William J. Seymour and Global Pentecostalism

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I just received a copy of a major new book, which should be of great interest to Anxious Bench readers. Even better, I also draw attention to another and closely related text from the same hand. Gastón Espinosa, who teaches at Claremont McKenna College, has just published a substantial volume called William J. Seymour and [Read More...]

She Treasured It In Her Heart

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I’m wondering when it is possible to argue from silence when reading historical sources, and particularly in a Biblical context. I have been writing recently on the Virgin Mary in early Christianity, and was initially taken aback to find how even I tended to attribute statements to the wrong gospel, and thus the wrong historical [Read More...]

Finding a Subject

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Beth Barr, Tommy Kidd and myself have all been posting on the subject of writing and publishing, particularly of academic books. All of us trod lightly on one of the most important aspects of all, namely how someone goes about choosing a topic in the first place. In some cases, it’s easy. You might for [Read More...]

HISTORY IN MAPS

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I was recently looking at some older maps of Africa in the colonial period. Now, maps can be quite deceptive in telling stories, but one in particular struck me forcefully. This is a c.1913 map of the African religious scene. The Muslim regions are quite familiar, and the mapmaker has done his/her best to show [Read More...]

ENDING THE DRAFT

For obvious reasons, historians concern themselves with writing about things that happened, rather than others that did not exist, or that ceased to happen. In one instance though, we can learn a lot about modern America from tracing the long-term cultural impact of something that finished over forty years ago, namely the military draft. Odd [Read More...]

PICTURING THE GREAT WAR: A WORLD ON THE CROSS

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In my book The Great and Holy War, I write at some length about the propaganda imagery of the war, and how thoroughly it drew on Christian imagery, especially Christ himself, and the Crucifixion. Posters and cartoons depicted whole nations as the victims of crucifixion. Usually they were depicted in the form of women, and [Read More...]

PICTURING THE GREAT WAR (3)

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One hundred years ago this week, Europe began the deadliest war in its history (to that date). I have been writing about how historians can find and use visual resources to understand attitudes at the time, and I have written about Germany and France. The other key player at the start of the war, of [Read More...]

PICTURING THE GREAT WAR (2)

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I was discussing the vast range of visual materials that historians can use to illustrate attitudes to the First World War. German propaganda especially suggested that easy victory lay within reach, which was fine unless and until they ran into obstacles and defeats, when all those cheery images began to look very sour. The French, [Read More...]

PICTURING THE GREAT WAR (1)

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We are presently commemorating the centennial of the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. Plenty of different theories allocate blame for that event to various powers, usually to Germany, with Russia as a runner up. For present purposes, though, let us set aside blame and look at how the different powers presented the [Read More...]

WARS HOLY AND UNHOLY

(c) The Highlanders' Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

I have been posting a lot recently on the topic of holy war and crusade in the context of the First World War. In that context, I read a piece by Donald R. McClarey posted at the American Catholic. It includes a quote that demands a “discuss!” following it. The piece is called “Benedict XV, [Read More...]


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