Monday, 29 October 2012

Amanda Porterfield at UTC

Amanda Porterfield, Robert A. Spivey Professor of Religion at Florida State University, will be giving the next LeRoy Martin Distinguished Lecture on "Conceived in Doubt: Religion and Politics in the Early American Nation" at UTC on Thursday, November 8 at 5pm in the UC Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public. If you are interested in more information on the lecture, please click here.

Porterfield's lecture comes out of her recent book, Conceived in Doubt: Religion and Politics in the New American Nation (University of Chicago Press, 2012). This will be the last lecture under the fall theme of "Religion in Politics." If you are in the Chattanooga area on November 8, please join us for refreshments and a good lecture.

Friday, 26 October 2012

History Jobs

Here is a list of current history faculty positions. 

Field                                                               Institution                                 Location
19th-/20th-Century Africa    Florida International    Miami    FL   
19th-/20th-Century Europe    South Florida    Tampa    FL

19th-Century Imperial    John Carroll    University Heights    OH

19th-Century United States    Western Ontario    London, ON    CAN

19th-Century United States    Southern Indiana    Evansville    IN

20th-Century African American    Cornell    Ithaca    NY

20th-Century African American    Mississippi    University    MS

Africa    West Georgia    Carrollton    GA

Africa    Texas, Austin    Austin    TX

Africa    SUNY, Stony Brook    Stony Brook    NY

Africa    Wisconsin-Whitewater    Whitewater    WI

Africana Studies/African American    Colorado, Boulder    Boulder    CO

America    Benedictine    Atchison    KS

American Indigenous Studies    Hamilton    Clinton    NY

Ancient Mediterranean    San Francisco State    San Francisco    CA

Ancient World    Baruch, CUNY    New York    NY

Asia    California State, Channel Islands    Camarillo    CA

Asia    Wisconsin-Whitewater    Whitewater    WI

Asia    Randolph-Macon    Ashland    VA

Asia    Wisconsin-Superior    Superior    WI

Atlantic World    St. Thomas, Minn.    St. Paul    MN

Britain/Empire    SUNY, Binghamton    Binghamton    NY

China/Asian Pacific Rim    Missouri-St. Louis    St. Louis    MO

Colonial America    Biola    La Mirada    CA

Colonial U.S.-Mexican Borderlands    Texas, El Paso    El Paso    TX

Comparative Ethnic Studies    California, Berkeley    Berkeley    CA

Computing/Digital Communication and Law    New Jersey Inst. Tech.    Newark    NJ

Cultural and Historic Preservation    Salve Regina    Newport    RI

Department Chair    East Tennessee State    Johnson City    TN

Department Chair    Charleston    Charleston    SC

Department Head    Utah State    Logan    UT

Digital    Idaho State    Pocatello    ID

Director/Special Collections    Smith    Northampton    MA

Early America    City Coll., N.Y.    New York    NY

Early America    Kenyon    Gambier    OH

Early America    Otterbein    Westerville    OH

Early America    Akron    Akron    OH

Early Modern    Victoria, Wellington    Wellington    NZ

Early Modern East Asia    SUNY, Binghamton    Binghamton    NY

Early Modern Europe    Southwestern    Georgetown    TX

Early Modern/Modern Europe    Benedictine    Atchison    KS

East Asia    Adelphi    Garden City    NY

East Asia    Farmingdale State    Farmingdale    NY

East/South Asia/Africa    Georgetown    Doha    QAT

East/South/Southeast Asia    St. Francis    Loretto    PA

Eastern/Central Europe/Germany    Texas, Pan American    Edinburg    TX

Endowed Chair/Early America    Ohio State    Columbus    OH

Endowed Chair/U.S. Civil War    Virginia Tech    Blacksburg    VA

Energy/Environmental    Houston    Houston    TX

Environmental    Christopher Newport    Newport News    VA

Environmental    Central Michigan    Mount Pleasant    MI

Environmental    Saskatchewan    Saskatoon, SK    CAN

Environmental/Business    Nanyang Tech.    Singapore    SG

Europe    Tennessee, Martin    Martin    TN

European Imperialism/World    Washington State    Pullman    WA

Fellowship    Kenyon    Gambier    OH

Fellowship/Comparative World    Colby    Waterville    ME

Fellowship/Emotions in Europe    Adelaide    Adelaide    AUS

Global    Georgetown    Doha    QAT

Global Humanities    Louisville    Louisville    KY

Global Studies    Loyola, Md.    Baltimore    MD

International Human Rights    Duke    Durham    NC

Islamic World/Middle East    Tulane    New Orleans    LA

Judaic Studies    SUNY, Stony Brook    Stony Brook    NY

Latin America    Roosevelt    Chicago    IL

Latin America    Texas, Arlington    Arlington    TX

Latin America    Alabama, Huntsville    Huntsville    AL

Latin America    Berry    Mount Berry    GA

Latin America    Texas, Pan American    Edinburg    TX

Latin America/Africa/Asia    NYU, Abu Dhabi    Abu Dhabi    UAE

Law/Ethics/Society    Emory    Atlanta    GA

Leadership Studies    Richmond    Richmond    VA

Medieval Europe    Assumption    Worcester    MA

Medieval Europe    Albright    Reading    PA

Medieval Europe    South Florida    Tampa    FL

Medieval Middle East    Princeton    Princeton    NJ

Medieval/Early Modern Continental Europe    Alma    Alma    MI

Medieval/Early Modern Europe    Texas, Arlington    Arlington    TX

Middle East    SUNY, Oswego    Oswego    NY

Middle East    Georgetown    Doha    QAT

Modern Britain    Colorado State    Fort Collins    CO

Modern Canada    McGill    Montréal, QC    CAN

Modern China/East Asia    Florida State    Tallahassee    FL

Modern China/World    California, Irvine    Irvine    CA

Modern Europe    Trinity, Tex.    San Antonio    TX

Modern Europe    Framingham State    Framingham    MA

Modern Jewish    McGill    Montréal, QC    CAN

Modern Jewish since 1800    North Carolina, Chapel Hill    Chapel Hill    NC

Modern Latin America    Southern Connecticut State    New Haven    CT

Modern Middle East/Islam    Alabama    Tuscaloosa    AL

Modern South Asia    Arkansas    Fayetteville    AR

Modern South Asian Studies    Columbia    New York    NY

Native American Studies    Occidental    Los Angeles    CA

Native American/Environmental    Tennessee Tech.    Cookeville    TN

Philosophy    Cincinnati    Blue Ash    OH

Post-1945 United States    Staten Island, CUNY    Staten Island    NY

Post-Classical Mediterranean    Virginia    Charlottesville    VA

Postdoc/Book History/Digital Humanities    McGill    Montréal, QC    CAN

Postdoc/Colonial/Early Republic America    Johns Hopkins    Baltimore    MD

Postdoc/Latina/Latino Studies    Illinois, Urbana-Champaign    Champaign    IL

Postdocs/U.S.-Japan Relations    Harvard    Cambridge    MA

Postdocs/Values and Public Policy    Princeton    Princeton    NJ

Postdoctoral Fellow/Representative Institutions    Yale    New Haven    CT

Postdoctoral Fellowship/Immigration/U.S. Society    Brandeis    Waltham    MA

Postdoctoral Fellowship/Japan    Hamilton    Clinton    NY

Postdoctoral Fellowships/American Constitutional    Christopher Newport    Newport News    VA

Postdoctoral Fellowships/Humanities    Carnegie Mellon    Pittsburgh    PA

Postdoctoral Fellowships/Liberal Arts    Tulane    New Orleans    LA

Postdoctoral Fellowships/Translation/Languages    Toronto    Toronto, ON    CAN

Postdoctoral Fellowships/Transnational Studies    UCLA    Los Angeles    CA

Pre-1600 World    Mercer County Comm. Coll.    West Windsor    NJ

Pre-1700 World    Staten Island, CUNY    Staten Island    NY

Premodern Western    Chinese, Hong Kong    Shatin, N.T.    HKG

Public    Northern Iowa    Cedar Falls    IA

Public    Western Michigan    Kalamazoo    MI

Public Historian    Charleston    Charleston    SC

Recent Life Sciences    Wisconsin-Madison    Madison    WI

Revolutionary Era America    Mississippi    University    MS

Rome/Late Antiquity    Alabama, Huntsville    Huntsville    AL

Russia/Eastern Europe    Baruch, CUNY    New York    NY

Russian Central Asia/Eurasia since 1700    North Carolina, Chapel Hill    Chapel Hill    NC

Russian/East European Intellectual    Illinois, Chicago    Chicago    IL

Science    Drew    Madison    NJ

Science/Technology    Idaho    Moscow    ID

Science/Technology    Alabama    Tuscaloosa    AL

Science/Technology/Medicine    North Carolina, Wilmington    Wilmington    NC

South Asia    Case Western Reserve    Cleveland    OH

Sub-Saharan Africa    Southern Connecticut State    New Haven    CT

Sub-Saharan Africa    Moravian    Bethlehem    PA

U.S. Constitutional    Hillsdale    Hillsdale    MI

U.S. Gender/19th-Century U.S.    St. Benedict-St. John's    St. Joseph    MN

U.S. Legal    Clemson    Clemson    SC

U.S. South since 1877    Mississippi    University    MS

U.S. Women    Eastern Michigan    Ypsilanti    MI

United States    Doane    Crete    NE

United States    Mary Washington    Fredericksburg    VA

United States    Earlham    Richmond    IN

United States/Historical Administration    Eastern Illinois    Charleston    IL

Visiting Faculty Fellowships/Human Values    Princeton    Princeton    NJ

Visual Culture    California, Berkeley    Berkeley    CA

Western Art History    California Inst. Tech.    Pasadena    CA

World    Pittsburgh, Greensburg    Greensburg    PA

World Civilizations/Texts    Singapore Univ. of Tech. and Design    Singapore    SG

America: The Story of US

When I was teaching US History survey courses, one of the best investments I made was purchasing the History Channel DVD series, America: The Story of US.

Even though now I only teach religious history and thought, I still use some of the clips from this series for my course on "Religion in American Life." The series is a top-notch production, and features commentaries from  respected historians as well as popular figures such as Donald Trump, Rudolph Guiliani, Sheryl Crow, and even P. Diddy. I highly recommend this series for anyone teaching large US History survey courses.

Carlisle, Pennsylvania: A Town In-Between

I just finished reading Judith Ridner's A Town In-Between: Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and the Early Mid-Atlantic Interior. In the introduction, Ridner advertises her book as a microhistory of an eighteenth-century town in central Pennsylvania that mirrors many other towns in America at that time.

The detail in this book is staggering. Ridner has clearly done extensive research on eighteenth-century life in central Pennsylvania. Her extensive footnotes cite multiple sources on colonial interaction with Native Americans, internal migration patterns in America, and names of key figures in the town. The book is particularly strong on Carlisle resident's attitudes during the American Revolution.

I read the book in order to learn about life in eighteenth-century Carlisle, hoping to learn more about the culture of Dickinson College during its founding years. In this regard, the book had little to offer. While Ridner did talk briefly about Benjamin Rush, Charles Nisbet, and the founding of Dickinson College, her book did not provide any new information beyond what Charles Sellers wrote in Dickinson College: A History. But as microhistories go, Ridner has produced an important monograph that gives a glimpse of what life was like in an interior town in America during the eighteenth century.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Faculty Job

Arizona State University

Assistant Professor of Global Christianity

Assistant Professor in Global Christianity (JOB#10226)
The School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Arizona State University invites applications for an Assistant Professor (tenure-track) position in the history and/or the anthropology of global Christianity, to begin August 2013.
The successful candidate will be expected to teach two courses per semester which may include large survey courses well as theoretical and thematic courses in the study of religion at the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral levels. The successful candidate will also be expected to supervise theses, conduct publishable research, and engage in service to the unit, university, profession and community. The Religious Studies department through the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies offers B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees. For more information, visit
Required qualifications include: 1) Ph.D. in Religious Studies or related field at the time of hire, 2) a research agenda that explores the global expansion of Christianity as well as the ways in which Christian movements have developed historically in different regions of the world; and 3) evidence of teaching effectiveness, publication, research agenda, and professional activity appropriate to rank. Desired qualifications include: 1) evidence of an interdisciplinary approach to the study of religion; 2) familiarity with religious studies theory and methodologies; 3) knowledge of Christianity in multiple sites; and 4) knowledge of the global diffusion of Christianity and its intersections with broader sociological, political, and/or economic currents.
To apply, submit electronically to 1) a letter of application, 2) a curriculum vita, 3) transcript, 4) three letters of recommendation, 4) teaching evaluations, and 5) writing sample(s). Applicant's last name should appear in each uploaded file name. Cover letter can be addressed to Search Committee Chair, Religious Studies Faculty.
Application deadline is December 1, 2012; if not filled, biweekly thereafter until search is closed.
Arizona State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer committed to excellence through diversity. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. ASU's complete nondiscrimination statement can be found at: Background check is required for employment.

Barry Levins on Teaching Church History

R. Barry Levins, who teaches at Rollins College in Florida, has written a very interesting post on teaching church history at a secular school. Click here to read his post.

Faculty Job

Claremont Lincoln University

Faculty in Religion and Politics

Claremont Lincoln University invites applications for a full-time, five year renewable contract position, rank open, in Religion and Politics. We seek a scholar who can address issues related to religion and politics from within the context of ethics, philosophy, political science, or area studies. The recently founded Claremont Lincoln University is at the center of a new consortium of professional graduate schools for the training of religious scholars and practitioners of a variety of religious and non-religious viewpoints. Claremont Lincoln functions as a consortium of schools and centers that includes Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Jain, and Hindu partners. Thus, both interdisciplinary and inter-religious competency is a necessary prerequisite for any successful job candidate.Responsibilities include graduate teaching (four courses per year) and advising in M.A and Ph.D. programs in the existing Religion, Ethics, and Society doctoral concentration and an anticipated doctoral concentration in Religion and Politics. Candidates prepared to engage in online teaching are preferred. We seek excellence in teaching and scholarship, collegiality, and professional/religious/social engagement. Possibilities currently exist to collaborate with Claremont Graduate University doctoral programs. Rank and salary will be determined by qualifications and experience. Completed Ph.D. and teaching experience are preferable.
Claremont Lincoln University is desegregating theological education by creating a consortium of three founding institutions, the Claremont School of Theology, the Academy for Jewish Religion, CA, and Bayan Claremont, founded by the Islamic Center of Southern California. Claremont Lincoln will also have Jain, Buddhist and Hindu partner schools, with others still to be added. Professors and students combine the resources of religious traditions with "secular" fields of scholarship to develop solutions to significant global challenges. Faculty, staff, and students represent a rich religious, ethnic, and international diversity. Claremont Lincoln seeks a racially diverse, broadly representative faculty that is sensitive to cross-cultural issues. We are seeking a scholar who will work collegially with us as we continue to add programs and partners to this growing multi-religious university consortium.
The position is available in the fall of 2013. Pre-arranged interviews will be held at AAR. Applicants are requested to send a letter of application, a vita, one writing sample (article or book/dissertation chapter), at least one course syllabus, and three letters of recommendation to Provost Philip Clayton, Claremont Lincoln University, 1325 North College Ave., Claremont, CA 91711. Submissions by email strongly encouraged; use Review of apps will begin Nov. 1st. Position will remain open until filled.. AA/EOE; women and minority candidates are especially encouraged to apply.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Faculty Job

Webster Universitys Department of Religious Studies is searching for a full time replacement position for Spring semester 2013.  The successful candidate must be ABD by December 2012; a Ph.D. is preferred.  Applicants should be broadly trained in the study of world religions, preferably with a focus in Western religions or with religions in small-scale societies.  The department particularly encourages candidates with experience in on-line teaching to apply.

The successful candidate will be prepared to teach courses on approaches to the study of religions, as well as courses that may include surveys of world and Western religions and/or religions in small-scale societies.   The ability to teach courses of interest to areas of interdisciplinary studies at Webster University may be useful.

This is a one semester appointment with a maximum teaching load of 4 courses and an expectation that the candidate will participate in the work of the department by contributing time and expertise to departmental projects.

The Department of Religious Studies educates a select group of majors who pursue a variety of career tracks, and contributes heavily to the general education of undergraduate students throughout the University.  A significant component of the departments curriculum is on-line; including the first totally undergraduate on-line major in the College of Arts and Sciences, Religion and Global Society.

Applicants should forward: (1) a letter of interest which addresses the identified qualifications, (2) resume or curriculum vitae, and (3) a list of three references to be contacted. Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

Please mail application materials to Faculty Search, Department of Religious Studies, Webster University, 470 E. Lockwood Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63119-3194.

Webster University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer, women and minority candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Louisville Institute Fellowships

Louisville Institute

Doctoral Fellowships

The Louisville Institute is pleased to announce a call for nominations and applications for the 2013-2015 Doctoral Fellowship program. As part of the Institute’s Vocation of the Theological Educator initiative, these two-year fellowships help students in their second or third year of doctoral study explore their interest in a theological education teaching vocation.
Louisville Institute Doctoral Fellows will be provided a stipend of $2,000 per year. They will be part of a cohort of grantees who over the course of their two-year term will meet six times with other fellows, guided by experienced mentors. All expenses for travel to these meetings will be paid by the Institute.
Applicants from all the disciplines of theological education are welcome to apply.
Deadline for applications for the 2013-2015 term is December 7, 2012. To learn more about the Louisville Institute Doctoral Fellowships and to apply visit the Institute website at:
The Louisville Institute is a Lilly Endowment-funded program based at Louisville Seminary.


Louisville Institute

Post-Doctoral Fellowships

The Louisville Institute is pleased to announce a call for nominations and applications for the 2013-2015 Postdoctoral Fellowship program. As part of the Institute’s Vocation of the Theological Educator initiative, these two-year teaching externships provide awardees an opportunity to teach at a selected North American seminary or divinity school.
Louisville Institute Postdoctoral Fellows will be provided a stipend of $25,000, a housing allowance, health insurance, and travel expenses. They will be part of a cohort of grantees who over the course of their two-year teaching term will meet six times with other fellows, guided by experienced mentors.
The fellowship is open to recent doctoral graduates interested in exploring a vocation in theological education at a North American seminary or divinity school. Applicants with expertise in all theological disciplines are considered.
Deadline for applications for the 2013-2015 two-year term is December 7, 2012. To learn more about the Louisville Institute Postdoctoral Fellowships and to apply visit the Institute website at:
The Louisville Institute is a Lilly Endowment-funded program based at Louisville Seminary.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Conference on George Whitefield at 300

There will be a conference entitled, "George Whitefield at 300," at Pembroke College, Oxford June 25-27, 2014. The conference is meant to draw attention to the tercentenary birth of the great itinerant preacher, George Whitefield (1714-70). Plenary speakers include William Gibson from Oxford Brookes University on Whitefield and the Church of England, David Ceri Jones from Aberystwyth University on Whitefield and the evangelical revival, Mark Noll from the University of Notre Dame on Whitefield's spirituality, Carla Gardina Pestana from UCLA on Whitefield and the Empire, and Boyd Schlenther, Emeritus professor at Aberystwyth University, on Whitefield's personal life.

This should be an exciting conference. If you are interested in attending or presenting a paper, check out the following link for further details.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Faculty Job

Earlham College
Richmond, Indiana
Asst. Prof., US History

Earlham College invites applications for two tenure-track appointments in US history beginning fall 2013. We seek candidates committed to teaching excellence and liberal arts education. The candidate must be able to make a significant contribution to interdisciplinary programs. Responsibilities include teaching first year intensive writing courses, and courses in fields of specialization. Ph.D. preferred.

Review of applications begins on Nov. 1 and continues until positions filled.

Full job description and application instructions:

Earlham eagerly solicits applications from African Americans and other ethnic minorities, women and Quakers. Earlham College is an AA/EOE employer.

Faculty Job

Middle Tennessee State University

Professor in Religious Studies

Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Philosophy, invites applications for a tenure-track position at the rank of Asst/Asso Professor in Religious Studies, beginning August 1, 2013. Seeking candidate with a specialization in theory and method in the study of religion. Candidate's expertise, in terms of geographical region, religious tradition, and historical period should supplement the program's existing strengths. Applicants must hold the Ph.D. in Religious Studies (or a cognate field, demonstrating a primary disciplinary identity in religious studies) by time of appointment. The successful candidate must show evidence of excellence in undergraduate teaching, the ability to engage in substantial curricular development, and the promise of scholarly contributions to the field of religion. The standard teaching load is four courses per semester. To apply for this position, go to and follow the instructions on how to complete an application, attach documents, and submit online. Review of applications begins 11-12-2012 and continues until position is filled. Rank and salary are commensurate with education and experience. EO/AA employer

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

New Article on John Maclaurin in the Scottish Journal of Theology

My article, "Nature and Grace in the Theology of John Maclaurin," recently was published in the Scottish Journal of Theology. Here is the link for the article.

I wrote this article in 2009 as an extension of my interest Scottish history and thought. Virtually nothing has been written about John Maclaurin, yet he was one of the most important Scottish theologians of the eighteenth century. He corresponded with Jonathan Edwards, preached at the 1742 revivals in western Scotland, and pastored a key church in Glasgow.

Here is the abstract:

The important, but unexplored, John Maclaurin of Glasgow (1693–1754) represents the branch of enlightened evangelicals in the Church of Scotland who defended aspects of supernaturalism as compatible with reason. Evangelicals like Maclaurin endorsed the transatlantic evangelical revivals while still maintaining that such pervasive and multifarious spiritual awakenings were not a chaotic display of enthusiasm. Maclaurin supposed that God had created humanity with the ability to reason and could influence one’s thinking to adopt epistemological assumptions about religion that some saw as irrational and superstitious. In order to prove this point, Maclaurin turned the tables on the opponents of the revivals by arguing that in order to be truly natural, in the sense of being a complete human, one must embrace the inner workings of the Holy Spirit. The corruption of our nature that occurred as a result of the sin of Adam and Eve left mankind in an incomplete state. Therefore, the purpose of God’s supernatural grace is to restore mankind to its authentic natural state. Without such divine aid to form knowledge, he argued, one would never be able to gain a full understanding of spiritual truth.

Similar to Thomas Aquinas, Maclaurin assumed that humans can know many things about God and his work in the world using reason. Sin has not corrupted our intellect to the extent that we cannot ascertain any truth about God from observing the world around us. Nevertheless, in order to have a thorough understanding of God, divine grace is needed. Following Aquinas, Maclaurin claimed that God uses secondary causes like preaching to motivate people to seek grace. Such secondary causes cannot produce any real change in a person unless accompanied by the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. As opposed to many of the more liberal ministers of the day, Maclaurin, although not entirely comfortable with the fainting and weeping that sometimes appeared at the revivals, was willing to admit that emotional displays could be a natural response by a person whose heart had been moved by the spirit of God. While defending extreme emotions, Maclaurin’s main point in his sermons was that evangelicalism was entirely reasonable.


John Fea Delivers LeRoy Martin Lecture

Last night, John Fea of Messiah College delivered the second LeRoy Martin lecture on "Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?" The title of his lecture was the same as his recent book published by Westminster John Knox. It is hard to say how many people attended the lecture, but I would estimate about 200.

Fea took a strong stand against what he called "Christian Nationalists," those who promote a Christian "heritage" understanding of America. According to Fea, these people tend to view America as founded by Christians who intended to implant religion into the culture and government of the early republic. Against the simplistic and biased interpretation of America's founding by pundits like David Barton, Fea argues that history is complex, especially when it comes to evaluating the role that religion has played in America's government.

Fea had four main points in his lecture. First, he said that Americans have always understood themselves as living in a Christian Nation. He gave examples from David Barton and Martin Luther King, Jr. as well as the Confederate Constitution. Second, he talked about the use of scripture in the American Revolution, claiming that the Bible more than any other book was cited by the Founding Fathers. He zeroed in on a specific verse, Galatians 5:1, which was interpreted by one American minister differently before and after the War of Independence. Third, he dissected the U.S. Constitution and the fact that God is nowhere mentioned in it. Finally, Fea argued that all the Founders defended religious liberty, believing that Christianity was good for society's "moral fiber." His overall point: Neither the Religious Right or the Left has correctly interpreted American religious history.

The lecture was very interesting, and I appreciated Fea's style of speaking. He has a booming voice and presence that commands attention. During the lecture, I remember thinking that he would have made a good itinerant preacher during the Great Awakening. If Fea would be willing to impersonate biblical characters and weep profusely during his talks, perhaps he could rival the national attention that George Whitefield received!

If anyone is looking for an excellent speaker to give a lecture at his or her church, college, or seminary, I would highly recommend John Fea.

Founding Fathers (Part III)

Two new books came by post the other day: The Forgotten Founders on Religion and Public Life, edited by Daniel Dreisbach, Mark David Hall, and Jeffry H. Morrison, and Founding Faith: How Our Founding Fathers Forged a Radical New Approach to Religious Liberty by Steven Waldman.

After reading dozens of books on the Founders, I've decided to adopt both books for my course on "The Faiths of the Founding Fathers" (in addition to the books by Lambert, Kidd and Harris). I'm replacing Brooke Allen's Moral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers with Waldman's book, which covers the religion of the five leading Founders: Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison as well as providing some contextual chapters. The Forgotten Fathers supplements the faith of the leading Founders by providing chapters on the religion of Abigail Adams, Samuel Adams, Oliver Ellsworth, Alexander Hamilton, Patrick Henry, John Jay, Thomas Paine, Edmund Randolph, Benjamin Rush, Roger Sherman, and Mercy Otis Warren. I was, however, surprised that John Witherspoon was not included in the volume, especially since Jeffry Morrison has written a monograph on Witherspoon's political thought.

I look forward to teaching this course next spring.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

John Fea in the Chattanooga Times Free Press

I'm now back from the recent biennial meeting of the Conference on Faith and History, held at Gordon College in Wenham, MA. I had a great time seeing old friends and meeting new ones. I had not seen my friend and fellow Bebbington student Andy Tooley for three years. I also was able to spend time with my former colleague Sam Smith, who I had not seen in nearly two years. Sam and I gave a paper at a Saturday morning panel on "Print Culture  in Early America." It is always fun to talk about John Erskine, and, on this occasion, his involvement in the dissemination of Enlightenment texts in America, Britain, and Europe. Several people told me after the session that they intend to buy my book on Erskine. To my knowledge, Enlightened Evangelicalism: The Life and Thought of John Erskine has been reviewed nine times, but these reviews do not seem to have penetrated beyond some of the leading eighteenth-century scholars. Maybe my next book should be on the Founding Fathers, or, if Mitt Romney wins the election, on Mormonism. I can't wait to read Sam Smith's new book, A Cautious Enthusiasm: Mystical Piety and Evangelicalism in Colonial South Carolina, due out in February with the University of South Carolina Press. Sam's main argument is an important one: that colonial Anglicans in the Low Country South were not simply Latitudinarians, but in many cases, full-blow evangelicals who were influenced by mystical pietism.

Today, I was pleased to see John Fea's op-ed piece on America's religious heritage in the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Fea teaches at Messiah College and is an avid blogger at the Way of Improvement Leads Home. On Tuesday, October 9 at 5pm at the University Auditorium at UTC, Fea will be speaking on "Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?," which is also the topic of his most recent book.

In Fea's article in the Times Free Press, he begins with a brief description of the US's Treaty of Tripoli (1797) and the significance of the following statement in the treaty: "The Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." Fea argues that despite the blatant language dissociating America with Christianity, "The words of the Treaty of Tripoli can hardly be reconciled with the way that most politicians, clergy, educators and other writers perceived the United States over the course of the next 200 years. The idea that the United States is a 'Christian nation' has always been central to American identity." Fea then goes on to cite several religious leaders (liberal and conservative), such as Horace Bushnell, Benjamin Morgan Palmer, Billy Sunday, William Jennings Bryan, Walter Rauschenbusch, and Martin Luther King, Jr., who explicitly describe America as a Christian nation. Fea closes the article by saying, "one thing is for sure--the members of today's Christian Right who argue that the United States is a Christian nation have a good portion of American history on their side."I look forward to hearing his lecture this Tuesday, as I believe he will nuance the closing argument in this article.