Scripture as Usable History

Patriot's Bible

The Bicentennial Bible (1975) and the American Patriot’s Bible (2009) tie scripture closely to right-wing politics. The marginal notes feature quotations from Dick Cheney and other conservative activists on the subjects of liberty and the efficacy of public school prayer and free-markets. The Bicentennial Bible declares that Scripture is “America’s Book from Almighty God.” These [Read More...]

Christianity, Violence, and World War I

Our friends at Religion News Service have an excellent profile of two of the best books ever written on World War I and religion, Jonathan Ebel’s Faith in the Fight: The American Soldier and the Great War, and my colleague and fellow Anxious Bencher Philip Jenkins’ The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a [Read More...]

CONSTRUCTING A CATHOLIC CRISIS

Jason Berry is a journalist who works on Catholic issues and clergy sexual abuse. He has recently published an article on abuse issues, in which he attacks my work. He is quite at liberty to make such a criticism, but he cannot do so on the basis of an outrageous mis-representation of what I actually [Read More...]

STICKING UP FOR JEWS?

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Over the past few years, we Anxious Bench bloggers have dealt with many and sundry topics. As I look back, though, I am surprised to see one big omission, both my myself and my colleagues, which is that of Jews and Judaism, and Christian-Jewish relations. If we have touched on it, we have not said [Read More...]

Phony Wars

Reform or perish. Cultural and ideological liberals have given such advice to conservative churches for years. Sometimes that advice comes from within, sometimes from outside of those communions. For example, Jonathan Rauch warns conservative Christians that “the First Church of Discrimination will find few adherents in 21st-century America. Polls find that, year by year, Americans [Read More...]

African American Texas History in Houston

The best research projects are ones that can reasonably be accomplished.  Since I enjoy archival research and travel funds are limited, I recently began considering what projects I might pursue locally.  With a strong interest in African American religious history and the recent historiographical turn towards grassroots activism during the Civil Rights era, focusing on Houston-area [Read More...]

Five Great Books on Evangelical Christianity

My recent post “‘Evangelicals’ Who Are Not Evangelicals” generated quite a discussion about who’s in, and who’s out of the evangelical camp. The study of evangelicalism has seen an amazing renaissance in the past fifty years, so here’s a list of five excellent books on evangelicals and their history. The usual disclaimers: I’m not including [Read More...]

THE BREAKING OF IMAGES

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In a recent Times Literary Supplement, David Motadel reviewed James Noyes’s 2013 book The Politics of Iconoclasm: Religion, Violence and the Culture of Image-Breaking in Christianity and Islam. The review, and the associated scholarship, raises important questions about how we conceive of the Reformation, how we teach it, and, significantly, how we will commemorate the [Read More...]

THE FLIGHT OF THE DINGBATS

Robert Spencer just published an extraordinarily inaccurate piece about my work. I would not normally dignify Spencer with a reply, but his piece appeared at jihadwatch, which has among its followers a significant number of folks who feel the need to send hate-filled screeds against those who meet their displeasure. While such dingbat mail is [Read More...]

BUCHAN’S POWER HOUSE

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I have been posting on some books that appeared during the First World War – books by Wells, Moore, and Machen – but one contribution from that time was one of the most daring and, we might even say, prophetic. Amazingly in light of his later reputation, the author in question was John Buchan. His [Read More...]


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