upon with the transcendent paintings of Mark Rothko on that wet afternoon in London's Tate Modern." "The characters in The Brothers Karamazov began to believe like kin to me," reviews someone else, "and the doubts of Ivan Karamazov slowly saturated my soul." As their tales spread, the themes of the learn describe the humanities as resources of, by way of turns, "defamiliarization," "comfort in uncertainty," "a stand-in for religion" and a "surrogate transcendence." Drawing on memoirs, interviews, and box notes, Philip Salim Francis explores the complicated interrelationship of faith and paintings within the smooth West, and provides a massive new source for on-going debates in regards to the position of the humanities in schooling and social life.

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But I don’t miss it. ” In other narratives, Bob Jones alumni describe aesthetic experience as an “unsettling force,” allowing them to break away from “organized religion entirely” or to move away from “fundamentalist religion” into what they describe as a “true life of faith” replete with mystery, half-​knowledge, and uncertainty. Note on Self-​Accounts There are obviously complex hermeneutical issues that attend the study of a self-​generated archive, particularly with regard to the fraught genre of memoir.

I asked Jones if he ever worried that the arts might be a Trojan Horse for outsider influence at the College, or if he lost any sleep over the tension that some people, albeit simplistically, imagine there to be between an unbending system of beliefs and the imaginative freedom entailed in artistic creation. He paused and looked at me. But before he could say a word, as if on cue, music swelled and the chapel filled with a baroquely effusive song about the love of Jesus. I returned to my seat, across the aisle from Jones.

We pause for a moment on the trail, surveying the Klamath Valley below. The landscape is quilted with hoary pines. He says, in effect, that he hopes to help students to tame for themselves the wild need for absolute certainty in matters of religious belief, a need which has been bred in them from an early age. He wants to help them understand that religious doubt is not a reflection of moral depravity. He hopes to guide them to resources and models that will help them learn to dwell in the mystery of unknowing.

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