Interviewing Daniel Williams on the Pro-Life Movement

Today, at the Religion in American History blog, I had the chance to do a web-interview with Daniel K. Williams about his new book, Defenders of the Unborn: The Pro-Life Movement before Roe v. Wade.

I very much appreciated Dan’s first book, God’s Own Party, about the rise of the “religious right” in the Republican Party. I have even taught it to good effect.

After that book, Dan turned his attention to the pro-life movement, which has been part of the great moral and cultural debates of our times. Dan found a surprising back-story to opposition to elective abortion, which he chronicles in the book. The final chapter also makes sense of the shifts of abortion-related politics in the later 1970s and 1980s.

I highly commend both of Prof. Williams’s books.

Enjoy the interview, here.

Williams Cover Defenders

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Alexander Hamilton, After a Delay

I try to link (relatively) quickly to material elsewhere, but this one got away from me.

Early in March I posted a blog post on “Religion and Hamilton.” I contended that the smash Broadway hit Hamilton would be great for teaching, not only about the American Revolution in general but about religion in the American Revolution in particular.

Since I’ve published the piece, I’ve found several things:

1. The piece got mentioned on John Fea’s blog.

2. There are a lot of fans of the musical–and rightfully so!

3. The piece has resonated, which seems like a good thing for a piece about music.

So, in case you missed it, check the piece out!

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Welcome, Jonathan Loopstra!

Earlier this academic year, the History Department at the University of Northwestern-St. Paul learned that our esteemed historian of Ancient History, Dr. Charles Aling, would be retiring in May. We will be celebrating Dr. Aling’s career next month.

Dr. Aling’s retirement, though, meant that Northwestern’s History Department needed a new historian of the Ancient World. After conducting a national (and even international) search, I am pleased to announce our new hire: Dr. Jonathan Loopstra.

Dr. Loopstra is an expert in the Church of the East, the Church that developed in the Middle East and stretched farther east. As a linguist, he has great capabilities with Syriac, the language which gave voice to the Church’s worship and culture. Dr. Loopstra will teach Ancient History classes at Northwestern. He also brings additional strengths. Having lived and even taught in the Middle East for several years, Professor Loopstra will be able to connect the Ancient Middle East and the Modern Middle East, a class he will be developing at Northwestern. Further, Dr. Loopstra will bring a developed specialty in Digital History and Humanities to share with our students. Finally, he will complement the department’s decided strength in the History of Christianity.

As an added bonus, Dr. Loopstra is a Northwestern alumnus. He has earned degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Oxford University, and the Catholic University of America. Professor Loopstra joins our faculty after stints at the International Center for the Study of the Christian Orient (Grenada, Spain), Reformed Theological Seminary, the American University of Iraq-Sulaimani, and Capital University in Ohio.

Welcome, Jonathan!

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We Have a Winner! (Wilsey Edition)

February has been a hectic month, with significant illness and significant responsibilities as chair of the History Department at Northwestern.

Nonetheless, I wanted to recognize that we have a winner for our comment contest. Congrats to Michael Brennen for his comment below.

I will be in touch with Michael to get him his copy of the book.

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Book Give-away: Wilsey Edition

IVP Academic provided me with an additional copy of John D. Wilsey’s new book American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea.

You may recall that I interviewed Wilsey a few weeks back about the book.

If that piqued your interest, here’s an opportunity to get a copy.

In the comments below, leave a comment about how you would use or define the concept of American exceptionalism.

The best definition will get a copy of the book.

Comments will be open until February 1.

Define away!

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Journal of American History Review

I recently opened up my newly-arrived Journal of American History (December 2015 issue) and scanned the table of contents. I was quite pleasantly surprised to see a review of Patriotism and Piety!

John Compton of Chapman University provided the review. He offered a clear summary of the book’s argument and content. I most appreciated his introductory and concluding paragraphs.

He opened with:

In Patriotism and Piety Jonathan J. Den Hartog casts the familiar story of the Federalist struggle against Jeffersonian “infidelity” in a new light. He shows that leading Federalists, so often depicted as supporters of established religion and theological orthodoxy, staked out a range of positions on the question of religion’s role in public life. Moreover, he demonstrates that Federalist views on the church-state relationship evolved over time and in directions that would continue to shape American politics long after the last of the New England religious establishments had crumbled.

I’m always happy to place things “in a new light.”

Moreover, Compton saw at least one “original insight” in the book:

Den Hartog’s most original insight concerns the voluntarist phase of Federalist religious thought. He ends his study with the provocative claim that the out-of-power Federalists laid much of the groundwork for the Second Great Awakening. Instead of retreating “into an energetic pietism,” Federalist luminaries, including Jay and Boudinot, accepted leadership positions in the American Bible Society and other voluntary associations, thus “direct[ing] religious energy outward, into the world” (p. 204). In the process, they constructed an ecumenical infrastructure that would infuse the nation’s public life with a deeply religious sensibility for generations to come.

I’m appreciative of Compton’s close attention to the book’s claims and figures.

The entire review is available (although perhaps not for long) here.

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Interview with John D. Wilsey

Today at the Religion in American History blog, I posted an interview I did with John D. Wilsey. John is a scholar that I have gotten to know over the past two years, and I consider him a friend.

John has recently published the book American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion: Reassessing the History of an Idea.

Readers of this blog would do well to pick it up. I highly recommend the book. For a taste of Wilsey’s concerns, check out the interview!

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