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Reviews from The Expository Times (2012, 123:7)

March 28th, 2012 by admin

From the April 2012 edition of The Expository Times (2012, 123:7):

"This work reflects a disciplined approached that bears some useful fruit for the historian.... Inventing Authority is well-researched and thought-provoking, and will be of interest to the scholar, the student and the informed layperson."

For more about Inventing Authority: The Use of the Church Fathers in Reformation Debates over the Eucharist on its book page here.


"... with its focus on typology and histor, [The Historiographical Jesus] represents a fine critical adaptation of social memory theory. It proves to be a significant contribution to the field of historical Jesus research."

For more about The Historiographical Jesus: Memory, Typology, and the Son of David on its book page here.


Newswander of LDS in the USA interviews with The Cultural Hall Podcast

March 23rd, 2012 by admin

Following up the stellar release of LDS in the USA, co-author Lynita Newswander interviewed with The Cultural Hall Podcast. That interview, in which Lynita talks about the life and culture of Mormons in Amreica, is now live and available for download at the Cultural Hall's website. Richie, the host, very kindly says "this is a great book" to his co-host about half-way through the interview.

You can listen to that interview here, or visit the Cultural Hall website. Visit the LDS in the USA book page for more information about Lynita and her co-author Lee Trepanier. Get your copy of LDS in the USA here or on your Kindle at Amazon.

Liberalism Without Illusions is "Delightfully Readable"

March 7th, 2012 by admin

Chris Evans's Liberalism Without Illusions was recently reviewed in The Journal of Religion.  Below is an excerpt explaining how his book helps readers to understand liberal theology for what it is:

Evans begins by clarifying his understanding of liberal theology as the form of Christian theology that is committed to developing a culturally engaged articulation of Christianity, that strives to interpret the Bible in ways consistent with contemporary scientific and socioscientific worldviews, and that seeks justice in history. In his first chapter, Evans describes the current situation of American liberal Christianity, including attention to the popular stereotypes of liberal theology and the declining membership in the mainstream Protestant denominations associated with the liberal theological project. He avoids an alarmist tone—liberal Christianity is not, in fact, dead or dying—while nevertheless persuasively suggesting that there are good reasons to be concerned about liberal Christianity’s future. Even while liberal theology flourishes in universities and seminaries, those who care about the future of either Christianity or the United States have reason to share Evans’s concern about what might happen if Christianity in this country largely rejects the tasks of coming to terms with science and working for greater justice.

To read the whole article, click here.

Thomas Gardner in Christianity and Literature

March 7th, 2012 by admin

Jordan Cofer reviews Gardner's John in the Company of Poets: The Gospel in Literary Imagination with words like fascinating, unique, innovative, compelling, and thought provoking.  These all describe the careful, interpretive nature of Gardner's book, which takes readers through the Gopsel of John with a literary lens.

As Gardner explicates the gospel, readers are able to understand Jesus' ministry.  However, while some readers may pick up this study strictly for analysis of selected poems, Gardner argues that it is impossible to divorce these poems from their biblical counterpart.  Of course, this turns out to be a good thing, since Gardner's close-reading of the gospel is extremely enlightening.  As both a scholar and a poet, he provides unique insight into the Gospel of John.  As a scholar, he gives a very thorough and researched reading of the gospel.  Yet as a poet, Gardner demonstrates that "poets are our best readers," as he is able to breath life into the most tired passages of the gospel...

One of the biggest praises from Christianity and Literature is that John in the Company of Poets is a readable and engaging study, which ditches the "academicese." Find the full review in Christianity and Literature, Autumn 2011 61.1.

New book March: Edgar Allan Poe, political rhetoric, and religious freedom

March 2nd, 2012 by admin

We're officially announcing three new books to be published this month, and without further adieu, here they are.

Evermore: Edgar Allan Poe and the Mystery of the Universe, by Harry Lee Poe (March 15)

"Poe's elegant and lucid book discredits many popular myths about life and work of his famous cousin. Edgar A. Poe, like his fictional "double" David Copperfield, was no tragic hero but a man with his ups and downs who highly valued love and friendship and had an acute sense of justice. Written at the crossroads of literary history and theology, Evermore is dazzling and absorbing."

—Alexandra Urakova, author of The Poetics of Body in the Short Stories of Edgar Allan Poe

The popular Poe—The Raven, Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat—has inspired a generation of readers long disenchanted with the normative tradition of American literature. But is the popular Poe—incessantly drinking, drug-addicted, and entranced by the terror of death—the real Poe? Harry Lee Poe contends that, for more than two centuries, the great myth of Edgar Allan Poe has damaged both the popular reader's understanding of Poe's corpus and the historian's depiction of Poe's life. Through reviewing his poems and short stories, literary criticism and science fiction, Evermore reveals a Poe who is deeply confounded by the existence of evil, the truth of justice, and even the problems of love, beauty, and God. Here Poe aficionados and casual appreciators of literature alike are invited into a greater understanding of Poe’s most persistent questions and offered a novel approach to reading the American literary icon.

The Politics of Sacred Rhetoric: Absolutist Appeals and Political Persuasion, by Morgan Marietta (March 1)

"An extraordinary book. Marietta streams together careful empirical analysis with the paradoxes of democratic theory. To those worried about polarization and the future of civil political discourse, this book is essential reading."

—Bert A. Rockman, Professor of Political Science and Department Head, Department of Political Science, Purdue University

"Marietta investigates a strangely under-explored facet of public opinion—the power of sacred values to trump reasoning in shaping the course of political debates and elections. This book is deeply innovative."

—Philip Tetlock, Leonore Annenberg University Professor, Psychology Department, University of Pennsylvania

Revealing what lies behind much contemporary political rhetoric, Morgan Marietta shows that the language of America's most prominent leaders often relies on deep, even sacred, ideals. Comprehensively and in great detail surveying the rhetorical inventions employed in influential social movements and into the highest levels of government, The Politics of Sacred Rhetoric systematically analyzes the use of absolutist claims—and appeals to what a speaker deems to be universal truths—as essential elements of persuasion in the American political landscape. In exploring the sometimes subtle ways in which politicians employ this "sacred rhetoric," Marietta engagingly demonstrates its impact on citizens' reasoning, public discourse, and the very nature of American democracy.

The Constitution of Religious Freedom: God, Politics, and the First Amendment, by Dennis Goldford (March 1)

"A tightly reasoned but accessible volume. The Constitution of Religious Freedom should be required reading for the policymakers and policy activists who shape the role of religion in American political life."

—Richard A. Brisbin, Jr., Professor of Political Science, West Virginia University

"This is an important book. In a time where political figures from Barack Obama to Mitt Romney to Nikki Haley have been openly attacked for their supposedly non-Christian religious beliefs, Goldford's timing is excellent."

—Evan Gerstmann, Professor of Political Science and Law, Loyola Marymount University

"Goldford fearlessly and thoughtfully examines one of the most controversial—often blithely assumed and curiously dismissed—propositions in American politics today—that the United States is a Christian nation. Indeed, Goldford's refutation of this idea is devastating, yet always respectful and erudite."

—Jessie Hill, Professor of Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law

"The Constitution of Religious Freedom takes a unique approach to interpreting the appropriate place and role of religious freedom in the United States. Goldford argues, in a clear and accessible manner, that the First Amendment's religion clauses protect religious freedom rather than religion writ large. Scholars and students alike will learn from the argument presented in this important new book."

—Laura R. Olson, Professor of Political Science, Clemson University

In a time when the question of American religious identity underlies much political conversation that fills the public square, Dennis Goldford directs his readers to consider the First Amendment. The founding fathers' words, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," are the constitutional means of ensuring, however imperfectly, the American freedom to stand for something sacred. In his analysis, Goldford ably demonstrates that the very nature of these religion clauses establishes protection not for religion but for religious freedom. The Constitution of Religious Freedom argues that religious identity inheres not in the nation, but in the individual citizen.

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