April 29, 2020

For 9 years now, nearly every semester I have taught a survey course on the second half of American history. The story line is so deeply embedded in my brain that I could spontaneously regale you with nearly any lecture from this course. I have sometimes spontaneously regaled my friends with pieces of the narrative over lunch. I am grateful they are still my friends. American history is therefore the lens through which I see the present. As each new… Read more

April 28, 2020

By Elesha Coffman, Baylor University In this semester of Coronavirus, we professors who are accustomed to face-to-face teaching have to think hard about what we did in the classroom and how to translate that work into an online environment. In a previous job, I taught in-person and asynchronous online sections of the same class during the same semester, so I’ve had a bit more time to ponder this than many of my colleagues. During that earlier experience, I came to… Read more

April 27, 2020

Plenty of Christians (and Jews) are asking a question right now: given our current crisis, where should we turn in our Bibles for guidance, instruction and comfort? I wrote about the powerful Psalm 91, with its explicit references to plague and pestilence, and Psalm 121 has its adherents. From lots of possible answers, I offer a personal favorite text, namely the Letter of James, and specifically one section. Through the centuries, this section has had a really remarkable appeal worldwide,… Read more

April 24, 2020

Like many of us, I am thinking a great deal right now about the impact of our current virus crisis on religion and faith. Will our current constraints and limitations prove just a passing thing to be remembered grimly, or has the crisis massively accelerated a series of trends that were under way anyway? Are we already seeing a new normal? There are so many aspects to think about, obviously, so here are a couple of ideas that arise. Throughout,… Read more

April 23, 2020

From the Anxious Bench archives: From 1560 until well into the seventeenth century, the Geneva Bible was the most widely read translation of the Christian scriptures into English. Itself building upon but surpassing the prior efforts of William Tyndale and Miles Coverdale, the Geneva Bible exerted a strong influence on the language of the King James text and through it on English translations down to the present day. The Geneva Bible, as its name suggests, was a project conceived of… Read more

April 22, 2020

During a hard week for his university, Chris thinks ahead to how two of his fall courses will use the liberal arts to help his students see more clearly through “the fog of war.” Read more

April 21, 2020

Like many others during the COVID-19 pandemic, Chris has found himself baking bread — and thinking about the historical and religious meanings of that activity. Read more

April 20, 2020

A Review of Alexander Norman, The Dalai Lama: An Extraordinary Life. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt, 2020. 410pp. In the not-too-distant future, the current Dalai Lama will pass away and a new one will be selected. Beijing has already warned Tibet that China must approve of the choice and might possibly announce its own candidate. No doubt, this will be a sensational geopolitical and religious event full of palace intrigue, the resurfacing of ancient rites and customs, and the rueful remembrance… Read more

April 17, 2020

Some twenty years ago, I was working on the writer Charles Brockden Brown, the first American to earn a successful living as a novelist. In 1798, he wrote the novel Arthur Mervyn, which has a setting that we today find relevant to the point of shocking. It concerns life in a US city during a dreadful epidemic, and how that experience spurs hideous racial fears and stereotypes. At the same time, that panic also laid an essential  foundation for the… Read more

April 16, 2020

Why astronauts had trouble seeing God in outer space Read more

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