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The Search for God at Harvard, by Ari L. Goldman

- Abstract

A religion reporter for the New York Times and an Orthodox Jew, Ari L. Goldman came to Harvard Divinity School in the fall of 1985 seeking professional enrichment. Immediately upon his arrival, however, he found the institution “in the throes of its own administrative and philosophical nightmares”: the dean had left, the acting dean had just died, and several important faculty positions were vacant. More ominously, the ethos of the school represented anything but the religiousness, sobriety, and self-restraint that the catalogue had led him to expect. Anticipating, for example, that the Divinity School Orientation Dance would be “an evening of hymns and mulled cider,” Goldman and his wife were in for a shock:

As we approached, music was blaring from the Refectory, and lights were flashing on and off. We checked the invitation to be sure we were at the right place on the right night. What we encountered inside was spiked hair, fishnet stockings, short skirts, and couples, both heterosexual and homosexual, dancing to U2, Michael Jackson, and Duran Duran.

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