Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Radical Middle Path: The Jesus of Ingersoll, Herron, and Debs

Over at the Religion in American History blog, I posted a review of David Burns' book The Life and Death of the Radical Historical Jesus. The book takes a look at conceptions of Jesus held by so-called American "radicals" in the late-19th and early-20th century. The radicals--figures like Robert Ingersoll, Geroge Herron, Bouck White, and Eugene Debs--combined modern biblical criticism with imaginative biographical reconstructions to create a human proletarian Jesus who vigorously protested the political powers-that-be. You can click on over to the site to read more. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Social Studies Teachers are Jerks

Let my preface this post by saying that in hindsight, it was a terrible, unprofessional thing that we did. Now, onto that thing.

I've spent the past four years as a high school social studies teacher, but will be moving on this fall to pursue my PhD in history. I know social studies has a reputation as the subject of choice for coaches who are more interested in scheduling football practice than teaching. But I was fortunate to be part of a staff that, by and large, really did love teaching (and learning).

Our department also developed a reputation for possessing an inordinate number of the smart-asses in the building, and occasionally we probably pushed the boundaries a little bit too far. There was one time, for example, that a social studies teacher decided to put leftover foul-smelling durian fruit in the ceiling tiles of a fellow teacher's classroom, leaving it to rot over the weekend.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Five Great (Recent) Books on American Religious History

I recently decided to look back and reflect on the books I've read in the past year. Since I'm a habitual list-maker, I ended up taking my stray thoughts and turning them into categories and rankings until eventually I ended up with this: my five favorite books dealing with American religious history that have been released in the past calendar year (yep, I imposed a completely arbitrary chronological boundary for my list). For those who might also have an interest in American religious history, but aren't quite sure what recent books to read, perhaps this list can be a starting point into the excellent recent work that has been published in the field