Sin and the Historian

This semester I am teaching a sophomore seminar entitled “Historical Methods.”  Since I teach at a Christian college, we spend a lot of time in this course thinking about the relationship between Christianity and the practice of doing history.  This morning I taught a wonderful essay by George Marsden entitled “Human Depravity: A Neglected Explanatory [Read More...]

We’re #95! We’re #95 We’re #95!!

According to Kent Shaffer at Church Relevance, “The Anxious Bench” is the 95th best “church blog” on the Internet.  I am not sure what this all means, but the ranking has me thinking.  Are we really a “church blog?”  I prefer to think of us as a religious history blog that might be useful to [Read More...]

The Founding Fathers, Barack Obama, and “Taking Care of Our Own”

Here’s a piece that I wrote after Obama’s acceptance speech at the DNC.  It originally appeared at The Way of Improvement Leads Home, but I thought Anxious Bench readers might be interested in it as well.   For those who have already seen it, I apologize for the cross-post. – The Founding Fathers would have been [Read More...]

Is America New England Writ Large?

I spent the last couple of days at Duke University where I gave a lecture at a really interesting conference on the Bible in the Public Square.  The conference was sponsored by the Duke Department of Religion, the Duke Center for Jewish Studies, and Southern Methodist University. What I found particularly interesting about the conference [Read More...]

An Epic Night in Philadelphia

It has been a long week and creativity is lacking, so please forgive me for the cross-post today.  The following post was published on September 4, 2012 at The Way of Improvement Leads Home.  –JF We almost didn’t see Bruce Springsteen in Philadelphia on Sunday night. I have spent the last couple of weeks battling [Read More...]

Engaging the Past, Engaging History

Noll

I was going to write about the GOP Convention today, but I found the following topic more interesting: Over at Books and Culture, Nicholas Wolterstorff reviews Mark Noll’s Jesus Christ and the Life of the Mind.   For Christian scholars, it doesn’t get any better than this.  For the past generation, Noll and Wolterstorff have been [Read More...]

What Can We Learn From the David Barton Controversy?

In case you have not heard, last week Thomas Nelson, a Christian publisher based in Nashville, ceased publication of David Barton’s The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson, saying it has “lost confidence in the book’s details.” Since its publication earlier this year, The Jefferson Lies has been attacked by [Read More...]

Should Historians Cast Judgment on the Past?

As a history professor I often find myself in conversations with students and fellow faculty members about whether or not it is appropriate for historians to cast judgment on people and events from another era.  Since I teach at a Christian college, these conversations usually focus on applying the moral teachings of the Bible to [Read More...]

Being a Historian

Being a Historian

James Banner’s Being a Historian: An Introduction to the Professional World of History should be required reading for every first-year student enrolled in a history graduate program.  There is no other book like it. Banner is a history veteran.  He taught at Princeton from 1966 to 1980 and then left to start the American Association [Read More...]

What Are You Reading This Summer?

I am sure that the educated and informed readers of the Anxious Bench are making their  way through summer reading lists.   As for me, I have been mostly reading academic stuff.  Here is my list: Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The ‘Objectivity Question’ and the American Historical Profession.  I have not read this book since [Read More...]


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