Consider No Evil: Two Faith Traditions and the Problem of Academic Freedom in Religious Higher Education
Brandon G. Withrow and Menachem Wecker
Cascade Books, July 10, 2014
Cover image: “The Death of Socrates” (Jacques-Louis David, 1787)
Even causal acquaintances of the Bible know that the Truth shall set you free, but in the pursuit of that Truth in higher education–particularly in Christian or Jewish seminaries–there are often many casualties suffered along the way. What happens when faculty and students at religious academies butt heads with senior staff or dare to question dogmas or sacred cows that the institution cherishes? Consider No Evil examines seminaries affiliated with two faith traditions—Christian and Jewish—and explores the challenges, as well as prospective solutions, confronting those religious academies when they grapple with staying true to their traditions, as they interpret them, while providing an arena that incubates honest and serious scholarship.
“…fascinating, informative and enlightening.”
~ David Yonke, Toledo Faith & Values (a local hub of the Religion News Service).
“Consider No Evil is a gift to scholars, clergy, and students alike. It provides historical, social, and personal context to clarify the thorny issues surrounding academic freedom at religious institutions of higher learning. With great nuance and insight, Withrow and Wecker promote transparency and forthrightness as a means of avoiding tension between scholars and their institutions.”
~ Joshua Stanton, Assistant Rabbi, Temple B’nai Jeshurun, New Jersey
“In Consider No Evil, Withrow and Wecker act as spiritual guides in the complex, fraught, and persistently influential world of religious education. Using their own orthodox religious training as a springboard, the authors start a much-needed conversation on the tension inherent in the religious goal of transmission of tradition and the educational goal of the unobstructed search for truth. Consider No Evil should be required reading for all who study, teach, or preach within the hallowed halls of seminaries, yeshivas, and divinity schools.”
~ Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, Senior Religion Editor, The Huffington Post
“When students ask me about truth, I always send them to the religion department. In the future I will point them to Consider No Evil, a work that has contrived successfully to carry water on both shoulders. This is an important book, well written, thoughtfully providing an insider’s view of historically private institutions. I recommend it for students of higher education in both secular and religious institutions.”
~ Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, University Professor and Emeritus President, The George Washington University