Harvey Cox, best known for his 1965 book The Secular City, celebrated retirement from Harvard Divinity School last week by exercising the ancient privilege enjoyed by his Hollis chair, the oldest endowed chair in American higher education: grazing rights (he also played saxophone at the event).

Image by Meredith H. Keffer, via the Harvard Crimson.

Reports the Bostonist:

The Reverend Peter Gomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals, gave an invocation, praising Cox, early Harvard donor Thomas Hollis, and handsome Jersey cow Faith—all of them good Baptists. One of Cox’s students, Travis Allen Stevens, delivered a Latin oration concerning Faith’s dissertation, Ager Secularis: Movere ad Deum et Ruminare, which “questions human-centric modalities so present in contemporary theological conversations.”

Cox may be retiring, but he’s staying busy. 80 years old, he remains Hollis Research Professor of Divinity at Harvard. And he has a new book coming out, The Future of Faith. Says the publisher’s book description:

There is an essential change taking place in what it means to be “religious” today. Religious people are more interested in ethical guidelines and spiritual disciplines than in doctrines. The result is a universal trend away from hierarchical, regional, patriarchal, and institutional religion. As these changes gain momentum, they evoke an almost point-for-point fundamentalist reaction. Fundamentalism, Cox argues, is on graphic display around the globe because it is dying.

Once suffocated by creeds, hierarchies, and the disastrous merger of the church with the Roman Empire, faith—rather than belief—is once again becoming Christianity’s defining quality.

See, while you’re at it, Cox’s reply to Charles Taylor here at The Immanent Frame.