There are many reasons why ENC is a great place to study history. Our department has a rich tradition of the very highest academic quality; our location provides access to the unparalleled intellectual and cultural resources of Boston. Our department may not have the biggest numbers on campus, but our students affirm our commitment to building community.
I think one of the best reasons to study history at a place like ENC is because of our commitment to integrating our professional lives with Christian faith.
On the one hand, I think that the best in historical practice shapes our life of faith. Our profession requires a humble and wise reliance on sources, as well as a careful weighing of them for honesty, perspective, relevance, and ultimately, utility. Historians are also required to tell the truth about sources in order to contribute to the accumulation of knowledge and the subversion of falsehood. I see the historical discipline as an essentially moral and social one, which with God’s help can humbly distribute truth and wisdom to promote right living.
But even more, our faith guides our professional historical practice. We submit our scholarship to the lordship of Christ and see it as a vocation of service. As servant-teachers, we teach the art of historical recovery, deductive, and contextual analysis to help students become proficient historians who work within scholarly conventions. We aim to model Christian virtue in our classrooms, while analyzing questions and lessons of eternal significance that help us grow in wisdom and faith. When possible and appropriate, for example, I examine hopeful possibilities —such as the interracial cooperation between white and Japanese Episcopal churches in San Francisco to protest Japanese internment during World War II—to historically illustrate glimmers of grace in our world. In the process, I try to encourage a rationally and morally consistent philosophy of life, which seems to be particularly possible at Christian liberal arts colleges.
Ben M. Cater, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of History
Director, Boston Semester Program
Eastern Nazarene College
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The photo in this blog is history faculty and emeriti with history graduates.