Lundin, Roger 1949-
Lundin, Roger 1949-
Born July 15, 1949. Education: Wheaton College, B.A.; Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, M.T.S.; University of Connecticut, M.A., Ph.D.
Office—Wheaton College, 501 College Ave., Wheaton, IL 60187-5593. E-mail—[email protected]
Educator, writer, and editor. Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL, 1978—, currently Blanchard Professor of English.
Modern Language Association, Conference on Christianity and Literature, Emily Dickinson Society.
(With Anthony C. Thiselton and Clarence Walhout) The Responsibility of Hermeneutics, W.B. Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 1985.
(Editor, with Mark A. Noll) Voices from the Heart: Four Centuries of American Piety, W.B. Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 1987.
(With Susan V. Gallagher) Literature through the Eyes of Faith, Harper & Row (San Francisco, CA), 1989.
The Culture of Interpretation: Christian Faith and the Postmodern World, W.B. Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 1993.
(Editor) Disciplining Hermeneutics: Interpretation in Christian Perspective, W.B. Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 1997.
Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief, W.B. Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MMI), 1998, 2nd revised edition, 2004.
(With Clarence Walhout and Anthony C. Thiselton) The Promise of Hermeneutics, W.B. Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 1999.
From Nature to Experience: The American Search for Cultural Authority, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 2005.
(Editor and author of introduction) There before Us: Religion, Literature, and Culture from Emerson to Wendell Berry, W.B. Eerdmans (Grand Rapids, MI), 2007.
(Editor, with Daniel J. Treier and Mark Husbands) The Beauty of God: Theology and the Arts, IVP Academic (Downers Grove, IL), 2007.
Contributor to books, including Catholic Universities in the New Europe, edited by Christopher Garbowski, Piotr Gutowski, and Agnieszka Kijewska, Catholic University of Lublin Press, 2005; In American History through Literature, 1820-1870, edited by Janet Gabler-Hover and Robert Sattelmeyer, Scribner, 2006; and Hermeneutics at the Crossroads, edited by Kevin J. Vanhoozer, James K.A. Smith, and Bruce Benson, Indiana University Press, 2006. Contributor to periodicals, including Religion and Literature, Sewanee Theological Review, Books and Culture, Christian Century, Mars Hill Audio Review, Religion and Literature, Review of Politics, Christianity Today, Books and Religion, Reformed Journal, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Christianity and Literature, and Christian Scholar's Review.
Roger Lundin is an English professor who also has a degree in theology. His primary interests include nineteenth-century American literature, the relationship of Christianity to literature, and modern intellectual history, with a particular interest in philosophy and theology. He is also director of a multiyear project on American literature and religion, which is sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts and cosponsored by the Erasmus Institute of the University of Notre Dame.
Lundin has written extensively on religion, literature, and American culture in such books as Literature through the Eyes of Faith, which he wrote with Susan V. Gallagher. In this book, the authors provide a guide to how works of literature can enrich readers' understanding of God and the world. "There is much in Literature through the Eyes of Faith that I admire," wrote Darryl Tippens in a review on the Adams Center—Abilene Christian University Web site. "It poses and answers a number of crucial questions about how to approach literary texts today."
In The Culture of Interpretation: Christian Faith and the Postmodern World, Lundin examines American culture within a complex network of symbols, practices, and beliefs at the heart of American society. In the process, he provides an historical background for the "postmodern" culture's central beliefs and explores the ethical and theological implications of these beliefs. One of the author's primary interests is the primary role that Christianity has played in forming some of these cultural beliefs. Lundin also presents his thesis that many negative aspects of modern society, including atrocities committed around the world, stem from the Age of Enlightenment, the eighteenth-century Western philosophical movement that focused on the use of human reason to combat the ills of the world. Writing in the Christian Century, Loren M. Scribner noted that the author "strikes … effectively at the heart of all intellectual self-aggrandizement, philosophical arrogance and pretentiousness."
A member of the Emily Dickinson Society, Lundin is the author of a biography of the famous poet that focuses on her spiritual life. Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief was called a "readable new biography of the reclusive poet" by a Publishers Weekly contributor upon its initial publication in 1998. In a review of the book in Commonweal, David Yezzi commented: "What were Emily Dickinson's religious beliefs? The matter resists illumination as thoroughly as any aspect of her famously tenebrous career." In his attempt to answer the question of Dickinson's thoughts concerning God and religion, the author relies largely on the author's poems and letters as he relates Dickinson's life to nineteenth-century social, religious, political, and intellectual history. The second edition, published in 2004, includes a standard bibliography, expanded notes, and a more extensive discussion of Dickinson's poetry than does the first edition. In both books, the author makes a strong case for religious aspects of Dickinson's works and her overall life.
"The book brims with insights," wrote Grant Wacker in Books & Culture, adding: "Lundin is a master of the telling detail, the stray incident that illumines a life pattern as a lightning flash in the night illumines a landscape." Gillis J. Harp wrote in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History: "Roger Lundin's intellectual biography of the American poet, Emily Dickinson, focuses with considerable insight and sensitivity on his subject's complex struggle with Christian belief. As such, it is a welcome corrective to the hitherto simplistic treatments of this important side of Dickinson's life and work."
In From Nature to Experience: The American Search for Cultural Authority, Lundin examines how Americans went from accepting nature and religion as the ultimate moral authorities to a reliance on personal experience and pragmatism. In the process, he examines why Americans value experience so much and how it affects their culture and daily lives. He raises the question of what people might look toward for answers when they finally reach the limits of their own personal experience. In Lundin's opinion, Americans should once again turn to religion to illuminate life's true meaning. The author traces much of this thought through literature and other writings, from the poetry and essays of Ralph Waldo Emerson to the writings of the psychologist William James to the essays of Stanley Fish, a literary theorist and legal scholar. One of the areas that Lundin particularly examines is the nihilistic tendencies in modern literary criticism.
"Lundin's reading of this intellectual history is rewarding in itself, but even more for how it sets up his full-bodied Christian response," wrote Mark Noll in Christianity Today. Harold K. Bush, writing in Books & Culture, called From Nature to Experience "an exemplary work of the critical (and hopeful) imagination" and also wrote in the same review that it "is out for much bigger game than merely outlining a view of intellectual history. It is an attempt to recover lost wisdom and reassert lost knowledge."
As editor of There before Us: Religion, Literature, and Culture from Emerson to Wendell Berry, the author presents nine essays that explore the interplay between faith and culture in American literature from the Puritans to writers such as John Updike and Walker Percy. The essayists offer critical analyses of the obsession American writers have with religion. It discusses the Bible as a powerful source in African American literature and the connection between religious beliefs and environmental responsibilities in writers from Henry David Thoreau to Barry Lopez. Among other topics, essayists also write about Melville's use of pity in his fiction and Mark Twain's concerns about religion. Lundin is also author of the book's introduction. "If you are looking for a systematic study of the interplay of religion and culture, this collection will not meet your expectations," wrote John Savant in America."But as a sustained literary conversation given point and particularity in the varied interests of its scholar authors, this collection is, for me, much more inviting—and provocative—than a more formal treatise."
Lundin is also the editor, with Daniel J. Treier and Mark Husbands, of The Beauty of God: Theology and the Arts. The book stems from the 2006 Wheaton College Theology Conference and presents essays that examine the relationship between theology and the arts. The book is divided into sections focusing on music, literature, and visual arts. John Wilson, writing in Christianity Today, called The Beauty of God a "superb collection of essays."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
America, September 17, 2007, John Savant, "Wrestling with Religion," review of There before Us: Religion, Literature, and Culture from Emerson to Wendell Berry, p. 32.
American Literature, March, 1999, review of Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief, p. 214; June, 2005, review of Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief, 2nd edition, p. 436; September, 2007, review of There before Us, p. 639.
American Studies International, April, 1995, review of The Culture of Interpretation: Christian Faith and the Postmodern World, p. 56.
Books & Culture, July, 2001, Grant Wacker "Emily Dickinson's Hidden God," review of Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief, p. 16; July 1, 2007, Harold K. Bush, "Re-Enchanting Emerson: ‘Resources That Naturalism Has Suppressed or Forgotten,’" review of From Nature to Experience: The American Search for Cultural Authority, p. 29.
Choice, November, 1998, S.R. Graham, review of Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief, p. 523; September, 2006, R.E. Gibbons, review of From Nature to Experience, p. 111; August, 2007, R.E. Gibbons, review of There before Us, p. 2110.
Christian Century, July 16, 1986, review of The Responsibility of Hermeneutics, p. 658; October 6, 1993, Loren M. Scribner, review of The Culture of Interpretation, p. 945.
Christianity and Literature, autumn, 1998, Edward J. Dupuy, review of Disciplining Hermeneutics: Interpretation in Christian Perspective, p. 107.
Christianity Today, April 3, 1987, review of Voices from the Heart: Four Centuries of American Piety, p. 32; May, 2006, Mark Noll, review of From Nature to Experience, p. 68; January, 2008, John Wilson, review of The Beauty of God: Theology and the Arts, p. 60.
Church History, December, 1999, review of Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief, p. 1049.
Commonweal, October 9, 1998, David Yezzi, review of Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief, p. 20.
Interpretation, July, 1998, review of Disciplining Hermeneutics, p. 334; April, 2000, review of The Promise of Hermeneutics, p. 226; October, 2007, review of The Beauty of God, p. 466.
Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, February, 1999, review of Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief, p. 424.
Journal of American History, June, 1999, Martha Ackmann, review of Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief, p. 229.
Journal of Ecclesiastical History, July, 1999, Gillis J. Harp, review of Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief, p. 609.
Library Journal, April 1, 1987, Elise Chase, review of Voices from the Heart, p. 154.
Publishers Weekly, July 17, 1987, review of Voices from the Heart, p. 33; May 11, 1998, review of Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief, p. 64.
Reference & Research Book News, May, 2006, review of From Nature to Experience; May, 2007, review of There before Us; August, 2007, review of From Nature to Experience.
Theology Today, October, 2000, Kevin J. Vanhoozer, review of The Promise of Hermeneutics, p. 403.
Adams Center—Abilene Christian University Web site,http://www.acu.edu/academics/adamscenter/ (February 18, 2008), Darryl Tippens, review of Literature through the Eyes of Faith.
Wheaton College Web site,http://www.wheaton.edu/ (February 18, 2008), faculty profile of author.