My goal is to contribute meaningfully to one of the key questions facing liberal arts education in the United States today: what is value of the Humanities? To address this, I would like to broaden the context in which I currently examine the Humanities' central question: what is the nature of the human being? German departments, such as the one I chair at Oberlin College, typically examine the essence of humanity and the human being by studying literature, viewing it as the work of the mind and the imagination, or "Geist." Yet "Geist" has another meaning: spirit or soul. Certainly, and for many good reasons, religion's role as a driving force in the Humanities has been reappraised in the last century. I would like with this project to reconsider the relationship of the mind and the spirit within Humanities education today. My motivation is neither doctrinaire nor political. Instead I seek to understand the human "Geist" more fully. My project begins with inquiries into these same questions by two leading authors, the American Quaker theologian and teacher, Parker Palmer, and the German Lutheran theologian and pastor, Margot Kässmann. Funds from the New Directions Initiative would allow me to meet with Palmer and Kässmann and to delve more deeply into their writings. Dr. Kässmann is currently in residence at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, and I would like to visit with her this October while she is still in the United States. Because a meeting with Dr. Palmer will be much simpler to arrange, I will do so at a later date.