Below are his comments on the situation of Episcopal seminaries and theological work. They are quite harsh, as is typical of the rest of the piece and Radner's prognoses more generally. Other than the problems at Seabury-Western, I don't know enough to confirm or dispute anything that he says here. While it would be easy to dismiss his comments about intellectual laziness amongst pastors and professors (especially so because he makes these accusations in such unspecified terms), I think that they're worth reading as a caution and at least as a challenge- warranted or not- to the possibility of a damaging status quo.
I have also wondered about the future of the Anglican Theological Review, given the institutional woes of the Episcopal Church. Radner doesn't discuss ATR in particular. Perhaps my concern is misplaced; I think I associate ATR with Seabury-Western because of Ellen Wondra's editorial leadership, but I'm not sure to what extent the journal is tied to the seminary. It seems to maintain a list of supporting institutions.
If anyone has any comments on Radner's thoughts or better knowledge of certain seminaries or publications, please share them. I'd also be curious to hear of readers' reactions to his accusations of intellectual laziness. My initial thoughts are that 1) whether it's true or not, Radner needs to put himself out there and get specific if he's really interested in the Church's edification rather than making blanket accusations, and 2) Young scholars should not take this as a license to dismiss those with whom Radner has a problem: lazy or not, they have probably forgotten more than today's newly minted PhD's and MDiv's know. That said, I'm not opposed to Radner being a curmudgeon about all this if it needs to be said. There's no need to get sentimental about problems that should be addressed.
Here is the essay. Below is the section that I'm interested in:
It is a bellwether of this set of dynamics that several of our seminaries have faced or will soon face their own inability to continue in existence. The demise of Seabury-Western, the selling off of the Episcopal Divinity School’s real estate assets, the well-known financial travails of Church Divinity School of the Pacific and General Seminary, not to mention the long-standing challenges of the Seminary of the Southwest – all this suggests not just that theological education in TEC needs a more rational institutional basis (something argued for some time), but that the “institution” is incapable of sustaining the theological education of its ministers, period. This incapacity, it needs to be said, threatens more conservative as well as liberal seminaries.
On the latter front, and from my own particular experience as well as from an admittedly more subjective perspective, I would note that Episcopalian ministers and scholars generally have received some of the best-resourced educations within the Christian churches; in their ranks are some of the most lively minds and engaging personalities. (Oh, how I wish we could better invigorate and sustain one another!) But they remain among the most intellectually lazy Christians I know, most of whom stopped reading rigorously years ago, prefer arguments based on prejudice, and have contributed virtually nothing to the Anglican and larger Christian theological forum for decades now. There are exceptions, of course, some of them wonderful; but the problem frankly colors the leadership across the board, from the top down and the bottom up, from Left to Right, Liberal to Conservative. The Anglican intellectual tradition that is embodied by and that has derived from TEC is bankrupt, long deflated in comparison with even recent witness from other parts of the Communion.
The goodbyes here are hardly debatable as far as I can see, and the fact that they are shared, to some extent, by several other Christian denominations hardly mitigates the farewell’s stinging force.