Illinois Authors

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Brett H Smith

Born: 1965, in Champaign, Illinois
Connection to Illinois: Smith was born in Champaign and attended Rantoul public schools from K-12. He has degrees from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (B.S.), Northern Seminary (M.Div.), and Northwestern University (Ph.D.). He's served as a minister at University Baptist and First Baptist in Champaign.

Biography: Brett Smith has published articles and reviews in American Baptist Quarterly, Church History, The Christian Century, and Fides et Historia.


Primary Literary Genre(s): History

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

Labor's Millennium: Christianity, Industrial Education, and the Founding of the University of Illinois
ISBN: 1498252532 OCLC:

Wipf and Stock 2010

Historians have traditionally interpreted the American land-grant higher-education movement as the result of political and economic forces. Little attention has been given, however, to any explicit or implicit theological motivations for the movement. This book tells the story of how the Christian belief of many founders of the University of Illinois motivated their educational theory and practice. Constructing a social gospel of labor's millennium (their shorthand for God's kingdom being enhanced through agricultural and mechanical education), they initially proposed that the university would impart a millenarian blessing for the larger society by providing abundant food, economic prosperity, vocational dignity, and a charitable spirit of sacred unity and public service. Rich in primary-source research, Smith's account builds a compelling case for at least one such institution's adaptation of an inherited evangelical educational tradition, transitioning into a new era of higher learning that has left its mark on university life today.