In November, the University of Chicago Press will release Evangelical Gotham: Religion and the Making of New York City, 1783-1860 by Kyle B. Roberts (Loyola University, Chicago). The publisher’s description follows:
At first glance, evangelical and Gotham seem like an odd pair. What does a movement of pious converts and reformers have to do with a city notoriously full of temptation and sin? More than you might think, says Kyle B. Roberts, who argues that religion must be considered alongside immigration, commerce, and real estate scarcity as one of the forces that shaped the New York City we know today.
In Evangelical Gotham, Roberts explores the role of the urban evangelical community in the development of New York between the American Revolution and the Civil War. As developers prepared to open new neighborhoods uptown, evangelicals stood ready to build meetinghouses. As the city’s financial center emerged and solidified, evangelicals capitalized on the resultant wealth, technology, and resources to expand their missionary and benevolent causes. When they began to feel that the city’s morals had degenerated, evangelicals turned to temperance, Sunday school, prayer meetings, antislavery causes, and urban missions to reform their neighbors. The result of these efforts was Evangelical Gotham—a complicated and contradictory world whose influence spread far beyond the shores of Manhattan.
In November, Brill Publishers will release Religious Perspectives on Religious Diversity, edited by Robert McKim (University of Illinois). The publisher’s description follows:
Religious Perspectives on Religious Diversity addresses fundamental and controversial questions raised by religious diversity. What are members of religious traditions to say about outsiders, their views, and their salvific status? And what are they to say about the religions of outsiders – about, say, whether those religions are inspired or salvifically effective or worthwhile or legitimate? Discussion of some Muslim, Christian, and Jewish perspectives is combined with more methodological work. The authors of these ground-breaking and original, yet readable and accessible, essays include established scholars and younger scholars whose reputation is growing.
Contributors are: Imran Aijaz, David Basinger, Paul Eddy, Jerome Gellman, Mohammad Hassan Khalil, Eugene Korn, Daniel Madigan and Diego Sarrio Cucarella, Robert McKim, and John Sanders.
In September, Cambridge University Press will release American Jewry: A New History by Eli Lederhendler (Hebrew University). The publisher’s description follows:
Understanding the history of Jews in America requires a synthesis of over 350 years of documents, social data, literature and journalism, architecture, oratory, and debate, and each time that history is observed, new questions are raised and new perspectives found. This book presents a readable account of that history, with an emphasis on migration patterns, social and religious life, and political and economic affairs. It explains the long-range development of American Jewry as the product of ‘many new beginnings’ more than a direct evolution leading from early colonial experiments to latter-day social patterns. This book also shows that not all of American Jewish history has occurred on American soil, arguing that Jews, more than most other Americans, persist in assigning crucial importance to international issues. This approach provides a fresh perspective that can open up the practice of minority-history writing, so that the very concepts of minority and majority should not be taken for granted.
In November, Yale University Press will release Surge of Piety: Norman Vincent Peale and the Remaking of American Religious Life by Christopher Lane (Northwestern University). The publisher’s description follows:
The dramatic, untold story of how Norman Vincent Peale and a handful of conservative allies fueled the massive rise of religiosity in the United States during the 1950s
Near the height of Cold War hysteria, when the threat of all-out nuclear war felt real and perilous, Presbyterian minister Norman Vincent Peale published The Power of Positive Thinking. Selling millions of copies worldwide, the book offered a gospel of self-assurance in an age of mass anxiety.
Despite Peale’s success and his ties to powerful conservatives such as Dwight D. Eisenhower, J. Edgar Hoover, and Joseph McCarthy, the full story of his movement has never been told. Christopher Lane shows how the famed minister’s brand of Christian psychology inflamed the nation’s religious revival by promoting the concept that belief in God was essential to the health and harmony of all Americans. We learn in vivid detail how Peale and his powerful supporters orchestrated major changes in a nation newly defined as living “under God.” This blurring of the lines between religion and medicine would reshape religion as we know it in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Earlier this month, I sat down for an interview with First Things Magazine’s Senior Editor Mark Bauerlein on the state of religious liberty in America today. Our wide-ranging discussion covered topics like religious accommodations, the Hobby Lobby case, church autonomy, and how America’s changing religious culture influences our law. Mark and I also discussed the Center for Law and Religion and its many programs, particularly our newest endeavor, the Tradition Project.
You can view the video on the First Things site, here.
In October, Brill Publishers will release The Vatican and Mussolini’s Italy by Lucia Ceci (University of Rome). The publisher’s description follows:
Lucia Ceci reconstructs the relationship between the Catholic Church and Fascism. New sources from the Vatican Archives throw fresh light on individual aspects of this complex relationship: the accession of Mussolini to power, the war in Ethiopia, the racial laws, the comparison between Pius XI and Pius XII. This book offers a comprehensive reconstruction of this encounter, explaining the criteria that led Catholics to support a dictatorial, warmongering and racist regime. In contrast to the traditional periodization, the history begins with the childhood of Mussolini in the final years of the nineteenth century, and ends with the sudden collapse of his puppet regime, in 1945. This means to some extent placing in a different light the exceptional nature of the ventennio. The Italian original L’interesse superiore, Il Vaticano e l’Italia di Mussolini has won the “Friuli Storia” Prize for Studies of Contemporary History.
In October, the University of Chicago Press will release A Peaceful Conquest: Woodrow Wilson, Religion, and the New World Order by Cara Lea Burnidge (University of Northern Iowa). The publisher’s description follows:
A century after his presidency, Woodrow Wilson remains one of the most compelling and complicated figures ever to occupy the Oval Office. A political outsider, Wilson brought to the presidency a distinctive, strongly held worldview, built on powerful religious traditions that informed his idea of America and its place in the world.
With A Peaceful Conquest, Cara Lea Burnidge presents the most detailed analysis yet of how Wilson’s religious beliefs affected his vision of American foreign policy, with repercussions that lasted into the Cold War and beyond. Framing Wilson’s intellectual development in relationship to the national religious landscape, and paying greater attention to the role of religion than in previous scholarship, Burnidge shows how Wilson’s blend of Southern evangelicalism and social Christianity became a central part of how America saw itself in the world, influencing seemingly secular policy decisions in subtle, lasting ways. Ultimately, Burnidge makes a case for Wilson’s religiosity as one of the key drivers of the emergence of the public conception of America’s unique, indispensable role in international relations.
As the presidential election cycle once again raises questions of America’s place in the world, A Peaceful Conquest offers a fascinating excavation of its little-known roots.
In October, Brill Publishers will release “Religious Dynamics under the Impact of Imperialism and Colonialism,” edited by Bjorn Bentlage (Martin-Luther University), Marion Eggert (Ruhr University Bochum), Hans Martin Krämer (Heidelberg University), and Stefan Reichmuth (Ruhr University Bochum). The publisher’s description follows:
This sourcebook offers rare insights into a formative period in the modern history of religions. Throughout the late 19th and the early 20th centuries, when commercial, political and cultural contacts intensified worldwide, politics and religions became ever more entangled. This volume offers a wide range of translated source texts from all over Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, thereby diminishing the difficulty of having to handle the plurality of involved languages and backgrounds. The ways in which the original authors, some prominent and others little known, thought about their own religion, its place in the world and its relation to other religions, allows for much needed insight into the shared and analogous challenges of an age dominated by imperialism and colonialism.
In October, Cambridge University Press will release “What Ifs of Jewish History: From Abraham to Zionism,” edited by Gavriel D. Rosenfeld (Fairfield University). The publisher’s description follows:
What if the Exodus had never happened? What if the Jews of Spain had not been expelled in 1492? What if Eastern European Jews had never been confined to the Russian Pale of Settlement? What if Adolf Hitler had been assassinated in 1939? What if a Jewish state had been established in Uganda instead of Palestine? Gavriel D. Rosenfeld’s pioneering anthology examines how these and other counterfactual questions would have affected the course of Jewish history. Featuring essays by sixteen distinguished scholars in the field of Jewish Studies, What Ifs of Jewish History is the first volume to systematically apply counterfactual reasoning to the Jewish past. Written in a variety of narrative styles, ranging from the analytical to the literary, the essays cover three thousand years of dramatic events and invite readers to indulge their imaginations and explore how the course of Jewish history might have been different.