James Woodrow (1827-1907) - Scientist, Theologian, Intellectual Leader
|Author: ||Gustafson, Robert|
This long-overdue biography of James Woodrow, first occupant in 1861 of the unique "Perkins Professorship of Natural Science and Revelation" at Columbia Theological Seminary, brings together research data gleaned from many sources and reveals new information about a remarkable man whose views on evolution and the relation of religion to science were condemned by four General Assemblies of the Presbyterian Church, U.S. (Southern) and were finally upheld by the General Assembly in 1969. He exerted a profound influence over his nephew, Woodrow Wilson, who became President of Princeton University and the United States of America, and over Sydney Lanier, poet laureate of the South. During the Civil War he operated a chemical laboratory in South Carolina which provided chemicals needed to treat the wounded. Following the War he assisted the fledgling Presbyterian Church, U.S.. Simultaneously, he was a scientist, theologian, educator and a successful banker (President of Central National Bank) and businessman, serving on the board of a railroad company. He received his Ph.D. summa cum laude from Heidelberg University, and ultimately served as President of the University of South Carolina.
"In this thoroughly researched, well-written book, the author not only examines the life and multifaceted career of Woodrow, he looks at the southern mind of the late 19th century and finds many of the stereotypes about southern anti-intellectualism to be untrue, particularly as they pertain to science. . . . This is also a most revealing study of church politics and personalities, both of which became part of the drama surrounding Woodrow and the issue of evolution. . . .Bob Gustafson's study appropriately focuses on the evolution controversy but it does not neglect the other aspects of Woodrow's life. . . . He was a "universal man" whose ideas and strength of character deserve to be better known; Dr. Robert Gustafson has produced what is sure to be the standard work on James Woodrow." --David K. Eliades
"The heart of the Woodrow story is his trial and conviction for his stance on the raging evolution controversy. . . . What awaits the reader of this book is the story of the integrity and grace with which Woodrow engaged this bitter, vindictive and losing struggle, refusing all the while to forsake the church that failed itself and him. Gustafson has carefully researched the story of this remarkable man and presented it in a compelling, often gripping account. It is well worth the reading." -- Robert T. Osborn