Contact Us:

Geoffrey Bakewell

Search Program

408 Halliburton Tower

(901) 843-3157 office

Search for Values in Light of Western History & Religion


The Search for Values in the Light of Western History and Religion is an interdisciplinary study of the ideas, beliefs, and cultural developments that have formed western culture. Created by the faculty in 1945, it draws faculty from ten departments and over fifty percent of Rhodes′ students participate. It is one of two ways to fulfill the basic humanities requirement at Rhodes.

"The Man (SEARCH) course was a very big influence on me. I still think about it. I read things that I would never have read otherwise."

     Sid Strickland ′68
     Research professor; Director of 
     Rockefeller University′s Laboratory 
     of Neurobiology and Genetics

In the first year, students examine original documents in translation from the history and literature of the Israelites, the Greeks, the Romans, and Christians from St. Paul through the Middle Ages. Selected texts from the Hebrew Bible are read and discussed in conjunction with the ideas and themes of Mesopotamian and Greek culture. Students study the gospels and selected letters from the New Testament in conjunction with Hellenistic and Roman history, life, and thought. Related subjects include the Qur′an and the writings of Hipo, Thomas Aquinas, and Dante, among others. In the second year, students trace the roles of biblical and classical heritages in the shaping of the values, character, and institutions of western culture and its understanding of self and world. To this end, they read and discuss selections from the works of philosophers, theologians, political writers, scientists, and literary artists from the Renaissance to the present. Courses in the second year focus attention on the fine arts, history, literature, philosophy, politics, sciences and religious studies. Students choose one of these disciplinary areas as the emphasis for the third semester of SEARCH.

"Last year I led a weeklong seminar for college and university presidents for the American Academic Leadership Institute of Washington, DC. As I prepared for it, I found it was very much like the Man/SEARCH course in nature, and my Rhodes experience was very much in mind." 

     John Churchill ′71
     Secretary and CEO, The Phi Beta
     Kappa Society