God and the 2016 Presidential Debates

Four years ago, I wrote a post on “God and the Presidential Debates” after the first round between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. The substance of that post follows here, after a brief update. God, Christianity, and religion were almost entirely absent from this week’s first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I thought [Read More…]

Hey White Evangelicals, Welcome to Anabaptism

After centuries of relying on sky-high Amish birthrates for church growth, Anabaptism has exploded in just several months. The surprising converts include a lot of conservative white evangelicals who are not known for their pacifism, simple living, or belief in the separation of church and state. Nonetheless, many are suddenly preaching the limits of partisan [Read More…]

Beyond Books: The “Head of Christ”

The history of the most iconic image of Jesus in American culture — and why it points to an imbalance in the religious influence we attribute to books vs. material culture. [Read more…]

The Religious Revolution of the 1970s: The Case of Israel

I have been posting about the aggressive revival of religious politics during the mid-1970s, and suggested parallels between events in the United States and many other nations around the world in the very same years. Specifically, I offered a model for what was happening at this time, and which had led to discontent being expressed [Read More…]

The 1970s and the Revenge of God

In my last blogpost, I discussed the political and cultural transformations of the 1970s, a global shift not just to conservatism but particularly to religious traditionalism. In different forms, we see such a pattern in the US, but also in countries like Israel, Iran and India, and across the Islamic world. In the words of [Read More…]

An Open Letter to the ESV Translation Committee

I’m not a biblical translator, or even a biblical scholar. I’m a historian. As a historian, I was intrigued when I heard the news that “the Permanent Text of the ESV Bible” had been released. (The English Standard Version, for those not in the know, is an “essentially literal” translation of the Revised Standard Version.) [Read More…]

Burning Witches in Medieval Europe?

Kilkenny lies deep in southern Ireland. Its history lies just as deep in the medieval past. The thirteenth-century cathedral of St. Canice stands next to a 9th-century monastic tower; a castle still sits on the site of William Marshall’s 12th-century Norman foundations; and a fourteenth-century inn, Kyteler’s Inn, still operates in the old town. The inn [Read More…]

Beyond Books: “Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest”

Chris Gehrz continues his series on types of Christian writing other than books by reflecting on table graces like “Come, Lord Jesus, Be Our Guest” [Read more…]

Counting Down to the Reformation at 500

There’s an African proverb, I am told, that goes like this: “If I don’t beat my own drum, who will?” In this spirit, permit me to make known to Anxious-Bench readers two publications of mine. The first is recently out; the second will be out in a matter of weeks. It has been a delight [Read More…]

The Anxious Bench at the Conference on Faith and History

Where you can hear Anxious Bench contributors at next month’s 30th biennial meeting of the Conference on Faith and History [Read more…]


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