Mark Noll: Evangelical scholar discusses move to Notre Dame





Mark A. Noll, a man many Americans may never have heard of, reclines in his office chair dressed in jeans and a polo shirt. A soft-spoken man and now a professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, he was named one of the top 25 most influential evangelicals in America by Time magazine in 2005.

Unlike the late Jerry Falwell, known for his booming personality and media savvy, Noll has achieved recognition within the evangelical community and beyond through his powerful scholarship and many well-received books.

Noll accepted the position of Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, an endowed chair, at Notre Dame in July 2006 after leaving Wheaton College, a private evangelical Protestant liberal arts college near Chicago where he spent 27 years as a teacher and scholar.

The evolving relationship between Roman Catholics and evangelical Protestants, Noll says during a recent conversation, is what led a Catholic university such as Notre Dame to invite him to join its faculty.

Fifty years ago, evangelicals and Catholics had almost nothing to do with each other, Noll says.

"Today, there are all sorts of conversations, discussions and partial agreements."

On its side, the university is glad to have Noll, says John McGreevy, chairman of Notre Dame's history department, adding, "Mark brings to us strength in American and religious and intellectual history, which has long been an area of focus within the department."

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