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A Theology of Higher Education$
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Mike Higton

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199643929

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199643929.001.0001

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(p.43) 2 Berlin
A Theology of Higher Education

Mike Higton

Oxford University Press

This chapter, on the University of Berlin, argues that the Wissenschaftsideologie that surrounded the new university’s creation was, in part, an attempted repair of the broken and disputatious world of Christian learning. That is, the Romantic theorists Wissenschaft appropriated a tradition-specific Christian vision of free, peaceable exchange (the economy of gift and reception in the Body of Christ) and sought to remake the whole world of learning on the basis of that vision. That remaking required, however, that they revise or abandon anything that could not be made to fit with the proper freedom of such peaceable exchange, including the heteronomous commitment of learners to particular traditions of religious thought and practice. The account they provided of the university – indeed, the account they provided of reason itself – was therefore inescapably both theological and anti-theological.

Keywords:   University of Berlin, Wissenschaft, reason, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Friedrich Schiller, idea of a university

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