By R.R. Reno
Wednesday, August 30, 2006, 9:14 AM
U.S. New & World Report has just published its annual rankings of higher education. In addition to calling the horse race for No. 1 university, the magazine also puts out rankings of graduate programs. By their reckoning, the best place to study political theory is Harvard. Harvard is tied with Cal-Berkeley for No. 1 in medieval and renaissance literature, and Michigan is tops in behavioral neuroscience.
美國New & World Report的年度高等教育排行剛出爐，除了最高學府之爭，該雜誌也就各領域的研究所做出了排行。哈佛是政治理論的翹楚；醫學和文藝復興文學等領域由加州柏克萊大學與哈佛大學各據山頭；密西根大學（ 安那堡分校）則稱霸行為神經科學領域。
The ratings game got me thinking. The magazine has nothing to say about theology (or religious studies, as it is called at many universities). So I thought I might throw out some observations about the best places to pursue a doctoral degree in the sorts of fields I study—theology and ethics. I haven’t developed any objective method of analysis, but this is not the first time I have thought about graduate programs. Students often ask me for advice, so over the years I have formed some impressions about how the programs compare to one another. Here are the best schools, to my mind, followed by some comments about the also-rans.
At the top of my list is Duke. Richard Hays and Ellen Davis are leading a strong cohort of biblical scholars toward the recovery of a theological voice in biblical interpretation. Add to that the creative mind of Stanley Hauerwas, the rigorous mind of Reinhard Huetter, the learned mind of Geoffrey Wainwright, and the outspoken voice of David Steinmetz, as well as some excellent younger faculty (Amy Laura Hall, Warren Smith, Steve Chapman, and others), and you have a program firing on all cylinders. Three cheers for the Dean, Gregory Jones. He has done wonders in bucking the trends toward the banality and post-Christian distraction that afflict other mainline institutions. It isn’t perfect, but it’s as good as we have now in the United States.
在我排行榜裡領銜的是杜克大學。Richard Hays和Ellen Davis領銜一票精銳聖經學家，奪回神學在聖經詮釋中應有的一席之地。看看Stanley Hauerwas的新穎思維、Reinhard Huetter的嚴謹邏輯、Geoffrey Wainwright的學富五車、David Steinmetz的發聾振聵，外加一群頭角崢嶸的後起之秀（Amy Laura Hall、Warren Smith、Steve Chapman…等等），一同建立起了這個人才濟濟、頭角崢嶸的學術研究院。應該給院長Gregory Jones幾聲喝采！當其他主流神學機構不是愈形迂腐就是陷在「後基督化」的泥沼無法自拔時，他簡直展現了奇蹟。杜克神學院並非十全十美，但至少在美國要算是檯面上最出色的了。
In the No. 2 spot, I put Notre Dame’s Department of Theology. It’s not firing on all cylinders. The biblical scholars pretty much follow the tired old distinction between “what it meant for them” and “what it means for us.” This guarantees their marginal relevance to the study of theology. Most of the systematic theologians are still living in the 1970s and 1980s. But this is a huge department with some great people. Notre Dame is the best place to study the Church Fathers (Brian Daley, John Cavadini, Robin Darling Young). Gary Anderson and Cyril O’Regan are first-rate Christian intellectuals capable of inspiring a wide range of doctoral students toward genuine vocations in theology rather than careers of expertise. Jean Porter and Jennifer Herdt have creative things to say in moral theology. It’s a strong program, and it is getting better every year.
第二名的席次我給了聖母大學神學系。它的缺點就很明顯。聖經學者食古不化，墨守解經和釋經的二分法。他們的東西跟真正的神學研究難說能沾上什麼邊。這裡的系統神學家大概都還活在70、80年代。但話說回來以這個學系的龐大規模，是少不了大師級人物的。聖母大學是研究早期教父的聖地（Brian Daley、John Cavadini、Robin Darling Young坐陣）。Gary Anderson和Cyril O’Regan是一流的基督教知識份子，能夠給予博士生廣泛的啟發，使其走出象牙塔內的學術、迎向神學真正的呼召。Jean Porter和Jennifer Herdt研究道德神學亦頗有創見。這是個優秀的學院，且每年還在蒸蒸日上。
Duke and Notre Dame are clearly top choices. I’m less sure as I move down the list. Other choices involve compromises and limitations. At No. 3 and No. 4, and in something of a tie between two very different options, I put Princeton and Boston College.
If you are interested in “the problem of faith in the modern world,” then Princeton University’s Department of Religion is a good place to be. Eric Gregory and Jeffrey Stout are occupied with the role of Christian faith and Christian churches in a liberal democratic society, and Leora Batnitzky has interesting things to say about Judaism’s engagement with modernity. Another positive is the fact that the department has a stellar reputation of supporting and forming graduate students. The negatives are two-fold. First, this is not a place with strong resources for study of theology in either its historical or systematic forms. Second, the historians of ancient Christianity, which includes New Testament studies, are pretty antagonistic to the idea that what the Church has taught over the centuries is, in some important and legitimate way, to be found in the Scriptures. Overall, then, Princeton has nothing like the depth of Christian scholarship that you can find at Duke and Notre Dame.
如果你對信仰與當代性的議題感興趣，普林斯頓大學宗教系會是個絕佳的去處。Eric Gregory和Jeffrey Stout致力於基督信仰與教會在當代自由民主社會的議題。Leora Batnitzky對猶太教與現代性互動有獨到的見解。此外一個優點是：這個系所大力栽培與支持研究生是出了名的。缺憾則是雙重的：一是這個學校欠缺足夠資源可讓你揮灑歷史神學和系統神學的研究計畫。二來這裡研究早期基督教（當然包括新約研究）的史學家對於教會傳統的敵意很重，不管就重要性或合理性而論，他們認為教會歷來的教導是錯讀聖經。總之，像杜克和聖母大學那樣深厚的基督教學術，普林斯頓看不到。
Boston College has depth. Like so many Catholic schools, required theology courses for the undergraduates guarantees a big faculty. Moreover, Boston College has money, and they support their graduate students well. The problem is that the faculty is solid but not stellar. BC is a good place to study, and certainly a graduate student will learn the Christian theological tradition well. But unlike Duke and Notre Dame (and Princeton in its own, more limited way), I don’t think Boston College is pushing theological questions forward in interesting ways.
I’m going to cheat and put three schools in the No. 5 spot: Catholic University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. These are radically different places. Catholic University has lots of problems, but it’s not a place where the liberal-revisionist Jesuits have hired an anti-magisterial majority. PTS and Trinity Evangelical are primarily places for training ministers, but both offer doctoral programs as well. PTS has living and breathing Protestant dogmatic theologians who know the Reformed tradition thoroughly—and Karl Barth especially. Trinity Evangelical has Kevin Vanhoozer, a creative mind committed to thinking through an ecumenically minded and biblically sophisticated evangelical theology. I’m not sure I would want to be a Presbyterian at Catholic University, or a Catholic at Princeton Seminary, and I think Trinity Evangelical is probably best for someone whose theological vocation is in the evangelical movement. But all three have the advantage of being very engaged in the reality of the Church.
You may have noticed that I’ve left some of the famous schools off the list. In doctoral study, it’s the professors and fellow grad students who make the program, not the general reputation of the university. Take Harvard, for example. If you want to study theology at Harvard, then you need to do a Th.D. at Harvard Divinity School. There are some good minds there who are interested in thinking about the living form of faith in our time (Ron Thiemann, Sarah Coakley, and Jon Levinson), but the overall atmosphere of HDS is aggressively post-Christian. I’m all for challenging intellectual environments, but its just foolish to try to swim upstream all the time.
你大概已經發現我的名單上刻意遺漏了某些名校。以博士研究而言，教授和研究同儕就是一切，大學整體的名望應該放到一邊去。例如，你若想在哈佛念神學，就必須在哈佛神學院讀神學博士。那兒的確有幾位了不起的思想家（Ron Thiemann，Sarah Coakley，以及 Jon Levinson），企圖在我們當代演繹出信仰的鮮活形式；但是哈佛神學院整體呈現的氛圍是一種後基督化的侵略性。當然我絕不是反對充滿智性挑戰的[學術]環境，但沒事刻意逆流而上還滿自討苦吃的。
Most of the old-line, mainline divinity schools suffer from this problem. Vanderbilt, Emory, and Yale have seen a decline in serious intellectual life brought on by the intensely ideological agendas of Christian feminism, gay and lesbian liberation, as well as recycled versions of liberal Protestantism. Again, some great folks teach at these places. Lewis Ayers at Emory is one of the most exciting scholars working in patristic theology. I cannot say enough good things about Gene Outka, my mentor, who teaches ethics at Yale, and Miroslav Volf has a fine mind. But, again, the larger currents of these schools are flowing in the direction of post-Christian “theology.”
大多主流傳統神學院校都在面臨同樣的問題。范德堡大學、艾墨瑞大學、耶魯大學這些學校成天光開庭審理一堆意識型態議題就沒完沒了，包括基督教女性主義、同性戀解放運動，還有一些新教自由神學的冷飯。當然，這些地方還是有不少大咖。艾墨瑞的Lewis Ayers就是研究教父神學最令人驚豔的學者之一。耶魯開授倫理學的Gene Outka是我的屬靈長輩，我再怎樣也道不盡他的好；何況還有Miroslav Volf這位傑出思想家。但無論如何，這些學校的大趨勢是朝向後基督化「神學」靠攏的。
The Divinity School at the University of Chicago has problems as well. It has some famous names on staff, but some recent graduate students have told me that the professors are never around. Choosing the right program is very important. Doctoral study is all about intellectual formation, and that cannot be done by faculty who live hundreds of miles away or who are always out lecturing elsewhere.
The Catholic world has it own set of difficulties. Historically, the Jesuits have dominated graduate study in the United States, and I don’t think I am revealing any secrets when I tell you that the Society of Jesus has committed itself and its institutions to a liberal-revisionist agenda. In the 1970s and 1980s, this may have seemed cutting-edge, but these days it’s pretty tired, and tiresome.
This complacent liberalism has hurt Jesuit graduate programs even at Boston College, and it has badly injured places like Marquette, Fordham, and St. Louis University. Rahnerians, feminists, liberationists—these places carry some serious ballast. In my experience, intellectual life is too easily perverted into postures of protest and a quixotic quest against the long dead Catholic ghetto. Again, some excellent faculty teach at these places: Ralph Del Colle, Michel Barnes, and Susan Wood, for example, are at Marquette. But because it is a Jesuit program, the 1970s is still going strong.
讓我重申：這些地方不乏傑出的教授。Ralph Del Colle、Michel Barnes、Susan Wood，都在馬奎特。但就因為是個耶穌會學校，70年代思想氛圍還是濃烈瀰漫。
I have painted some negative pictures, and I may not be winning popularity contests anytime soon. I’m not saying that a person cannot obtain a serious theological education at Harvard, Yale, Emory, and Chicago, or, for that matter, Marquette and Fordham. But prospective students should know they will have a harder row to hoe.
As I thought about this casual assessment of programs and the quick drop-off from the top two programs to a list of less-than-ideal choices, I was struck by the fact that three individuals whom I would very much like to send my best students to study with are largely out of the picture.
When Bruce Marshall published Trinity and Truth, I wrote a positive review. After teaching and rereading the closely argued book a couple of times, I have come to see that his analysis of theology and truth is as fundamental and revolutionary as Karl Barth’s strange and difficult discussion of Anselm, published in the 1930s. Unfortunately, Marshall teaches at Perkins School of Theology (at Southern Methodist University), a school apparently locked in a liberal Protestant death-spiral. You can’t take all your classes with Marshall, and most of the rest of the program will leave you swimming upstream against a hard current.
Ephraim Radner’s extraordinary book The End of the Church is the most creative, erudite, and important book of historical theology since Henri de Lubac’s Surnaturel. David Hart’s The Beauty of the Infinite is a bold (and to my mind brilliantly successful) theological campaign that carries the fight for truth into the deepest reaches of our sad, failing, postmodern academic culture.
Ephraim Radner的鉅著《教會的盡頭》，可說是Henri de Lubac的《超自然》之後最博學、有創造力，且不同凡響的歷史神學著作了。David Hart的《無窮之美》則是膽識不凡（在我看來是成就輝煌）的神學宣言，為真理而戰、直搗黃龍進入那可悲墮落的後現代學術文化核心。
These two remarkable theological minds are not just in less-than-ideal places for an aspiring, adventuresome graduate student interested in serious theology in the service of the Church, as is the case with Marshall. Radner and Hart are totally inaccessible. Radner is a parish priest in an Episcopal church in Pueblo, Colorado. Hart has a temporary, one-year appointment at Providence College. For all intents and purposes, both have been excluded from academia. It is a sign of the times. The United States, a wealthy country with vibrant churches, has only two graduate programs in theology that get even a relatively strong thumbs up.
(About the author: Dr. Russell R. Reno [PH.D Yale University] is a professor of Christian Ethics at Creighton University who recently joined the Roman Catholic Church.