DR. JOAN BROTHERS WRITES : THE THEME of the Hibbert Lectures of 1965 centred upon what contribution Christianity has to make to education today.
Beginning with the legacy of Christianity in schools, this short volume on Christianity in Education moves from statements of principle to explorations about the place of religious knowledge and worship in education (Allen & Unwin, 18s).
What makes this book particularly useful is that the second part moves away from the more usual questions about schools onto the controversial area of higher education.
Professor Gordon Rupp and Professor W. R. Nib'ett take upra number of problems re lating to the Christian student and teacher in colleges and universities.
What they have to say is very relevant to contemporary discussions about the teaching of theology in the university, both traditional courses and projected ones, and to the consideration of what kinds of religious institutions and activities should exist within an academic community.
Complementary to this volume is a paperback which contains lectures given last year at a conference on Religious Education: 1944-1984, together with a summary of the discussions that followed
& Unwin, I2s. 6d.).
The vagueness of remarks made by many people today about the provisions of the 1944 Act relating to religious education make it clear that Professor Niblett's examination of its clauses is opportune.
Dealing as the contributors do with teacher training colleges as well as with primary and secondary schools, there is something in this collection for every level of education.
Also included is a short paper by the Bishop of London on the relationship between the Christian churches in relation to education: considering mainly the discord between the established Church and the Free Churches in historical terms, the reader Can think for himself of contemporary parallels which leave little room for complacency.
Two papers deal with the insight given into religious education by the disciplines of theology and psychology.
Although several of the contributors refer to both psychological and social research on religious education, the final chapter records that some participants did not seem very enthusiastic about this kind of work.
Perhaps those who referred to such studies, regrettably few, did not give sufficient consideration to explaining why they thought investigations into the effectiveness of religious teaching are important.
The final discussion is preceded by a comment from the humanist standpoint, by Mr. Lionel Elvin, Director of the University of London Institute of Education. He brings out the problems of those who do not subscribe to Christian beliefs and how they see the teaching of religious knowledge in schools.
The recommendations and conclusions form a useful addition to the book: it is always interesting, though frequently depressing, to see how the ideas put forward by speakers are taken by participants in a conference.
Because the contributions get away from the usual obsessions upon religious teaching in schools to the neglect of wider aspects of Christian education. this volume is particularly worth recommending. '
Packed with ideas and questions, it makes stimu!ating reading and is extraordinarily good value for money.