In Today’s D

An article entitled “Religion dept. FSP location frustrates” reads in part:

“according to some students and professors, the program’s location [Edinburgh’s New College Divinity School] is antithetical to the Dartmouth religion department’s commitment to a secular study of faith.

“‘We are a religion department — not a theological department,” religion professor Susannah Heschel said. “Why we would send students to a Christian denominational institution, I don’t know.’

“…New College offers mostly courses in Christian theology, including some that students said were more conducive to personal testimonials of faith than the kind of intellectual analysis they are used to at Dartmouth.”

“…Heschel, who is also the chair of the Jewish Studies program, said that…the very act of holding the program within a divinity school has the potential to put some students ill at ease.

“‘When I was a student I would have been deeply offended,” she said. “Every FSP should be comfortable for every student.'”

The article largely speaks for itself, but “secular religious studies” is a glaring contradiction. The distinction between “religion” and “theology” is visible in the mind of only a few professors, and I’m sure disappears all together in, say, the Jewish Studies program The article goes on to quote a number of students who, while admitting the FSP’s shocking focus on Christianity, said they had no problem with the program.

Any thoughts from those with more experience in the religion dept. than I?