Bringing Religion to the Frontier

August 15th, 2014

by Andy McKee In a speech given on May 26, 1826, titled “An Address to the Whites” Elias Boudinot, a Cherokee by birth, addressed First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia to raise funds for missionary activities in the southern United States. In it, he raised questions of race and religion to the community “What is an

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An ASCH Member Heads to Washington: Ben Sasse and the Christian Right

August 13th, 2014

by Paul Putz Although I now reside in Texas, I’m a Nebraskan born and bred, constantly looking for any and all opportunities to discuss my home state. To that end, the Nebraska Senate race this year has been quite a boon. It’s not that the race is exciting – far from it. Ben Sasse, the

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Church History – September 2014

August 12th, 2014

  The September 2014 issue of Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture is now online. You may view the issue by clicking here. This issue features articles by Daniel J. Nodes, Simone Maghenzani, Elizabeth Bouldin, Newton Key, Zachary Purvis, and Carl R. Weinberg.      

The Second Century, Hobby Lobby, and the Invention of Christianity

August 11th, 2014

Today we begin featuring regular dispatches from a group of monthly contributors. These contributors approach the cultural history of Christianity from a variety of research interests, reflecting the diverse membership and interests of the Society. I look forward to the conversation in the comments and on social media. If you’re interested in writing for the blog, please

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The Big Picture: Eighteenth-century Evangelical Doctrines and English Culture

August 4th, 2014

By Charles Wallace Bruce Hindmarsh’s recent delightfully wise afterword in the ASCH blog recalls for us his presidential address, delivered this past January in Washington and now expanded in Church History’s June number. His careful research and graceful presentation, both in the room and in the journal, deserve our admiration. In effect, he has put

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The Story Behind the Picture

July 8th, 2014

By: Bruce Hindmarsh

My presidential address in January, “The Inner Life of Doctrine: An Interdisciplinary Perspective on the Calvinist-Arminian Debate Among Methodists,” is published this month in Church History, but it began several years ago on a padded bench in Henry E. Huntington’s villa in San Marino, California.

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New Books in Religious History: Hudnut-Beumler’s In Pursuit of the Almighty’s Dollar

July 1st, 2014

By: James Hudnut-Beumler

The editors asked me to contribute to this author’s feature, which focuses on recent books in religious history and their back-stories, so to speak. The book that they had in mind was my In Pursuit of the Almighty’s Dollar: A History of Money and American Protestantism. They indicated that I could write about how the book came to be written, the books that didn’t get written out of the research conducted, and any unplowed fields that I might have found along the way available to other scholars, or some combination of these themes. I accepted the challenge because I have always been interested in other’s “book stories” and because this book, my fourth, had emerged from the greatest forest of possibilities to-date and hence seemed worth writing about for others.

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The Catholic Gaze: Agency through Discipline

June 27th, 2014

By: Sally Dwyer-McNulty

Examining the interpersonal dynamics surrounding Catholic uniforms for Common Threads, I found three subgroups the most readily interpretable: those who make the clothing rules, those who follow the rules, and those who violate the rules. But other actors, often women, old and young, fictive and real take up a role regarding uniforms — they are the observers. Applying Michel Foucault’s insights about the practices that enforce norms in Discipline & Punishment: The Birth of the Prison, these uniform monitors comprise a network that participates in identifying rule violators and disciplining them. Foucault refers to this network, one that is informal and usually outside of the traditional institutional framework of power, as part of the “mechanism of discipline.” Nevertheless, through their policing Catholic gaze, these often unrecognized inspectors of attire and behavior claim a degree of authority, and assist in sustaining the material and behavioral dimension of Catholicism.

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Arthur Scherr’s “Thomas Jefferson Versus the Historians”: A Response by Matt McCook

June 24th, 2014

By Matt McCook

The religious faiths of the founders, particularly Thomas Jefferson, have been the subject of so much recent scholarship and polemical writing, Arthur Scherr’s title, “Thomas Jefferson Versus the Historians: Christianity, Atheistic Morality, and the Afterlife” led me to wonder which historians Scherr’s Jefferson would battle. It was clear from the opening paragraph that historians who supposedly champion the position of the Religious Right were the intended opponents. Although all respondents on this blog have mentioned that Scherr casts his net too widely in identifying the culprits, the critique bears repeating. Polemical works on all sides deserves to be called out by serious scholars, but not all scholars who argue that Jefferson was more Christian or more comfortable with some degree of cooperation between church and state are necessarily writing on behalf of the Religious Right. I find little similarity between the works of David Barton and the scholarship of James Hutson, Paul Conkin, Edwin Gaustad, or even Daniel Dreisbach. Their works are not merely provocative, as unsupported polemical assertions are, nor would they claim their conclusions were above historical revisionism. Rather, they have contributed reasonable assertions based on available evidence that demand attention; their contributions are not so easily dismissed.

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Church History – June 2014

June 17th, 2014

The Spring issue of Church History is out on Cambridge Journals Online. In this issue:

Robert McEachnie, “A History of Heresy Past: The Sermons of Chromatius of Aquileia, 388-407.”


Alison More, “Institutionalizing Penitential Life in Later Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Third Orders, Rules, and Canonical Legitimacy.”


Jan Stievermann, “Faithful Translations: New Discoveries on the German Pietist Reception of Jonathan Edwards.”


Bruce Hindmarsh, “The Inner Life of Doctrine: An Interdisciplinary Perspective on the Calvinist-Arminian Debate Among Methodists.”


Emily Anderson, “Containing Voices in the Wilderness: Censorship and Religious Dissent in the Japanese Countryside.”


Phillip A. Cantrell, II, “We Were a Chosen People”: The East African Revival and Its Return to Post-Genocide Rwanda.”


Check out the full issue at Cambridge Journals Online.