Protestant Theory Of A University
Wilderness and Paradise in Christian Thought. The Biblical Experience of the Desert in the History of Christianity and the Paradise Theme in the Theological Idea of the University, by George H. Williams (Harper, 1962, 245 pp., $4.50), is reviewed by Paul Woolley, Professor of Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
A more delightful introduction to the corpus of Western culture could hardly be found than this stimulating and charming volume by George Williams, the erudite yet vivacious occupant of the Winn professorship of ecclesiastical history in the Harvard Divinity School.
The book has two parts. Its larger section pursues the appearance of the wilderness theme in the Scriptures and in the history of the Church. This concept is constantly brought into relationship with the somewhat less frequently used figure of the paradise, the enclosed garden of God’s people. A task of this type can only be successfully accomplished by one who possesses the most comprehensive learning, as George Williams eminently does. He skillfully takes his reader on an entrancing excursion through the Bible and through what Western culture has done with the biblical theme. His knowledge of the early Fathers, of the medieval scholars, of the Reformers, both radical and classical, and of Puritan Protestantism stands out on every page. But this is not a compilation of items from the past. It is a living story of the way in which Christ’s followers have interpreted their status and their path in this world in these particular biblical themes and figures.
The second section of the book is even more exciting, since it is an interpretation of the modern problem of the relation of culture ...1
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