ERIC Number: EJ863691
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Struggle for the Soul of Felix Adler
Stallones, Jared R.
American Educational History Journal, v36 n2 p237-254 2009
A number of authors have drawn connections between progressive education and the Social Gospel movement, the Second Great Awakening, and other phenomena of 19th century America. In most cases these authors have focused on progressive educators from Protestant backgrounds, but progressivism reached into other American subcultures. Felix Adler was the son of a prominent Reform rabbi and was expected to follow his father as the rabbi of Temple Emanu-El in Manhattan. However, in 1876, Adler experienced the same kind of conversion from religion that turned John Dewey, William Heard Kilpatrick, and John Childs toward careers as secular missionaries of progressive education. Unlike those figures, Adler did not pursue a life in academia, but instead founded a new "secular religion" called the Ethical Culture Society, which sought to implement his ideals through a succession of schools that blended Adler's unique worldview with the nascent practices of progressive education. This article provides a profile of Felix Adler and presents Adler's story which demonstrates that the effects of childhood religious experience are powerful and long lasting, even for those who consciously try to flee them.
Descriptors: Religion, Progressive Education, United States History, Educational History, Religious Factors, Social Change, Jews, Ethics, Profiles, Higher Education, Foreign Countries
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
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Identifiers - Location: Germany; New York