Exiles From Eden: Religion and the Academic Vocation in America

Schwehn, Mark. Exiles From Eden: Religion and the Academic Vocation in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Schwehn argues that religious notions of knowledge, work, and community, though once dominant in higher education, have been replaced by a secular concern for generating and transmitting knowledge. He concludes that the academic profession's emphasis on research and higher education’s focus on transmitting knowledge leads to a sense of alienation among students and faculty alike. Truth is no longer pursued for the sake of public good; rather, knowledge has become a means to power. “A purely technological education fractures community...by obscuring the social dimensions of knowledge and by replacing the quest for truth with a quest for power.” According to Schwehn, ideas about community from Christian traditions can provide a useful tool in guiding the academic vocation towards a more socially-conscious practice. (AS)