Saturday, 22 February 2014

History Tenure-Track Faculty Positions at UTC

For those of you looking for tenure-track faculty jobs, consider the following open positions at UTC:

Thursday, 20 February 2014

George Marsden on Inclusive Pluralism

I finally finished reading George Marsden's The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: The 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief. This is another outstanding book by Marsden. I'm amazed that he can seamlessly move from studying Fundamentalism to Jonathan Edwards to Liberal Protestantism while writing first-rate scholarship.

The major force of the book is in the conclusion. After chronicling the influence of Enlightenment principles and optimism on American mainline Protestantism during the 1950s, Marsden steps back and offers his suggestion of how academia might function in today's pluralistic world. He argues that the intellectual elites of the 1950s naively assumed that humanity would continue to progress by implementing new ideas in philosophy and science. Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) and other sources, however, contributed toward the dismantling of that optimism by showing that scientific discovery had not been building on objective knowledge. Instead, there have been "paradigm shifts" that have shaped the way that humans think. The so-called "secularization thesis" in which religious beliefs were supposedly declining, that most scholars took for granted in the 1950s, proved to be another false assumption since religion (and especially conservative forms of it) actually flourished in the decades going forward. 

Although a series of momentous decisions by America's government took place in the 1960s to create a "wall of separation" between church and state, Marsden demonstrates that the religious beliefs of many Americans continued to influence the public sphere, in terms of politics, business, and education. Marsden further draws attention to the fact that mainline Protestantism, while advocating "tolerance," shunned certain forms of religion, most notably, Fundamentalism, Pentecostalism, Mormonism, Orthodox Judaism, conservative Catholicism, Islam, and Hinduism. In the years ahead, however, conservative forms of Christianity grew exponentially, and open immigration policies in the U.S. brought waves of people to America who brought non-Westerm forms of faith with them. These changes in society, along with the decline of mainline Protestantism, has created a crisis of authority and additional problems of how various religious groups should charitably interact with each other.

Marsden proposes Abraham Kuyper's religious politics as a solution to these problems. Using the Dutch theologian and statesman as a guide, Marsden suggests that we should first recognize that our religious beliefs inform our way of thinking, including what we believe about science. As an Augustinian Christian, Kuyper believed that all humans have been created in God's image, regardless if they acknowledge an ultimate divine being or not. If this is true, then all humans share a commitment to basic moralism, ethics, and the need for justice because these ideals have been implanted in them by God. Marsden puts it this way: "Abraham Kuyper developed his views explicitly as a critique of the enlightenment ideal of a neutral universal reason, yet he was not a postmodern relativist. Rather than holding that various claims to 'truth' were artificial human constructions, he believed that God had created a reality that all people could know, in part if never completely. So he believed there was a place for shared rationality in holding a society together. Even though, as a result of human sinfulness, people were sharply divided as to their first commitments, they were still creatures of God who shared some commonalities in experiencing the same created order. So they also shared some important elements of common rationality and moral sensibilities, such as a sense of justice. Even though differing peoples need to recognize that no one stands on neutral ground, but all are shaped by their highest commitments, they can still go on to look for shared principles on which they can agree as a basis for working together" (168-69). Marsden points out that Kuyper's basic assumption can be labelled "common grace," which John Calvin and other Reformed thinkers had been advocating for centuries. Building upon this model of "common grace" that all people share, Marsden sees the government's role as acting "as a sort of a referee, patrolling the boundaries among the spheres of society, protecting the sovereignty due within each sphere, adjudicating conflicts, and ensuring equal rights and equal protections for confessional groups, so far as that is possible" (169).

I sympathize with Marsden's desire to see a society in which academics of various views can communicate their scholarship in a tolerant environment. I grimace every time that I hear or read about religious pundits saying horrible things while citing scripture as their authority. It is even worse when the media portrays these people as representing traditional Christian convictions. It is unfortunate that it is often the case that all those claiming to be evangelicals are lumped in the same group as outspoken, militant Christians. Thankfully, George Marsden, Mark Noll, and a crop of young religious scholars seem to be making progress in showing that Christians can be intelligent, well-read, charitable, tolerant, and able to interact with scholars who hold alternative views. It will be interesting to see if the ideas that Marsden discusses in the Twilight of the American Enlightenment gains ground in the years ahead.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Religion, Sex, and Politics in America

What happens when you offer a public lecture by one of America's leading religious scholars entitled "Religion, Sex and Politics: An American History"? Answer: Over 200 people show up to a venue that holds 150.

After eating dinner at St. John's Restaurant with our speaker, colleagues, and friends, we all made our way to the Camp House to find that the place was absolutely packed with people. Before 7pm, the Camp House had given away its 100 free drink vouchers. One person I talked with had driven from Pigeon Forge, which is over two hours from Chattanooga. After introducing Marie Griffith, I made my way to the very back of the room where I found a wedge of space to hear her talk.

In her lecture, Marie Griffith focused on three case studies involving the birth control advocate Margaret Sanger, the zoologist turned sexologist Alfred Kinsey, and the conservative Protestant Billy James Hargis. Griffith did not make any explicit statements about one person's view being correct versus another. Instead, she presented these case studies as a way of showing how Americans in the past have reacted to issues relating to religion and sexuality. Overall, it was a wonderful and intellectually stimulating talk, and a great way to close out this year's LeRoy Martin Distinguished Lecturer Series.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Theology on Tap/LeRoy Martin Distinguished Lecturer Series

Theology on Tap - Chattanooga's photo.If you are in the Chattanooga area tonight, please consider attending Marie Griffith's lecture on "Religion, Sex, and Politics: An American History" at the Camp House at 7pm. Her talk is part of the LeRoy Martin Distinguished Lecturer Series at UTC, working in cooperation with Theology on Tap of Chattanooga. As an added bonus, the first 100 people in attendance will receive a free drink voucher.

Tommy Kidd on Lemuel Haynes

Over at the Anxious Bench Blog, Tommy Kidd reminds us of the importance of the black patriot, Lemuel Haynes. I second Tommy's motion to read John Saillant's biography of Haynes, Black Puritan, Black Republican: The Life and Thought of Lemuel Haynes, 1753-1833.

For those of you who want a taste of Haynes, please check out "Godly Government in a Time of Crisis" (pp. 390-95), in my Early Evangelicalism: A Reader, which includes a brief introduction to Haynes and excerpts from his Influence of Civil Government on Religion (1798).

Monday, 17 February 2014

Book List for Early Evangelicalism

I keep receiving a lot of hits from this bibliographic posting that I made back in August. In case you missed it, below is a list of books to consider reading if you are interested in early evangelicalism and its context.

Cynthia Y. Aalders, To Express the Ineffable: The Hymns and Spirituality of Anne Steele (Paternoster, 2008)
Dee E. Andrews, The Methodists and Revolutionary America, 1760-1800: The Shaping of an Evangelical Culture (Princeton, 2001)
David Bebbington, Evangelicalism in Modern Britain: A History from the 1730s to the 1980s (Routledge, 1989)
Catherine Brekus, Strangers and Pilgrims: Female Preaching in America, 1740-1845 (UNC, 1998)
Catherine Brekus, Sarah Osborn’s World: The Rise of Evangelical Christianity in Early America (Yale, 2012)
Joanna Brooks, American Lazarus: Religion and the Rise of African-American and Native American Literatures (Oxford, 2003)
A. Brown-Lawson, John Wesley and the Anglican Evangelicals of the Eighteenth-Century (Pentland, 1994)
Vicki Tolar Burton, Spiritual Literacy in John Wesley’s Methodism: Reading, Writing, and Speaking to Believe (Baylor, 2008)
Vincent Carretta, Equiano the African: Biography of a Self-Made Man (Georgia, 2005)
Vincent Carretta, Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage (Georgia, 2011)
J.C.D. Clark, English Society, 1660-1832: Religion, Ideology and Politics during the Ancien RĂ©gime  (Cambridge, 2000)
Vincent Carretta, Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage (Georgia, 2011)
Chris Chun, The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards in the Theology of Andrew Fuller (Brill, 2012)
Milton J. Coalter, Gilbert Tennent, Son of Thunder: A Case Study of Continental Pietism’s Impact on the First Great Awakening in the Middle Colonies (Praeger, 1986)
Joseph A. Conforti, Samuel Hopkins and the New Divinity Movement: Calvinism, the Congregational Ministry, and Reform in New England Between the Great Awakenings (Eerdmans, 1981)
John Corrigan, The Prism of Piety: Catholick Congregational Clergy at the Beginning of the Enlightenment (Oxford, 1991)
Michael J. Crawford, Seasons of Grace: Colonial New England’s Revival Tradition in Its British Context (Oxford, 1991)
Derek H. Davis, Religion and the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 (Oxford, 2000)
Katherine Carte Engel, Religion and Profit: Moravians in Early America (Pennsylvania, 2011)
Eifion Evans, Daniel Rowland and the Great Evangelical Awakening in Wales (Banner of Truth Trust, 1985)
Arthur Fawcett, The Cambuslang Revival: The Scottish Evangelical Revival of the Eighteenth Century (Banner of Truth Trust, 1971)
John Fea, The Way of Improvement Leads Home: Philip Vickers Fithian and the Rural Enlightenment in Early America (Pennsylvania, 2009)
John Fea, Was America Founded As a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction (Westminster John Knox, 2011)
Linford Fisher, The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America (Oxford, 2012)
John R. Fitzmier, New England’s Moral Legislator: Timothy Dwight, 1752-1817 (Indiana, 1998)
Richard L. Gawthrop, Pietism and the Making of Eighteenth-Century Prussia (Cambridge, 1993)
Timothy George, Faithful Witness: The Life and Mission of William Carey (Christian History Institute, 1998)
John A. Grigg, The Lives of David Brainerd: The Making of an American Evangelical Icon (Oxford, 2009)
Allen C. Guelzo, Edwards on the Will: A Century of American Theological Debate (Wipf and Stock, 2008)
David D. Hall, A Reforming People: Puritanism and the Transformation of Public Life in New England (Knopf, 2011)
Timothy D. Hall, Contested Boundaries: Itinerancy and the Reshaping of the Colonial American Religious World (Duke, 1994)
Alan Harding, Selina: Countess of Huntingdon (Epworth, 2008)
Alan Harding, The Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion: A Sect in Action (Oxford, 2003)
Roger Hayden, Continuity and Change: Evangelical Calvinism among Eighteenth-Century Baptist Ministers Trained at Bristol Academy, 1690-1791 (Baptist Historical Society, 2006)
Michael A. G. Haykin, One Heart and One Soul: John Sutcliff of Olney (Evangelical Press, 1994)
Richard P. Heitzenrater, Mirror and Memory: Reflections on Early Methodism (Kingswood, 1989)
Richard P. Heitzenrater, Wesley and the People Called Methodists (Abingdon, 1995)
David Hempton, Methodism: Empire of the Spirit (Yale, 2005)
D. Bruce Hindmarsh, The Evangelical Conversion Narrative: Spiritual Autobiographies in Early Modern England (Oxford, 2008)
D. Bruce Hindmarsh, John Newton and the English Evangelical Tradition (Eerdmans, 1996)
David L. Holmes, The Faiths of the Founding Fathers (Oxford, 2006)
Kenneth Hylson-Smith, Evangelicals in the Church of England: 1734-1984 (T&T Clark, 1989)
David Lyle Jeffrey, A Burning and Shining Light: English Spirituality in the Age of Wesley (Eerdmans, 1987)
David Ceri Jones, ‘A Glorious Work in the World’: Welsh Methodism and the International Evangelical Revival, 1735-1750 (Cardiff, 2004)
David Ceri Jones, Boyd Stanley Schlenther, and Eryn Mant White (eds.), The Elect Methodists: Clavinistic Methodism in England and Wales (University of Wales, 2012)
Carol F. Karlsen and Laurie Crumpacker, eds., The Journal of Esther Edwards Burr, 1754-1757 (Yale, 1984)
Thomas S. Kidd, God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Religion (Basic Books, 2010)
Thomas S. Kidd, The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America (Yale, 2009)
David W. Kling, A Field of Divine Wonder: the New Divinity and Village Revivals in Northeastern Connecticut, 1792-1822 (Pennsylvania, 1993)
Barbara E. Lacey, ed., The World of Hannah Heaton: The Diary of an Eighteenth-Century New England Farm Woman (Northern Illinois, 2003)
Frank Lambert, Inventing the “Great Awakening” (Princeton, 2001) 
Frank Lambert, 'Pedlar in Divinity': George Whitefield and the Transatlantic Revivals, 1737-1770 (Princeton, 1994)
Ned C. Landsman, From Colonials to Provincials: American Thought and Culture, 1680-1760 (Cornell, 2000)
Rebecca Larson, Daughters of Light: Quaker Women Preaching and Prophesying in the Colonies and Abroad, 1700-1775 (UNC, 2000)
Bryan F. Le Beau, Jonathan Dickinson and the Formative Years of American Presbyterianism (Kentucky, 1997)
Gareth Lloyd, Charles Wesley and the Struggle for Methodist Identity (Oxford, 2007)
Cynthia Lynn Lyerly, Methodism and the Southern Mind, 1770-1810 (Oxford, 2006)
Michael McClymond and Gerald R. McDermott, The Theology of Jonathan Edwards (Oxford, 2011)
Gerald R. McDermott, Jonathan Edwards Confronts the Gods: Christian Theology, Enlightenment Religion, and Non-Christian Faiths (Oxford, 2000)
John R. McIntosh, Church and Theology in Enlightenment Scotland: The Popular Party, 1740-1800 (Tuckwell Press, 1998)
William G. McLoughlin, Isaac Backus  and the American Pietistic Tradition (Little Brown, 1967)
Phyllis Mack, Heart Religion in the British Enlightenment: Gender and Emotion in Early Methodism (Cambridge, 2011)
Jerome Dean Mahaffey, The Accidental Revolutionary: George Whitefield and the Creation of America (Baylor, 2011)
Jerome Dean Mahaffey, Preaching Politics: The Religious Rhetoric of George Whitefield and the Founding of a New Nation (Baylor, 2007)
George Marsden, Jonathan Edwards: A Life (Yale, 2004)
George Marsden, A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards (Eerdmans, 2008)
J. C. S. Mason, The Moravian Church and the Missionary Awakening in England, 1760-1800 (Royal Historical Monographs, 2011)
Richard Newman, Freedom’s Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Fathers (NYU, 2009)
Mark Noll, The Rise of Evangelicalism: The Age of Edwards, Whitefield, and the Wesleys (IVP, 2004)
Geoffrey F. Nuttall, Howel Harris, 1714-1773: The Last Enthusiast (University of Wales, 1965)
Geoffrey F. Nuttall, Richard Baxter and Philip Doddridge: A Study in a Tradition (Oxford, 1951)
Joseph W. Phillips, Jedidiah Morse and New England Congregationalism (Rutgers, 1983)
Colin Podmore, The Moravian Church in England, 1728-1760 (Oxford, 1998)
Amanda Porterfield, Conceived in Doubt: Religion and Politics in the New American Nation (Chicago, 2012)
Clotilde Prunier, Anti-Catholic Strategies in Eighteenth-Century Scotland (Peter Lang, 2004)
Henry D. Rack, Reasonable Enthusiast: John Wesley and the Rise of Methodism (Trinity press International, 1989)
George A. Rawlyk, ed., Henry Alline: Selected Writings (Paulist Press, 1987)
Isabel Rivers, Reason, Grace, and Sentiment: Volume 1: Whichcote to Wesley: A Study of the Language of Religion and Ethics in England, 1660-1780 (Cambridge, 2005)
Sarah Rivett, The Science of the Soul in Colonial New England (UNC, 2011)
Kenneth B. Roxburgh, Thomas Gillespie and the Origins of the Relief Church in Eighteenth-Century Scotland (Peter Lang, 1999)
J. Rixey Ruffin, A Paradise of Reason: William Bentley and Enlightenment Christianity in the Early Republic (Oxford, 2007)
John Saillant, Black Puritan, Black Republican: The Life and Thought of Lemuel Haynes, 1753-1833 (Oxford, 2002)
Sharon V. Salinger, Taverns and Drinking in Early America (Johns Hopkins, 2004)
Jonathan D. Sassi, Republic of Righteousness: The Public Christianity of the Post-Revolutionary New England Clergy (Oxford, 2008)
Boyd S. Schlenther, Queen of the Methodists: The Countess of Huntingdon and the Eighteenth-Century Crisis of Faith and Society (Durham, 1997)
Leigh Eric Schmidt, Holy Fairs: Scotland and the Making of American Revivalism (Eerdmans, 2001)
Robert E. Schofield, The Enlightened Joseph Priestley: A Study of His Life and Work from 1773 to 1804 (Penn State, 2009)
Erik R. Seeman, Pious Persuasions: Laity and Clergy in Eighteenth-Century New England (Johns Hopkins, 1999)
Richard B. Sher, Church and University in the Scottish Enlightenment: the Moderate Literati of Edinburgh (Princeton and Edinburgh, 1985)
John Howard Smith, The Perfect Rule of the Christian Religion: A History of Sandemanianism in the Eighteenth Century (SUNY, 2010)
Geoffrey and Margaret Stead, The Exotic Plant: A History of the Moravian Church in Britain, 1742-2000 (Epworth, 2004)
Anne Stott, Hannah More: The First Victorian (Oxford, 2004)
Harry Stout, The New England Soul: Preaching and Religious Culture in Colonial New England (Oxford, 1988)
Patrick P. Streiff, Reluctant Saint?: A Theological Biography of Fletcher of Madeley (Epworth, 2001)
Gordon Tait, The Piety of John Witherspoon: Pew, Pulpit, and Public Forum (Geneva, 2001)
Paul Taylor, Bold as a Lion: The Life of John Cennick, (1718-1755) Moravian Evangelist (Life Publications, 2006)
Stephen Tomkins, William Wilberforce: A Biography (Eerdmans, 2007)
Geraint Tudur, Howell Harris: From Conversion to Separation, 1735-1750 (Wales, 2000)
John R. Tyson, Assist Me to Proclaim: The Life and Hymns of Charles Wesley (Eerdmans, 2008)
John R. Tyson, Charles Wesley: A Reader (Oxford, 2000)
Mark Valeri, Heavenly Merchandize: How Religion Shaped Commerce in Puritan America (Princeton, 2010)
Mark Valeri, Law and Providence in Joseph Bellamy’s New England: The Origins of the New Divinity in Revolutionary America (Oxford, 1994)
W. R. Ward, Early Evangelicalism: A Global Intellectual History, 1670-1789 (Cambridge, 2010)
W. R. Ward The Protestant Evangelical Awakening (Cambridge, 2002)
Edwin Welch, Spiritual Pilgrim: A Reassessment of the Life of the Countess of Huntingdon (University of Wales, 1995)
Marilyn J. Westerkamp, Triumph of the Laity: Scots-Irish Piety and the Great Awakening, 1625-1760 (Oxford, 1987)
Marilyn J. Westerkamp, Women and Religion in Early America: 1600-1850 (Routledge, 1999)
Rachel Wheeler, To Live Upon Hope: Mohicans and Missionaries in the Eighteenth-Century Northeast (Cornell, 2008)
John Wigger, Taking Heaven by Storm: Methodism and the Rise of Popular Christianity in America (Oxford, 1998 and Illinois, 2001)
John Wigger, American Saint: Francis Asbury and the Methodists (Oxford, 2009)
John Wolffe, The Expansion of Evangelicalism: The Age of Wilberforce, More, Chalmers and Finney (IVP, 2007)
Jonathan Yeager, Enlightened Evangelicalism: The Life and Thought of John Erskine (Oxford, 2011)
Jonathan Yeager, Early Evangelicalism: A Reader (Oxford, 2013)
B.W. Young, Religion and Enlightenment in Eighteenth-Century England (Oxford, 1998)