2. John Wesley and Evangelical Methodism
More About Contemporary Civilization:
From 1947 through 1969, all first-year Gettysburg College students took a two-semester course called Contemporary Civilization. The course was developed at President Henry W.A. Hanson’s request with the goal of “introducing the student to the backgrounds of contemporary social problems through the major concepts, ideals, hopes and motivations of western culture since the Middle Ages.”
Gettysburg College professors from the history, philosophy, and religion departments developed a textbook for the course. The first edition, published in 1955, was called An Introduction to Contemporary Civilization and Its Problems. A second edition, retitledIdeas and Institutions of Western Man, was published in 1958 and 1960. It is this second edition that we include here. The copy we digitized is from the Gary T. Hawbaker ’66 Collection and the marginalia are his.
The Enlightenment had, it is true, appeared to solve many problems by ridding Western Civilization of medieval superstitions of all sorts. It disproved miracles. It denied the verbal inspiration of the Scriptures. It denounced intolerance and persecution. But it did not,immediately answer the question of what was to be put in the place of the things it had thrown out. The ideas and institutions it denounced had given society certain ideals of conduct, standards of thought, and objects of belief, inadequate as they may have been. The immediate problem was: What was to reglace them? [excerpt]