American Colonial History

In today’s post I am talking with fellow Anxious Bench blogger, Baylor University historian, and prolific author Thomas Kidd about his new book, American Colonial History: Clashing Cultures and Faiths. His previous books include biographies of George Whitefield and Patrick Henry and a history of the Great Awakening. JT: You write that two major themes organize American [Read More…]

Food Rules and Habituated Practice

Last week I described an “eating exercise” meant to encourage my students to think historically about the industrialization of food. It seemed to work well. Several of my students pointed out that not everything that is  technologically “advanced” is better. One wrote, “Compared to historical eating, modern eating is over-processed, over-sized, and over-consumed. We eat [Read More…]

Who Is the Mormon Jesus?

In today’s post I am talking with Anxious Bench blogger and George Mason professor John Turner about his new book, The Mormon Jesus: A Biography. John has written previous books on Brigham Young, and on Campus Crusade for Christ. TK: Your book is called The Mormon Jesus. What do Mormons actually believe about Jesus? Has that view [Read More…]

On Theology and Wild Boar

This post will not be about Easter bunnies, but it will be about animals. In the Christian tradition, animals possess a rich symbolic significance. Ask most Christians whether they would prefer being a goat or sheep in the eyes of the Lord and you will quickly baa-baa. From Genesis through Revelation, animals are regularly invoked [Read More…]

The Curse of Capitals and the Theology of Punctuation

I have invented a new discipline, the Theology of Punctuation. I am presently writing a book about the couple of centuries preceding Jesus’s time, and over the past year or two I have written quite a few blogs about issues relating to that topic. One of the persistent problems I have relates to capitals and [Read More…]

Stephen H. Webb

Two weeks ago, prolific American theologian Stephen H. Webb died. For a beautiful tribute, see this essay. I knew Stephen because we read and reviewed each other’s books. About five years ago or so, I was sitting in the Dallas airport waiting for a flight to a conference. Whenever I’m going to a conference, I [Read More…]

The Modern Roots of “Pagan” Easter

In the late nineteenth century, a Cambridge scholar sat at his desk and wove a brilliant story about comparative religious practices. “ALL over Europe,” he argued, “the peasants have been accustomed from time immemorial to kindle bonfires on certain days of the year, and to dance round or leap over them. Customs of this kind [Read More…]

The Bible: Mass Distribution and Massive Ignorance?

Over at the Weekly Standard I reviewed John Fea’s excellent new history of the American Bible Society (ABS). At the end of the review, I reflected on the dilemma of mass Bible ownership versus declining Bible “engagement.” As the ABS observes its 200th birthday, it has become more clearly aligned with a broadly defined evangelicalism than [Read More…]

Numbering the Old Testament: 22, 24 , 39, or more?

Over the past couple of years my work has often brought me back to the writings of Josephus, and I just wanted to describe one Biblical-related problem that arises there. I claim little originality in what I am writing here, but am rather stating and summarizing a long-running debate. (Jewish readers, please avert your eyes: [Read More…]

The King’s Son Enters Jerusalem

I have been working on European history in the later nineteenth century, and specifically the role of religious and apocalyptic ideas in shaping real-world politics in in that supposedly modern and technological age. I’ll be doing several posts on that topic in coming weeks, but let me just introduce the theme here. What I have [Read More…]


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