Sunday, 17 April 2016

Books that I am reading

Image result for josh mcmullen, under the big topWith the semester winding down (my final exams are on April 21), I finally have time to catch up on some reading. I recently started reading Josh McMullen's Under the Big Top: Big Tent Revivalism and American Culture, 1885-1925 and John Turner's The Mormon Jesus: A Biography. Both books will no doubt help me understand these subjects better, which I hope will allow me to do a better job at teaching this material to my students in an annual general education course that I offer at UTC entitled, "Religion in American Life."

Image result for the mormon jesus, turner
I am especially enjoying Turner's The Mormon Jesus. Admittedly, I know only the basics about Mormonism, just enough to teach the applicable material in my American religions course about Joseph Smith and the founding of this faith within the context of other 19th-century Restoration movements. In the previous fall semester, I had a Mormon student in my class who asked a lot of questions about American Protestantism, often comparing and contrasting this religion with Mormonism. Based on my experience and conversations with this student, I thought that it would be a good idea to learn more about the theology of Mormonism, and how its doctrines compare with traditional forms of Christianity. I appreciate Turner's insight as a non-Mormon "Gentile" and how he explains the various aspects of Christology from a Protestant viewpoint. It also helps that Turner is an excellent writer, which is why I am making considerable headway through the book.

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