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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences



The State of Schleiermacher Scholarship Today: Selected Essays edited by Edwina Lawler, Jeffrey Kinlaw, Ruth Drucilla Richardson (Edwin Mellen Press) The publication of this book coincides with the fiftieth-year anniversary celebra­tion of the Drew Graduate School. While much attention will be paid to the many important contributions of the faculty and its graduate students to the field of Methodist Studies, it is also important to recognize the impact that Drew University professor Michael D. Ryan, his graduate students, and their colleagues have had in the area of Schleiermacher and nineteenth-century studies over the past two decades.

Since the year 1985 over 30 books by and about Schleiermacher have been published in the Schleiermacher: Studies-and-Translation series of the Edwin Mellen Press, over half of which are translations of Schleiermacher's works for the first time ever into the English language.' An international, interdisciplinary journal entitled New Athenaeum / Neues Athenaeum: A Scholarly Journal Specializing in Schleiermacher Research and Nineteenth-Century Studies / Zeitschrift fir Schleiemacher-Forschung and fir Studien zum 19 Jahrhundert was established in 1988 not only to publish articles, book reviews, dissertation  of abstracts and conference reports but primarily to serve as a critical source for Schleiermacher scholars through the inclusion of primary sources and translations, discussions of current research, an ongoing glossary of important Schleiermacherian terms, and bibliographical updates. Numerous academic conferences on Friedrich Schleiermacher have been held both in North America and in Europe, which have brought together scholars from both sides of the Atlantic in an ongoing productive and collaborative relationship.

For the contributors to this volume, Dr. Michael Ryan has been friend, scholar, colleague, teacher, and mentor. To be sure, each one of us did not come to know him in each of these roles and some have never met him formally, but whatever one's relationship with Dr. Ryan may have been, one recognized in him a man genuinely committed to his profession, a true friend, and a teacher par excellence. For those of us fortunate enough to have known him as teacher and mentor, he was an inspiration and never failed to encourage us to keep reading and researching, convinced that, as was the case for him, the "penny would fall" one day and then the dialogue with Schleiermacher would really begin. This volume is a tribute to Dr. Ryan and a testimony to that ongoing dialogue.

Born and raised in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Dr. Ryan attended Washington High School. After spending four years in the US Air Force, three in Germany and a brief tour in Japan, he enrolled in the B.A. program at Augustana College, Sioux falls receiving his B.A. degree summa cum laude with a double major in German and history in 1957. The recipient of a Fulbright grant to study history, he spent the 1957-58 academic year at the Karls-Eberhardt Universität in Tubingen, Germany.

In 1962, Dr. Ryan received his Bachelor of Divinity degree (renamed M. Div.) summa cum laude from the Theological School of Drew University, then entered the Ph.D. program in theology at Drew as a Kent Fellow (1962) and later as a Rockefeller Doctoral Fellow (1965), graduating in 1967. His dissertation is entitled "The Role of the Discipline of History in the Theological Interpretation of Albrecht Ritschl." From 1960 to 1966, he was a teaching fellow in German in Drew's College of Liberal Arts.

Except for the three years, 1966 to 1969, when he taught as an assistant professor of religion at Concordia College, Moorhead, Minnesota, Dr. Ryan served on the faculties of the Theological and Graduate Schools of Drew University until his retirement in June 1997. He taught advanced courses in systematic theology, ecclesiology, seminars on the thought of Friedrich Schleier­macher, on Holocaust Studies, on Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Church Struggle under Hitler, Major Motifs of 19th-Century Theology, Historical Method in Theology, and on Theological Method. He regularly taught the graduate seminars on Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Friedrich Schleiermacher. He was a member of the faculty of the Doctor of Ministry Program since its inception in 1973, and from 1993 to 1995 he served as the Director of the program, contributing to the quality and the good reputation of this nationally known program. Among the courses he developed for the D.Min. Program were: The Human Predicament in Theological, Philosophical and Psychoanalytical Perspective, and Recovering our Creaturehood: Rethinking Faith in the Light of the Environmental Crisis, which marks his personal transition to "creation spirituality," a pursuit of his retirement years.

Professionally, Dr. Ryan was associated with the International Scholars Conference on Church Struggle and Holocaust since the first meeting at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan in March 1974. His paper "A Theological-Political Analysis of Hitler's Mein Kampf appeared as a chapter in the con­ference volume The German Church Struggle and the Holocaust, edited by Hubert Locke and Franklin Littell (Wayne State U. Press, 1974). He chaired the 1979 Bernhard E. Olson Conference on Church Struggle and Holocaust at the Barbizon Plaza Hotel in New York City and edited the conference volume Human Responses to the Holocaust: Perpetrators and Victims, By-standers and Resisters (Edwin Mellen Press, 1981). He delivered the Swan Lectures at Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1984: "Vengeance for Versailles: How Hitler Co-Opted the Churches" and "The American Christian War on Secular Humanism." Dr. Ryan's study of the role of the "German Christians" during the German church struggle led to his reflection on the role of citizenship and Christian faith in his essay "Religious and/or Human Identification: The Problem of Faith and Ethics Today," published in the Festschrift in honor of Lawrence D. McIntosh So great a cloud of witnesses' Libraries & Theologies, published by the Australian and New Zealand Theological Library Association, 1995.

In addition to authoring numerous articles and chapters in books—the most recent being "Friedrich Schleiermacher's Reinvention of the Christian Faith: Die Weihnachtsfeier as a Vision of Christian Humanism," delivered at the Schleier­macher 2000 Conference held at Drew University in April 2000—Dr. Ryan has translated "Des Lebens Wagen: Ein Te Deum des Friedens" and "Christ and Anti-Christ: ein Disput zu Musik " two musical oratorios by the German composer Hans Posegga. In 1979, Dr. Ryan traveled to Edinburgh, Scotland, to conduct an oral history project with Dr. Franz Hildebrandt, the Philadelphia Professor of Christian Theology, Drew University 1953-1966. Hildebrandt had been a close friend of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the theologian executed for his role in the resistance movement, and he served as the treasurer of the Pastors Emergency League, formed by Pastor Martin Niemoller to support pastors who had been dismissed from their churches by Nazi officials. The audio interviews recorded in Hildebrandt's home were summarized in a 32-minute videotaped interview of Hildebrandt by Dr. Ryan in a studio of the University of Edinburgh. Entitled "Franz Hildebrandt: the Crisis of Christianity, 1933-37," it presents his personal memories of the two famous pastors, and tells of his own activities as a teacher of church history in the Berlin underground theological school of the Confessing Church. Ryan transcribed and collated the audio tapes and in October 2000 re­edited it and made it available to the family and friends of Franz Hildebrandt and to the International Dietrich Bonhoeffer Society.

Retiring to Mitchell, South Dakota in June 1997—in part because of the excellent support available there for his developmentally disabled son Todd and in part because of Mitchell's proximity to family roots and ties—Dr. Ryan began Dakota Goose Publications, a press for poetry, cultural criticism, and creation spirituality in January 1998, His book Occasional Poems was the first to come off the press, followed in 1999 by James R. Rhodes' POEMS. He closed the press in 2002, but continues to write and publish poetry, cultural and political criticism on his web site: www,dakotagoose.com, which carries a memorial page to both James Rhodes and to Drew Graduate School alumnus, Daniel Finbar O'Kane, a survivor of the Londonderry "Bloody Sunday" massacre of 1972.

Two books are in progress: Moses and Jesus: The Biblical Formation of their Portraits and Legends, and another, The Cultural Passages of Christianity. For Ryan, when the Bible is translated from one linguistic culture to another, with the result that liturgy and prayers are conducted in the new language, followed by authoritative commentary in that language, then "a cultural passage" has occurred. He sees the first Christian communities as the result of a passage of Judaism from Hebrew and Aramaic culture to Greek in the three centuries before the Christian era. The subsequent passages of Christianity from Greek to Latin over a period of three centuries, and in the sixteenth century with the sudden translations of the Bible to German, French, English and Spanish, Christianity underwent profound transformation, as each language and context introduced new community structures, new forms of church polity and worship, and new theological commentaries to answer the question: "What is Christian faith?"

As this volume comes off the press, the editors and contributors extend heartfelt gratitude to Dr. Ryan for his selfless commitment to his students and for his intellectual and personal integrity. We wish him well in his retirement years and eagerly await the publication of his works that are now in progress.


The following translations of Schleiermacher's works into English for the first time have been published by the Edwin Mellen Press:




Toward a Theory of Sociable Conduct by Friedrich Schleiermacher (Edwin Mellen Press)

On Colossians 1:15­20 by Friedrich Schleiermacher (Edwin Mellen Press)

On the Highest Good by Friedrich Schleiermacher (Edwin Mellen Press)

On Freedom by Friedrich Schleiermacher (Edwin Mellen Press)

On What Gives Value to Life by Friedrich Schleiermacher (Edwin Mellen Press)

Sermons in Relation to the Celebration of the Handing Over of the Augsburg Confession by Friedrich Schleiermacher (Edwin Mellen Press)

To Cecilic by Friedrich Schleiermacher (Edwin Mellen Press)

Sermons on the Christian Household by Friedrich Schleiermacher (Edwin Mellen Press)

Letters on the Occasion of the Political Theological Task and the 'Sendschreiben' of Jewish Heads of Households by Friedrich Schleiermacher (Edwin Mellen Press)

Fifteen Sermons of Friedrich Schleiermacher Delivered to Celebrate the Beginning of a New Year by Friedrich Schleiermacher(Edwin Mellen Press)

Friedrich Schleiermacher's Writings on Creeds, Confessions and Church Union by Friedrich Schleiermacher (Edwin Mellen Press)

Brouillon zur Ethik / Notes on Ethics (1805 / 1806); Notes on the Theory of Virtue (1804/1805) by Friedrich Schleiermacher (Edwin Mellen Press)

Review of Immanuel Kant's Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View by Friedrich Schleiermacher (Edwin Mellen Press)

Notes on Kant's Critique of Practical Reason by Friedrich Schleiermacher (Edwin Mellen Press)

Note on the Knowledge of Freedom by Friedrich Schleiermacher (Edwin Mellen Press)

Comparison of the Political Philosophies of Plato and Aristotle by Friedrich Schleiermacher (Edwin Mellen Press)

Occasional Thoughts on Universities in the German Sense by Friedrich Schleiermacher (Edwin Mellen Press)


On Music by Friedrich Schleiermacher

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