Good Advice for those who are ABD

Jean & Alexander Heard Library, Vanderbilt University By Jbaker08 [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“It’s the good advice that you just didn’t take.” -Alanis Morissette, “Ironic,” Jagged Little Pill (1995). Anxious Bench blogmeister, Thomas Kidd recently posted a great piece on “How to Survive Graduate School.”  He dealt with big picture items such as tailoring reading strategies, taking care of your health, and attending to your spiritual life.  In [Read More...]

Advice for the Dismal Academic Job Market

Over at Slate, Rebecca Schuman imagines an awkward scenario from a family gathering, which includes a newly-minted Ph.D.: You’re just making polite conversation, so you ask him: “Want to come visit us next Christmas?” Why on earth did his sallow face just cloud over at your kind and generous offer? Because he has no idea where he’ll be living [Read More...]

From Oxford to Malibu

Apologies in advance, for this is going to be a short post. I have been on the road quite a bit, most recently to the UK to give a talk on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of World War I. The particular topic of the conference was Theology, Culture, and World War I. Even [Read More...]

Peregrinus and Part-Time Christians

Around the 160s, the Greek satirist Lucian posted on the life and times of one Peregrinus, whom he depicted as a rogue and confidence trickster of dubious sanity. It’s a rollicking story, but one with serious implications for reading and teaching Christian history. According to Lucian’s tendentious account, Peregrinus went through multiple incarnations: as a [Read More...]

How the Federal Council of Churches influenced The Sunday School Times

SST

After twenty-one years of marriage, my wife and I know each other pretty well.  We are in that stage of our relationship where we often know what the other person is thinking in a conversation with a third party and can, at times, finish each other’s sentences.  Often, we find ourselves exclaiming, “that’s exactly what [Read More...]

Graduate Course on the American Revolution

This semester I am teaching a graduate seminar on the American Revolutionary Era. As I have written before, choosing a book list for a graduate course is not as simple as picking 13 to 15 of your favorite books on a topic. When assigning books, I take several factors into account – inexpensive editions (usually [Read More...]

Big History. Too Big.

Well into the early modern period, some histories of the world written by Europeans started the story way back—in the garden of Eden.  Not just church history, but what passed as universal histories, might start with the creation of the world. Nor is it strange for historians to consider their discipline a science, with human [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...]

Bonhoeffer’s “Who am I?”

Much attention has been directed to the legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer lately due in part to the popular biography by Eric Metaxas (Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy) and, more recently, the more scholarly approach of Charles Marsh (A Strange Glory: The Life Of Dietrich Bonhoeffer). For most American Christians, the best known of Bonhoeffer’s works [Read More...]

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

Neil Brake/Vanderbilt

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...]


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