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Scholarship and Character as a Christian Academic

by Michael Austin

This paper is a response to Paul Gould's “Essay on Academic Disciplines, Faithfulness, and the Christian Scholar." Michael Austin discusses examples of how a Christian in philosophy can embrace positions within the discipline but also provide a unique and more cogent grounding for those positions. He argues that the best way of accounting for a conception of human rights based on fundamental interests can be grounded in God’s trinitarian nature. A Christian philosopher, depending on her audience, can be explicit about this ultimate grounding or she may instead produce a work of what C.S. Lewis called latent Christianity, in which the theological underpinnings exist in her mind, but are not made explicit in her argumentation.

Austin also discusses an example of how the fact that, as Gould puts it, “Christ is the source and telos of all things, including all truths that can be discovered,” can inform Christian scholarship, related to the dual nature of the Christian virtue of humility.

Finally, Austin briefly examines the importance of a robust Christian character for the Christian academic.

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