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A Wretched Defense for the Humanities

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 Lutheran education is historically embedded in Luther and, particularly, Melanchthon’s commitment to the liberal arts, humanism, the humanities, and the service of these studies to the relevance of God’s word.  In June, 2013, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences released their blue ribbon panel report on the state of the humanities called “The Heart of the Matter.”  Lutheran educators for all grades and ages may be interested in the report and responses to it.  The report received several reactions and critiques, many available on the usual search engines.  This link takes you to an essay by Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, titled “A Wretched Defense of the Humanities,” selected here not as an endorsement of Wood’s ideas but as a starter response that touches on several issues with links to other views. Those of us in Lutheran higher education might ruminate about any distinct mission (in both left-hand and right-hand kingdom senses) that the Lutheran university has in the humanities.  For instance, might our version of a biblically humanistic education offset today’s instrumental approach to majors and degrees? Complement that approach?  Or perhaps both?

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