Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Question About Yoder's Supposed Influence and Current Graduate Theological Programs

There seems to be a sense, generalized among those in top-tier seminaries and schools of theology, and especially among those who worry about Stanley Hauerwas, that the influence of John Howard Yoder is prevalent and powerful in the academy, in students, and so on.

I have recently come to seriously question this judgment. Other than Duke -- and there, more or less confined to Hays and Hauerwas, the former now dean and the latter soon to be retired -- is there another top flight theological program with any identifiable slant in Yoder's direction? Are there even such schools with prominent individual Yoderians?

I am thinking: Yale, Princeton (x2), Chicago, Harvard, Virginia, Union, Vanderbilt, Emory, Drew, Notre Dame, Marquette, SMU, GTU, and so on -- do any of these have a Yoderian strand, leaning, or even openness? Would it not rather be more correct to say that an interest in or preference for Yoderian study is, at best, a neutral self-identification in relation to these schools but possibly, at worst, a strike against one's attractiveness as a potential student or professor?

(This is not even to mention the situation with schools in the U.K.)

If my reading of the situation is correct, why is this so? Is it mostly bound up with anti-Hauerwasian concerns? Is it a reaction to Yoder's popularity? Is Yoder (or are Yoderian scholars) perceived as too "something" for these schools -- sectarian, pacifist, political, apolitical, evangelical, biblicist, radical, non-methodological, apocalyptic, white male, or some such other institutional liberal allergy?

Or, perhaps, I am over-reading or misrepresenting the matter. Rebukes and/or amens are welcome as appropriate.

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