Five “First Books” of Note in 2014

December 10th, 2014

by Paul Putz ‘Tis the season for arbitrary end of the year lists. In the spirit of the season, I’d like to recognize five of my favorite “first books”* (revised dissertations) published this year that cover the history of Christianity in the U.S. Due to the constraints of the arbitrary boundaries I’ve imposed upon myself

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Emmanuel Goldstein, Simon Magus, and Early Christian Propaganda

December 8th, 2014

By Thomas Whitley In George Orwell’s famously popular dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, Emmanuel Goldstein is the former Inner Party member who strayed and started the revolution. Goldstein, the story goes, authored The Book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, which every member of his group, The Brotherhood, was required to read. As I have

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A School Calendar’s Reminder about U.S. Public Education and “Civilizing”

December 3rd, 2014

Today’s post is from our newest contributor, Leslie Ribovich. Leslie is beginning a dissertation at Princeton on moral education in New York City public high schools after the U.S. Supreme Court deemed devotional exercises unconstitutional. Her research interests include religion and law, women’s religious history, race and religion, and the history of education. by Leslie Ribovich

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Demonization and Racialization in British North America: Slave Revolts, Devilish Priests, and Infernal Landscapes

December 1st, 2014

by Jeffrey Wheatley  (Although in my last post I proposed that I would use the next few posts to explore historical and historiographical trends related to the study of capitalism, I want to take a brief detour. I have adapted what follows from a paper I gave at the Florida State Department of Religion graduate

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Progressive Evangelicals and Christian History

November 13th, 2014

Paul Putz The history of contemporary progressive evangelicalism has now been the subject of two excellent scholarly books: David Swartz’s Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism (Penn, 2012), and Brantley Gasaway’s Progressive Evangelicals and the Pursuit and Social Justice (North Carolina, 2014). Although I am in the middle of a typical

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A Transgender Thecla?

November 10th, 2014

By Thomas J. Whitley The Acts of Thecla tells the legendary story of a woman from Iconium (modern day Konya, Turkey) who, after hearing Paul’s preaching, left her mother and her betrothed for a life of asceticism and sexual renunciation. Her story is a fascinating one to read. She escapes death, with God’s help, multiple

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What Year Is It? On women, authority, and the roots of Christian tradition

October 27th, 2014

by Jenny Collins-Elliott “Did I just wander into the 17th century?” reddit user “Zrk2” asked in response to a discussion thread on the subreddit /r/TrueChristian (1) entitled: “Christian woman culture thoughts?” [sic] The poster, “SpecialU,” wanted to know what fellow, anonymous users of /r/TrueChristian—an online message board for “Bible-believing Christians” to discuss their religion and to

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“It is just as easy to reach the portals of Heaven from Cappadocia as from Jerusalem”: Rereading Gregory of Nyssa’s Position on Pilgrimage

October 24th, 2014

by Tara Baldrick-Morrone In the section on John of Lycopolis in the History of the Monks of Egypt, sayings 13–64 detail the three-day visit that seven brothers (i.e., monks) had with John. Upon their arrival, when John inquired about their journey, they responded that they had come to see him “for the good of [their]

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Capitalism’s Turn?

October 22nd, 2014

by Jeffrey Wheatley Scholarly interest in capitalism has been on the rise. The most obvious sign of this interest has been Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, which received a surprising amount of media attention for being a rather dense book with new methods but an old argument. Piketty is a French economist, but scholars

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The Devil May Care: Left Behind and Modern American Evangelicalism

October 21st, 2014

by Emily Johnson In the week before the new Left Behind movie hit theatres, marketers released a teaser poster. Above a post-apocalyptic scene in a crowded parking lot are the words: “Please do not bring unbelievers to this movie.” The quotation is attributed to Satan. The movie is an adaptation of the first book in the

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