Reinterpreting Gadamer

Gadamer's Dialectical HermeneuticsLauren Swayne Barthold, associate professor of philosophy, recently published her work on the German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer, entitled Gadamer’s Dialectical Hermeneutics. The publisher, Lexington Press, describes the unique value of Barthold’s work as follows:

“Gadamer’s Dialectical Hermeneutics contributes to the growing literature that takes seriously the significance of Plato for Gadamer’s hermeneutics. What distinguishes this book is the way in which Lauren Swayne Barthold argues for a dialectic central to Gadamer’s hermeneutics, one that recalls the Platonic chorismos, or separation, between the transcendent and sensory realms. Barthold demonstrates that Gadamer, too, insisted on the ‘in-between’ nature of human understanding as characterized by Hermes: we are finite beings always striving for infinity—that which lies beyond being.

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Academic Struggles? It’s Ancient History

The following is the abstract of a paper entitled, “The Akademe’s Orphans: The ‘Other’ Athenian Schools and their Struggle to Survive in the Last Years of the Roman Republic,”  which David Wick, professor of history, is presenting next month in Athens:

david-wick_2006_08_17_09_53_10After the Athenian crisis of the early 80’s, which saw the ancient city held hostage between an Anatolian military expedition (whose leader at least claimed some intellectual credentials from the Athenian schools) and a renegade Roman with only the most cynical interest in heritage or culture, the schools of Athens – especially those less famous than Plato’s Akademe – faced a desperate challenge. Continue reading

Illuminating Esther

The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Volume 4Elaine A. Phillips, professor of Biblical studies, contributed a chapter on the book of “Esther” to the Revised Edition of The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, published in October by Zondervan.

The publisher provides the following description of the series: “Continuing a Gold Medallion Award-winning legacy, this completely revised edition—1 Chronicles – Job—in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary series puts world-class biblical scholarship in reader’s hands. Based on the original twelve-volume set that has become a staple in college and seminary libraries and pastors’ studies worldwide, this new thirteen-volume edition marshals the most current evangelical scholarship and resources. Its fifty-six contributors, thirty of whom are new, represent the best in evangelical scholarship committed to the divine inspiration, complete trustworthiness, and full authority of the Bible. The thoroughly revised features include: Comprehensive introductions; Short and precise bibliographies; Detailed outlines; Insightful expositions of passages and verses; Overviews of sections of Scripture to illuminate the big picture; Occasional reflections to give more detail on important issues; Notes on textual questions and special problems, placed close to the texts in question; Transliterations and translations of Hebrew and Greek words, enabling readers to understand even the more technical notes; A balanced and respectful approach toward marked differences of opinion.”

Science AND Fiction

photoImagine using the works of Richard Dawkins (scientist), Kurt Vonnegut (novelist) and Tom Stoppard (playwright) in the same class. This semester in one of the new core classes, “Science and Literature,” Andrew Logemann, assistant professor of English, is doing just that—and using a range of other authors as well. He’s designed it to introduce students to “works of imaginative literature with scientific topics—such as poetry, plays, short stories and novels—and works of science which make use of literary elements—for example, treatises, popular science reporting, essays, and scientific autobiography.” Students are encouraged “to consider the relationships between scientific and literary communities, appreciate the creativity and imagination involved in science, and reflect on literature’s ability to critique and assess the role of science in culture.”

Logemann begins the course with C. P. Snow’s seminal lecture on the “Two Cultures” of science and literature and then takes students through an examination of science in culture from 1800 to the present. The course is divided into three major units: Science and Ethics, Science and the Meaning of Life, and Science and Reality. Each includes texts from several genres and raises questions about the philosophical, creative, and ethical dimensions of the authors and texts under consideration. It’s no science fiction class, but rather a course that investigates “science and literature as partners in the human effort to generate knowledge about the natural world.”

French Writers Revisited

311056_coverAssistant Professor of French, Emmanuelle Vanborre, explores the works of Blanchot, Malraux and Camus in her new book Lectures blanchotiennes de Malraux et Camus, Vol. 180, released this past June  in French by Peter Lang International Academic Publishers. The work is part of a series, Currents in Comparative Romance Languages and Literatures.

A synopsis of the book follows: “In this book, the author rereads, with a Blanchotian perspective, André Malraux and Albert Camus, often considered as existentialist writers. The author uses Blanchot’s analyses to study the notions of absence and death which are central to language and literature. The problematics of witnessing and of the relation to the other are also examined, as well as the links between literature and history. The author highlights certains aspects of Malraux’s and Camus’s writings which have often been left in the shadow and which tackle essential concepts on literature, writing and death.”

Or if you prefer, here is the synopsis in French: “Dans cet ouvrage, l’auteur entreprend de relire, avec une perspective blanchotienne, André Malraux et Albert Camus, souvent considérés comme des écrivains existentialistes. L’auteur utilise les analyses de Blanchot pour étudier les notions d’absence et de mort qui sont centrales au langage et à la littérature. Les problématiques du témoignage et du rapport à l’autre sont également examinées, ainsi que les liens entre la littérature et l’Histoire. L’auteur fait ainsi ressortir certains aspects des écrits de Malraux et Camus qui ont été laissés dans l’ombre par certains critiques et qui abordent des idées essentielles sur la littérature, l’écriture et la mort.”

New Nonprofit Summer Session Gains Momentum

2008_Cooper_Casey2_2008_12_02_04_01_44Casey Cooper, assistant professor of accounting, economics and business, has begun recruiting students from throughout the CCCU for the inaugural summer session of the Nonprofit Management program. Open to both Gordon and non-Gordon students of all majors, the summer session is designed to bridge the gap for students with a passion to serve but who need to develop the necessary knowledge base, management tools and skills to help nonprofits succeed. Only 30 students will be selected for the program and required to take three courses over a 10-week session from May 23-July 29, 2011. In addition to academic credit, they will also earn a certificate in Nonprofit Management. Early notification for applicants is November 30. Cooper—along with Professor Ted Wood—launched the Center for Nonprofit Organization Studies and Philanthropy in 2008. The Nonprofit Session is the first summer program sponsored by the Center.

Watching Presidential History


By R. Judson Carlberg, President of Gordon College (Pictured here as a college student beside the flag, holding microphone.)

On November 8, 1960, John F. Kennedy was swept into office in a tight race with Richard Nixon. Fifty years later it seems the news media can’t get enough of this nostalgic story. Little wonder: it had major repercussions for the state of political life in the United States.

Like our elections last week, the pendulum swung in Washington and around the country as the party out of power suddenly gained strength and a new voice. I was there – kind of.

I was an undergraduate student at a college in the Midwest, and one of my extra-curricular roles was to serve as the news director for WETN, the college radio station. During the days before the election I had the opportunity to cover both candidates as they made campaign swings though northern Illinois. Then Vice President Nixon was invited to our campus in the Republican stronghold of Dupage County, and as this photo shows, I covered the event while the vice president ascended the stairs to give his stump speech. From the crowd that day and with the enthusiasm for his candidacy, there was little doubt in my mind that Nixon would make a strong showing on Election Day.

Then I learned that Senator Kennedy from Massachusetts was also coming to our area, not to our campus but to a small high school gymnasium several miles away. As any good reporter would do, I tried to find out why he wasn’t invited to our community as a show of impartiality. Continue reading

An Artist Talks of Devotion

God Comes to DinnerDuring Faculty Forum, Wednesday Nov. 10, 4:30 pm, Jenks Library, Tanja Butler, associate professor of visual arts, will present a talk on: “The Hospitality of God: An Artist’s Analysis of Devotional Imagery.”

To see selected work from Tanja’s portfolio, click on the picture to the right.