A Response to Charles Taylor and the Crisis of Fullness
Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ
How Jesuit education can help students create meaningful connections in an age of secularism
In A Secular Age, the philosopher Charles Taylor challenges us to appreciate the significance of genuine spiritual experience in human life, an occurrence he refers to as “fullness.” Western societies, however, are increasingly becoming more secular, and personal occasions of fullness are becoming less possible.
In Jesuit Higher Education in a Secular Age, Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, shows how Jesuit education can respond to the crisis of modernity by offering three pedagogies of fullness: study, solidarity, and grace. A pedagogy of study encourages students to explore their full range of thoughts and emotions to help amplify their self-awareness, while a pedagogy of solidarity helps them relate to the lives of others, including disparate cultural and socioeconomic realities. Together, these two pedagogies cultivate an openness in students that can help them achieve a pedagogy of grace, which validates their awareness of and receptivity to the extraordinary spiritual Other that impacts our lives.
Hendrickson demonstrates how this Jesuit imaginary—inspired by the Renaissance humanistic origins of Jesuit pedagogy—educates students toward a better self-awareness, a stronger sense of global solidarity, and a greater aptitude for inspiration, awe, and gratitude.
Introduction: Jesuit Higher Education and the Restoration of Enchantment
1. The Search for Fullness in a Secular Age
2. Developing Taylor’s Conception of Fullness
3. Charles Taylor in Educational Discourse
4. Renaissance Humanistic Backgrounds of Jesuit Educational Thought
5. The Tradition of Jesuit Education
6. Higher Education in a Secular Age
7. Forming a Learned Imagination
About the Author
"From Renaissance humanism to the contemporary commitment to social justice, Daniel Hendrickson brings the richness of Jesuit tradition into dialogue with philosopher Charles Taylor’s concept of fullness as essential to human flourishing. The result? A hopeful assessment of Jesuit higher education, its present, and its future. This is a work of consolation, certain to deepen our appreciation for the many gifts of Jesuit higher education."—Linda M. LeMura, president, Le Moyne College
"A brilliant, important book. Daniel Hendrickson gives a learned exposition of a crucial aspect of higher education—the capacity to become attuned to the human drive for 'fullness,' an aspect too often erased in the educational landscape of our secular age, and one too often overlooked even in schools founded upon a religious impulse. This book will be a must read for professors and administrators in Jesuit universities, but its influence will not be confined there."—Kevin F. Burke, SJ, Vice President for Mission, Regis University
"Jesuit Higher Education in a Secular Age is a timely book, coming in an era when many in higher education and beyond have recognized the incompleteness of widely accepted educational goals like content knowledge, vocational training, status, and money. Daniel Hendrickson draws on the philosopher Charles Taylor to articulate a compelling vision for education of the whole person, including ethical and spiritual aspects, and he delineates approaches through which universities can pursue this end. The book will be useful to audiences well beyond Jesuit and Catholic universities, as its insights can guide educators from many levels and backgrounds to foster discernment, purpose, and fulfillment in young people."—Stanton Wortham, Charles F. Donovan, SJ, Dean of the Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch School of Education and Human Development, Boston College
"Jesuit Higher Education in a Secular Age provides a conceptually rich framework for re-envisioning the dynamics of the university. Hendrickson proposes that the university reshape itself into a locus in which faculty, students, and staff are empowered to cultivate ‘learned imagination,’ formed in attentive service to the recognition and enactment of human solidarity. Hendrickson proposes two main resources to guide such reshaping of the university: the living heritage of humanist Jesuit education, and Charles Taylor’s expansive concept of 'human fullness,' a central element of the philosophical anthropology he offers to address the fragmentation and superficiality of secular modernity."—Philip J. Rossi, SJ, professor emeritus of theology, Marquette University
"In this timely—even urgent—book, Fr. Hendrickson provides a path to revitalize Jesuit higher education for our secular age. His rich and humane vision for 'pedagogies of fullness' shows why such an education might be the answer to our late modern malaise. In the end, this isn’t just about Catholic universities; this book should catalyze a conversation across all sectors of higher education."—James K. A. Smith, professor of philosophy, Calvin University, and author of How (Not) to Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor and Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation
Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, is the president of Creighton University. His leadership focuses on the university’s global reach, the importance of studies in the liberal arts, and the expansion of Creighton’s mission in the US Southwest. He has worked and lived in the Caribbean, East Africa, and India. He has served on the boards of Boston College, Xavier University, the Institute for Latin American Concern, and Jesuit Worldwide Learning.
208 pp., 6 x 9
208 pp., 6 x 9