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Free-thinking Thomas Jefferson established the University of Virginia as a secular institution and stipulated that the university should not provide any instruction in religion. Yet over the course of the nineteenth century and into the early twentieth, religion came to have a prominent place in the university, which today maintains the largest department of religious studies of any public university in America. Given his intentions, how did Jefferson's university undergo such remarkable transformations? In God on the Grounds, esteemed religious studies scholar Harry Gamble offers the first history of religion's remarkably large role-both in practice and in study-at UVA. Jefferson's own reputation as a religious skeptic and infidel was a heavy liability to the University, which was widely regarded as injurious to the faith and morals of its students. Consequently, the faculty and Board of Visitors were eager throughout the nineteenth century to make the University more religious. Gamble narrates the early, rapid, and ongoing introduction of religion into the University's life through the piety of professors, the creation of the chaplaincy, the growth of the YMCA, the multiplication of religious services and meetings, the building of a chapel, and the establishment of a Bible lectureship and a School of Biblical History and Literature. He then looks at how-only in the mid-twentieth century-the University began to retreat from its religious entanglements and reclaim its secular character as a public institution. A vital contribution to the institutional history of UVA, God on the Grounds sheds light on the history of higher education in the United States, American religious history, and the development of religious studies as an academic discipline.
This fascinating and lively book provides the first comprehensive discussion of the production, circulation, and use of books in early Christianity. It explores the extent of literacy in early Christian communities; the relation in the early church between oral tradition and written materials; the physical form of early Christian books; how books were produced, transcribed, published, duplicated, and disseminated; how Christian libraries were formed; who read the books, in what circumstances, and to what purposes. Harry Y. Gamble interweaves practical and technological dimensions of the production and use of early Christian books with the social and institutional history of the period. Drawing on evidence from papyrology, codicology, textual criticism, and early church history, as well as on knowledge about the bibliographical practices that characterized Jewish and Greco-Roman culture, he offers a new perspective on the role of books in the first five centuries of the early church.
"This volume is a thorough and detailed study of the transmission of this letter in the early church, with a consideration of the shorter forms that circulated at various times and areas during the first centuries of the Church." - Bruce Metzger "Gamble examines the structure and composition of the New Testament letter in a way that not only contributes to the understanding of Romans, but is also of great value for Pauline studies in general. He shows himself master of the details of this intricate problem and of work on the Pauline letters as a whole." - G. D. Kilpatrick
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