Unsecularize the Academy?

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This morning, I began reading Brad Gregory’s magisterial The Unintended Reformation: How A Religious Revolution Secularized Modern Society. It’s not a subtle or irenic book. “Judged on their own terms,” Gregory concludes, “and with respect to the objectives of their own leading protagonists, medieval Christendom failed, the Reformation failed, confessionalized Europe failed, and Western modernity [Read More...]

“An Index to Books”: John Erskine and The Evangelical Disseminators

I recently read Jonathan Yeager’s excellent Enlightened Evangelicalism: The Life and Thought of John Erskine (Oxford, 2011), and am struck by Yeager’s thesis that Erskine, one of the leading evangelical pastors in eighteenth-century Scotland, was especially significant as a “disseminator of enlightened evangelicalism.” Of course, Erskine was also an important theologian and preacher, but where he [Read More...]

New Year’s Resolution: Read More Books!

Happy New Year! I have routinely resolved at the New Year that I’d like to read more, and to read more intentionally. (Of course, a major part of my job as a history professor is reading, and much of that reading is pleasurable, but I am talking about the kind of non-professional reading I do [Read More...]

Farewell to My Favorite Used Bookstore

From Waco it takes about three and a half hours to get to Archer City, Texas, home of Larry McMurtry’s legendary Booked Up. This is my favorite used bookstore in America. Last weekend, McMurtry, the celebrated western novelist and author, most famously, of Lonesome Dove, auctioned off two-thirds of his inventory, mostly to aspiring used booksellers. [Read More...]

What Are You Reading This Summer?

I am sure that the educated and informed readers of the Anxious Bench are making their  way through summer reading lists.   As for me, I have been mostly reading academic stuff.  Here is my list: Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The ‘Objectivity Question’ and the American Historical Profession.  I have not read this book since [Read More...]


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