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Graduate Education in the Humanities: A Response to William Pannapacker

Mark Baer


Let me begin by thanking my colleague Bill Pannapacker for raising a number of important issues. On several of these I stand in almost complete agreement. Yet his overly narrow focus on one set of factors leaves the student who is considering graduate school as merely homo economicus (in contrast to homo reciprocans). I will narrow the focus of my response to Bills thought-provoking essay as to how a Christian student might begin elsewhere than the job market by asking, Is a life lived just for the marketplace worth living? I would instead urge our audience to think counterculturally in terms of a concept I have extracted from Dorothy Sayerss The Mind of the Maker: that humans were created by the Creator to create. The issues then become, Where might I create? and, What might I create? I will start by summarizing the issues Bill raises with which I agree and then move on to the potential problems I see arising from his argument.

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