Augustine and Thanksgiving

In Augustine’s Confessions, at the end of a discussion of infancy and childhood, there is a beautiful passage about thankfulness. [Note the quotations that follow are from Maria Boulding’s translation]. Much of Book I baffles contemporary readers, who think that Augustine is rather too hard on himself and others. Augustine insists that the “only innocent feature [Read More…]

Trumpocalypse

Around eighteen years ago, my wife and I drove out into the countryside beyond Louisville to find somewhere quaint to attend church one Sunday morning. It’s not hard to find quaint churches nearly anywhere in rural America and certainly not in Kentucky. We found a Reformed Baptist church. It was God’s will that we did [Read More…]

Election Day Reading Material from The Anxious Bench

Whether you want to read more about the 2016 election – or find something to distract you today… Here are some of our most popular posts from the summer and fall. [Read more…]

Alienated and Ambivalent Evangelical Scholars

Along with several of my co-bloggers, last week I was at the Conference on Faith and History. It’s one of a select number of academic conferences that brims with passion. Attendees go the panels, listen to presentations, and talk about them. All great fun. Jay Green, the CFH’s incoming president, spoke on Friday night on [Read More…]

Latter-day Saints and the Anointing of Jesus

My co-blogger Philip Jenkins is in the midst of a fascinating series of posts (most recently, here) related to the four gospel accounts of a woman anointing Jesus. In Luke’s gospel and also in John’s, a woman (Mary of Bethany, in John’s gospel) anoints Jesus’s feet and then wipes them with her hair. While writing [Read More…]

Perishing While Flourishing

A few years ago, I went through the painful process of winnowing down the stacks of books and journals in my office. I was moving, and it would cost too much to move everything. Most of the academic periodicals I could simply access online as needed, so many went into the recycling box. Books went [Read More…]

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…]

Black Church, White Jesus

Jesus and I were the only white people in the room. When I was twenty years old, I went to Washington for an unpaid summer internship. The nonprofit arranged for me to stay in a small cottage behind a lawyer’s house in one of the area’s affluent suburbs. In the cottage, there was no air [Read More…]

Mormons Will Vote Trump

The 2016 will go down in the annals of American political history as highly unusual. A real estate mogul and reality television star winning the Republican nomination? A Vermont socialist even sniffing the Democratic nod? Voting blocs, however, are far more predictable. Pundits have written great length about Donald Trump’s weakness with Mormon voters. Not [Read More…]

How a Dissertation Becomes a Book

The first book of most academic historians is a strange creature: a dissertation that has become a book. How and when should newly minted Ph.D.’s transform those dissertations into books? It is one of the most important and — often — most perplexing moments in an academic career. This is the first in a series [Read More…]