Thursday, 13 February 2014

Evangelical Christianity at Amherst College

I was happy to learn that Amherst College was incorporating my edited volume, Early Evangelicalism: A Reader, into a spring 2014 course on "Evangelical Christianity"(the syllabus can be found here). From what I hear, the students in this class are finding Early Evangelicalism: A Reader to be very helpful in facilitating discussion on the roots of this movement.

Andrew Dole and David Wills have designed what appears to be an excellent course on evangelicalism. Here is the description:

Evangelical Christianity, or evangelicalism, eludes precise definition.  As most commonly used, the term refers to a sector of Protestant Christianity whose historical provenance runs from the eighteenth century to the present day. Originating in Europe and North America but now a global phenomenon, evangelicalism in the United States has enjoyed periods of pervasive influence and times of cultural marginality--recovering in the late twentieth century a mainstream status it had seemingly lost.  This course is concerned with the history and shifting nature of evangelicalism.  Sometimes regarded as a monolithic movement adhering to a fixed set of traditional Christian doctrines and practices, evangelicalism has been throughout its history innovative, changing, and internally diverse. Sometimes seen as politically reactionary, evangelicalism has at times promoted recognizably progressive reforms. Sometimes seen as serving an ethnically and racially narrow constituency, evangelicalism has also shown a marked capacity to cross ethnic and racial boundaries. How are these seemingly contradictory patterns (or perceptions) to be understood?  Over the course of the semester we will explore questions such as:  How have evangelicals themselves attempted to define the"mainstream" culture in the various environments they have entered?  How has evangelicalism handled racial and ethnic difference? How have evangelicals understood their place in the history of the world and of the Christian tradition? 

For those of you teaching courses on evangelicalism or a related subject, I hope that you will consider using Early Evangelicalism: A Reader as one of the required texts.

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