Hurrying Toward Zion: Universities, Divinity Schools, and American Protestantism

Cherry, Conrad. Hurrying Toward Zion: Universities, Divinity Schools, and American Protestantism. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1995.

Cherry's history of the rise and development of university-related divinity schools from 1880 until the 1980s offers a carefully constructed picture of a major movement in theological education. He offers an appreciative account of the visionary leadership of the movement's founders and their successors while describing the ambiguities inherent in a vision of universities in the United States using liberal Protestant religion to shape the wider culture in its own self-image and while also guarding the rights of all persons in the nation. Cherry also recounts the tensions arising from within these schools which see themselves as both sophisticated intellectual centers and training institutions for clergy. His account utilizes a four-fold thematic structure of specialization, professionalization, social reform, and pluralism -- themes which he believes also influenced all American higher education -- and he synthesizes considerable information about the relation among social change, liberal Protestantism, and higher education. Especially noteworthy is Cherry's consideration of issues of class structure and liberal U.S. Protestantism. (KA)