Monday, 30 September 2013

David Ceri Jones on Early Evangelicalism

David Ceri Jones has written a nice piece on Early Evangelicalism: A Reader over at his blog.

Jones writes:

Jonathan Yeager's, Early Evangelicalism: A Reader (New York: OUP, 2013) is an important volume and will be especially useful for all those who teach university level courses on evangelicalism or the various aspects of the movement which intersect with other areas of historical interest.
Although its not marketed as such, this volume may possibly be seen as a companion to the first two volumes of IVP's five volume 'History of Evangelicalism' series. Where those volumes have presented the narrative story of the origins, growth and development of the global evangelical movement, this volume allows the voices of many of the figures featured in those volumes the opportunity to be heard for themselves.

The focus in this volume is therefore the eighteenth-century evangelical movement in the British Isles and America.Yeager has collected 62 short extracts, each three or four pages in length, from well-known and sometimes less well-known, evangelicals. Whitefield, Wesley, Edwards, Hannah More and Wilberforce all figure, but here also are the voices of Howel Harris, William Williams, John Cennick, Anne Steele, Isaac Backus, Phillis Wheatley and many others. Each extract is helpfully contextualised and the volume is prefaced with a short introductory essay, briefly exploring the nature of eighteenth-century evangelical religion.

This is a beautifully presented book, which deserves a wide readership, and which will undoubtedly prove to be invaluable for those of us that try to introduce the study of evangelicalism to slightly nonplused undergraduate students!

Here's hoping that undergraduate and graduate students will find the book helpful!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Religion Faculty Jobs at UTC

UTC's department of philosophy and religion is looking to hire two new professors. Both jobs will be replacing recently retired faculty members.

The first is a lecturer in philosophy, with expertise in ancient philosophy. The second is a tenure-track, assistant professorship, with a specialization in Hinduism and competency in other South Asian traditions such as Islam and Buddhism.

Once these jobs are officially advertised, I will post the announcements. But feel free to contact me if you have an interest in either of these jobs.

Monday, 23 September 2013

American Religious History Books at Barnes & Noble

Today, I was perusing the titles in the "Religion" section at the local Barnes & Noble in Chattanooga. I was glad to see the following books for sale:

John Turner's Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet
Larry Eskridge's God's Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America
Elesha Coffman's The Christian Century and the Rise of the Protestant Mainline (I have been hearing a lot about Coffman's book, and so I purchased it)

Congratulations to these authors! I wish them success in the sale of their books.


Friday, 20 September 2013

Ed Blum at UTC

Last night Ed Blum delivered his lecture, "Satan Was the First Secessionist: Devil Talk and the American Civil War," as part of the LeRoy Martin Distinguished Lecture Series that I organize at UTC. Ed's lecture was based on his next book-length project in which he will be analyzing the various depictions of Satan and devils produced at the time of the Civil War.

Ed used a variety of media and images in his lecture, including music, envelopes, manuscript letters, and newspapers. He made fascinating connections between John Brown and Abraham Lincoln and evaluated the apparent hypocrisy of the American Revolution being acceptable to many but not a secession from the Union.

I appreciated Ed's engaging style of speaking. Not only is he funny and personable, he also has an incredible depth of knowledge on American religious history and culture, especially in the 19th century. Overall, it was a wonderful talk.

If you are looking to book a first-class lecturer to talk at your college, university, or church, I hope that you will consider Blum as a speaker.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Tennessee Temple's Land for Sale

Tennessee Temple recently put its land holdings in Chattanooga up for sale. For $19.6 million dollars you can purchase its 21-acre Highland Park campus.

The Christian fundamentalist school denies that it is closing up shop. Rather, the school hopes to relocate to the campus of nearby Woodland Park Baptist Church. Read the rest of the story here.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Church Courses on Evangelicalism

Over at the Way of Improvement Leads Home, John Fea reflects on a course on the history of evangelicalism that he is teaching at a church.

I hope that more religious scholars consider teaching such courses at local churches. I taught a course on the history of Christianity at Upland Community Church a few years ago when my family and I were living in Indiana. It was a lot of fun talking about church history and interacting with other adults about various aspects of religious history and theology.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Pivotal Moments in Christianity History Accepted!

I found out recently that my proposed course, "Pivotal Moments in Christian History" was accepted for the upcoming spring semester! This course will cover the whole of church history in one semester, but with particular emphasis on the major events and people in the history of Christianity.

I am fairly certain that I will utilize Mark Noll's Turning Points: Decisive Moments in the History of Christianity (third edition), but I am also looking at Church History (volume one and two), published by Zondervan as well as Bruce Shelley's Church History in Plain Language (third edition). Pivotal Moments in Christian History will be offered as an upper-level elective (4000 level course), and cross-listed in religion and history.

Sadly, I won't be able to teach "Religion in the Age of Wesley, Whitefield and Edwards" in the spring. This was a course that I designed and implemented last year while testing my idea for an eighteenth-century evangelical anthology. I was hoping to teach Religion in the Age of Wesley, Whitefield, and Edwards next semester and use my book, Early Evangelicalism: A Reader as one of the textbooks. Instead, I will be teaching REL 3620: Modern Christian Thought for the third time (no complaints since I love this course too!).

As I tend to be a purest, I have felt compelled to limit my teaching on Modern Christian Thought to 19th- and 20th-century liberal Protestants, including F. Schleiermacher, G. W. F. Hegel, Paul Tillich and the so-called "Neo-Orthodox" thinkers, Rudolf Bultmann, Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. However, this time I am going to restructure the course. Since REL 3620 does not have any prerequisites, students with no church history or theological training are immediately forced to tread water in the deep end with primary-source readings from Schleiermacher, Kant, and Hegel. Imagine trying to explain Schleiermacher's view of "God-consciousness" or Hegel's idea of Geist to undergraduate students who have no knowledge of Christology or Pneumatology. My new plan is to use Justo Gonzalez's A History of Christian Thought, volume 3, as the text, which covers historical theology from the Reformation to the 20th century. In using this book, however, I am having a difficult time deciding what other books to use. As much as I like the Gonzalez text, it is very heavy on Reformation thought (more than half the book), with very little on the 18th-century, before turning to 19th- and 20th-century theology.

With that in mind, I am wondering if I should supplement Gonzalez with Bettenson's and Maunder's Documents of the Christian Church (I thought about using my Early Evangelicalism along with the Bettenson and Maunder reader, but decided to wait and offer a course specifically on the history of evangelicalism or 18th-century religion), or perhaps pick a few primary-source readings from the 16th to the 20th centuries.

If anyone knows of an anthology of primary sources that focuses on theology, from the 16th century to the present (as opposed to the whole of Christian thought since the early church), I would be very interested.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Ed Blum on WUTC

Check out Ed Blum's interview on WUTC, the local NPR radio station in Chattanooga.

He talks about his co-authored book, The Color of Christ as well as his upcoming lecture at UTC on Thursday, September 19 at 5:30pm.

I think Ed would have given George Whitefield a run for his money during the Great Awakening, in terms of competing for publicity!