Yale’S Historic Role

Yale and the Ministry. A History of Education for the Christian Ministry at Yale from the Founding in 1701, by Roland H. Bainton. Harper and Brothers, New York, 1957, 297 pp., $5.00.

The title, Yale and the Ministry, does not do justice to the scope of this book. It is that—but it is much more. Virtually everything connected with Yale’s theological education, even before the school was formally organized in 1701, is here included. Attention is paid to libraries, curricula, costs, faculty and students. Nor are the theological emphases neglected. But, in addition to all that, which could properly be expected, it is a veritable history of New England theology and its effect on Yale as well as Yale’s on it. For example, Bainton acknowledges that Horace Bushnell, though a minister fifty miles away, influenced Yale students more, probably, than any of the faculty. Nor is the literary influence of Jonathan Edwards ever dropped from sight throughout this work.

Two things have come to be associated with Professor Bainton’s writings which are well illustrated in the present work. First, there is his anecdotal, interesting presentation of the subject matter without his becoming shallow or losing touch with great thought. Fluent and facile in his brief summarizations of the systems of various thinkers, he is sometimes inaccurate, but generally is amazingly deft. And, secondly, there are his delightful line drawings, which exceed thirty in Yale and the Ministry. Many of these have the slightest hint of caricature which gives an interpretive twist to them. An incidental feature of this volume is that the author is himself the Titus Street Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale Divinity School as well as a graduate, ...

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