Author to Speak June 13 on 'The American Soul: In Search of the Spiritual Meaning of America'

  • News Photo 3525
  • News Photo 3526
    Jacob Needleman
June 9, 2006

by Lori Fogleman, director of media relations, (254) 710-6275

Baylor University's "Teaching American History" Summer Institute will host noted U.S. philosopher Jacob Needleman, author of "The American Soul: Rediscovering the Wisdom of the Founders," for a free public lecture on June 13.

A professor of philosophy at San Francisco State University, Needleman will speak on "The American Soul: In Search of the Spiritual Meaning of America" from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on June 13, in the SBC Theater at the Mayborn Museum Complex. A reception will follow in the museum's community room.

In its review of Needleman's "The American Soul," Publishers Weekly wrote, "Finding a deep resonance between the founding principles of this country and the ancient spiritual quest for an inner liberation, Needleman proceeds to examine and 'remythologize' the founders and some of their great deeds...Franklin's courageous experimentation, Washington's restraint retiring from the army and later from the presidency rather than exploiting his matchless popularity and political power, Jefferson's brilliant articulation of the value of community, and the sheer gravity and awareness in Lincoln's face. While Needleman clearly finds much to love about America, he balances our light with our darkness, our genuine good will and spirituality with our great crimes of slavery and the genocidal abuse of the American Indian."

Needleman's other books include "The Wisdom of Love," "Time and the Soul," "The Heart of Philosophy," "Lost Christianity" and "Money and the Meaning of Life."

In addition to his teaching and writing, Needleman serves as a consultant in the fields of psychology, education, medical ethics, philanthropy and business, and has been featured on Bill Moyers' acclaimed PBS series "A World of Ideas."

With an over-arching theme of "Freedom and Equality," Baylor's intensive Teaching American History Institute at the Mayborn provides three weeks (from June 5-23) of high-quality professional development for 37 teachers from 18 school districts.

Now in its third year, the institute is one of several initiatives included in "Crossroads in American History," a three-year project of Baylor's School of Education, department of history and Region 12 Education Service Center. Funded by a nearly $1 million grant awarded in 2003 by the U.S. Department of Education, the project supports collaborations between school districts and institutions to ensure that teachers develop the knowledge, skills and commitments necessary to teach traditional American history in new and exciting ways.

For more information, contact Dr. Wesley Null, associate professor in the School of Education and the Honors College and TAH project director, at (254) 710-6120 or For more information about Teaching American History, visit

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