The War That Never Was

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This is nothing like a standard Anxious Bench post, but it does get to some issues of how we write history. As I’ve remarked in the past, a lot of professional historians dislike and distrust “alternate” history, which they see as a kind of pointless parlor game. But we all use an approach like that [Read More...]

Pioneer Prophet in Paperback

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My co-blogger Thomas Kidd mentioned in his most recent post that he has learned “how much authors need to work on publicity.” So here goes — next week, Harvard University Press is releasing the paperback edition of my Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet. What was a tremendous value is now an outright bargain! One can start [Read More...]

Unexpected Sites of Christian Pacifism: Charles Spurgeon Edition

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Charles Spurgeon, a Reformed Baptist known as the “prince of preachers” in the nineteenth century, remains revered. Known especially for his devotional writings, he currently ranks in the top 100 bestsellers of Christian literature on Amazon. Tom Nettles, a professor of historical theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, says that contemporary fascination with Spurgeon is [Read More...]

Writing a Book, From Start to Finish

One of my newsletter subscribers, Job Dalomba [jobdalomba.com] suggested that I write a post how how to do “book projects from start to finish, and share any ideas on how to get started.” Philip Jenkins and I have been posting lately about how to choose a research subject, but I loved this suggestion and want to [Read More...]

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...]

The Age of Evangelicalism

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Steven Miller’s first book, Billy Graham and the Rise of the Republican South, discusses the role of Graham and of evangelical Christianity more broadly in the political realignment of southern politics in the years following the Second World War. Miller’s second book, The Age of Evangelicalism: America’s Born-Again Years has already received a great deal [Read More...]

In Memoriam: Dale A. Johnson (1936 – 2014)

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Feeling a vocational calling to teach, I completed all of the graduate school application necessaries in the fall of 2000.  I secured recommendations letters, practiced and sat for the GRE, wrote essays, ordered transcripts, and made contact with potential supervisors at the schools to which I considering applying.  Fatigued from the process and the other [Read More...]

Choosing a research topic

Philip Jenkins’ recent post on choosing a subject for a book or research project is well worth your time. If there’s anyone who knows how to pick a topic, it is Professor Jenkins! From my own time in a Master’s and Ph.D. program, through the present as I advise Baylor doctoral students, I am mindful [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...]


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