The 1940s and America’s Proto-New Age

The decade of the 1940s represents a profoundly underappreciated era in American history, and that is especially true in matters of religion. The period is of course dominated by the events of the Second World War and its immediate aftermath, together with debates over race, civil rights and desegregation. Oddly, though, in so many ways, [Read More...]

Dying the Modern Death

Republic of Suffering

Welcome to this fourth installment of Death Wednesday here at the Anxious Bench. In my last post I described the nostalgic appeal of Trappist caskets and old-time burial practices at the bucolic Abbey of Gethsemani. For me and my students, Gethsemani seemed awfully appealing as we contemplated the likelihood of our own deaths in an [Read More...]

Bourbon Fudge and Trappist Caskets

Merton grave

This past semester for me focused inordinately on death. I taught a course called “War in the American Memory” and covered the Holocaust in World Civilizations. And then—even though commencement was already over—fellow blogger Miles Mullin piled on with a terrific post on how modern Americans outsource death and dying. It’s the semester that won’t [Read More...]


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