Time for Kierkegaard

Summer is here. For academics, that means there just might be time to pick up a random book and read it for pleasure. For those of us in American religious history, Heath Carter has just tweeted a handy list of 150 of his favorite books. But as pleasurable as these books are sure to be, [Read More…]

The Quaker Jesus

In October 1656, James Nayler rode into the English city of Bristol, accompanied by a small band of men and women who sang hosannas. Understood to have recreated Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and accused of claiming to be Jesus Christ, Parliament convicted Nayler of “horrid blasphemy.” Nayler was scourged with the whip, his flesh [Read More…]

Are There Good Religious History Books for Children?

The children’s religious book market is booming… so why are there so few good church histories and Christian biographies for those readers? [Read more…]

Are the gods present?

“After he has lunched on his God on Sunday, / You should worship his turd on Monday.” So the French Huguenot polemical poet Agrippa d’Aubigné mocked the Catholic Eucharist. Early Protestants felt and feigned horror at the idea that Catholics believed that they chewed, swallowed, and digested the very body of Jesus Christ. They were [Read More…]

Biographies Full of Females

Who’s significant? As Chris Gehrz discussed in a recent post, his students — and most publishers — think that a “biography is a book written about a significant individuals.” Most of those individuals happen to be men in positions of political power. Presidents, kings, businessmen, and a few religious leaders thrown into the mix. This [Read More…]

The Problems of Writing Biography (Part 1 – Empathy and Exoneration)

While some of my colleagues here have written excellent examples of the genre, I’ve never had much desire to write a biography. In fact, it had been a few years since I’d even read such a book. But then a road trip that included numerous plays of the Hamilton soundtrack convinced me to download the Kindle [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…]

Beyond Books: Hymns as Christian Writing

Do we overstate the influence of books and underestimate the importance of other types of Christian writing? First in a series: the power of hymns. [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…]

Summer Reading List of American Protestant History

Interested in the history of American Protestantism? A few summer reading suggestions… [Read more…]