Recent Publications of Interest

Abrams Bookcover

Douglas Carl Abrams

Old-Time Religion Embracing Modernist Culture: American Fundamentalism between the Wars (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016)

Abrams focuses on the founding generation of American fundamentalism in the 1920s and 1930s and their interactions with modernity. While there were culture wars, there was also an embrace. Through a book culture, fostered by liberal Protestants, and thriving periodicals, they strengthened their place in American culture and their adaptation helps explain their resilience in the decades to come. Usually dismissed as fractious, they rose above core differences and cooperated among themselves across denominational lines in building organizations. In doing so, they reflected both the ecumenism of the liberal Protestants and the organizational impulse in modern urban, industrial society.

 

 

Ahern Bookcover

Kevin Ahern, Meghan J. Clark, Kristin Heyer, and Laurie Johnston, eds.

Public Theology and the Global Common Good: The Contribution of David Hollenbach (Orbis, 2016)

Whatever became of the idea of a “common good”? Ethicists and theologians lament the decline of the importance of this concept in public life, central to the character of civil society and crucial for human flourishing within it. In American culture, the promotion of the common good is seen as a valuable corrective to atomized morality and laissez-faire economics. This volume, on the 30th anniversary of the U.S. Bishops’ economics pastoral letter, discusses the role, impact, and importance of public theology across the globe.

 

 

Allen Bookcover

Prudence Allen

The Concept of Woman, Vol. 3: The Search for Communion of Persons, 1500–2015 (Eerdmans, 2017)

Allen traces the concept of woman in Western thought from ancient times to the present. In her third and final volume, she covers the years 1500–2015, continuing her chronological approach to individual authors and also offering systematic arguments to defend certain philosophical positions against others. Building on Volumes I and II, Allen draws on four “communities of discourse”—Academic, Humanist, Religious, and Satirical—as she traces several recurring strands of sex and gender identity from the Renaissance to the present.

 

 

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Robert E. Alvis

White Eagle, Black Madonna: One Thousand Years of the Polish Catholic Tradition (Fordham, 2016)

Alvis provides a systematic study of Catholicism in Poland and among the Polish diaspora that offers an illuminating vantage point on the dynamic tension between centralization and diversity that long has characterized Catholicism. He sheds light on the relevance of the Polish Catholic tradition for the global church, a phenomenon enhanced by Pope John Paul II. The treatment emphasizes the people, places, events, and ritual actions that have animated the tradition and that resonate still today. From the baptism of Duke Mieszko in 966 to the controversial burial of President Lech Kaczyński in 2010, the Church has accompanied the Polish people during their long and often tumultuous history.

 

 

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Bonnie S. Anderson

The Rabbi’s Atheist Daughter: Ernestine Rose, International Feminist Pioneer (Oxford, 2017)

By the 1850s, Ernestine Rose had become an outstanding orator for feminism, free thought, and anti-slavery. Yet, she would gradually be erased from history for being too much of an outlier: an immigrant, a radical, and an atheist. Anderson recovers her unique life and career. The only child of a Polish rabbi, Rose abandoned religion at an early age, rejected an arranged betrothal, and left her family, Judaism, and Poland forever. She emigrated to New York in 1836 and became a leader in movements against slavery, religion, and women’s oppression. Even as she rejected Judaism, she was both a victim and critic of anti-Semitism and nativism.

 

 

Behnke Bookcover

John J. Behnke, C.S.P.

Isaac Thomas Hecker: Spiritual Pilgrim (Paulist, 2017)

Fr. Isaac Hecker stands among the most significant Catholic figures in 19th-century America. From his youth, he was a spiritual seeker convinced that God had a work for him to do. His search led him through various Protestant denominations, through Transcendentalism, where he became friends with the leading American thinkers, and ultimately to the Catholic Church, priesthood, and the founding of the Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle, that would answer specifically American Catholic needs at the crossroads of faith and culture. Behnke takes the reader up to the present-day work of the Paulist Fathers and provides an account of Hecker’s cause for canonization.

 

 

Bezzerides Prodromou Cover

Ann Mitsakos Bezzerides and Elizabeth H. Prodromou, eds.

Eastern Orthodox Christianity and American Higher Education: Theological, Historical, and Contemporary Reflections (Notre Dame, 2017)

Over the last two decades, the American academy has engaged in a wide-ranging discourse on faith and learning, religion and higher education, and Christianity and the academy. Eastern Orthodox Christians, however, have rarely participated in these conversations. Contributors to this volume aim to reverse his trend by offering original insights from Orthodox Christian perspectives. Essays in the first part of this book explore the historical experiences and theological traditions that inform distinctly Orthodox approaches to the topic of religion and the academy. Those in the second part problematize and reflect on Orthodox thought and practice from diverse disciplinary contexts in contemporary higher education.

 

 

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Jon Bialecki

A Diagram for Fire: Miracles and Variation in an American Charismatic Movement (University of California, 2017)

What is the work that miracles do in American Charismatic Evangelicalism? How can miracles be unanticipated and yet worked for? And finally, what do miracles tell us about other kinds of Christianity and even the category of religion? A Diagram for Fire engages with these questions in a detailed sociocultural ethnographic study of the Vineyard, an American Evangelical movement that originated in Southern California. Setting the miracle as both a strength and a challenge to institutional cohesion and human planning, Bialecki situates the miracle as a fundamentally social means of producing change—surprise and the unexpected used to reimagine and reconfigure the will.

 

 

Boone Burkhart Tavarez Bookcover

Elizabeth Hill Boone, Louise M. Burkhart, and David Tavárez

Painted Words: Nahua Catholicism, Politics, and Memory in the Atzaqualco Pictorial Catechism (Harvard, 2017)

Painted Words presents a facsimile, decipherment, and analysis of a 17th-century pictographic catechism from colonial Mexico. Works in this genre present the Catholic catechism in pictures that were read as aids to memorization and oral performance. They have long been seen as a product of the experimental techniques of early evangelization, but they are better understood as indigenous expressions of devotional knowledge. The manuscript also features Nahuatl texts focused on Don Pedro Moteuczoma, son of the Mexica ruler Moteuczoma the Younger, and his home, San Sebastián Atzaqualco. Other glosses identify Nahua and Spanish historical personages drawn within the manuscript, as if the catechism had been repurposed as a dynastic record.

 

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Mark Bosco, S.J., and Brent Little, eds.

Revelation and Convergence: Flannery O’Connor and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition (CUA, 2017)

Revelation & Convergence brings together professors of literature, theology, and history to better understand O’Connor’s religious imagination. Contributors focus on the Catholic thinkers central to O’Connor’s creative development. Some, such as Leon Bloy or Baron von Hügel, remain relatively obscure to contemporary readers. Other figures, such as Augustine of Hippo or St. John of the Cross, are well-known, but their connection to O’Connor’s stories has received little attention. Revelation & Convergence provides a much-needed hermeneutical lens that is often missing from contemporary criticism, representing O’Connor’s ongoing conversation with her Catholic theological and literary heritage.

 

 

Bradley Bookcover

Mark Philip Bradley

The World Reimagined: Americans and Human Rights in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge, 2016)

Concerns about rights in the United States have a long history, but the articulation of global human rights in the 20th century was something altogether different. Global human rights offered individuals unprecedented guarantees beyond the nation for the protection of political, economic, social, and cultural freedoms. Set against a sweeping transnational canvas, this book explores how these revolutionary developments first became believable to Americans in the 1940s and the 1970s through everyday vernaculars as they emerged in political and legal thought, photography, film, novels, memoirs, and soundscapes. Together, they offered fundamentally novel ways for Americans to understand freedom, culminating in today’s ubiquitous moral language of human rights.

 

 

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Kenneth A. Briggs

The Invisible Bestseller: Searching for the Bible in America (Eerdmans, 2016)

Briggs asks how, even as the Bible remains the best-selling book of all time, fewer Americans than ever can correctly articulate what it says, much less how it might offer them guidance. In a quest to make sense of the Bible’s relative disappearance from public life, this veteran religion journalist recounts his own two-year cross-country journey to a variety of places, from a meeting of worried Bible promoters in Orlando, to a federal prison in upstate New York, to the site of the 1925 Scopes Trial in Dayton, Tennessee. Incorporating interviews with preachers, pollsters, scholars, and ordinary citizens, Briggs offers insight into why and how the Bible’s place in American public life has shifted and shrunk.

 

 

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David S. Brown

Paradise Lost: A Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald (Harvard, 2017)

Pigeonholed as a Jazz Age epicurean and an emblem of the Lost Generation, F. Scott Fitzgerald was at heart a moralist struck by the nation’s shifting mood and manners after World War I. Brown contends that Fitzgerald’s deepest allegiances were to a fading antebellum world he associated with his father’s Chesapeake Bay roots. As a Midwesterner, Irish Catholic, and perpetually in-debt author, he felt like an outsider in the haute bourgeoisie haunts of Lake Forest, Princeton, and Hollywood. Fitzgerald’s encompassing historical imagination took the measure of both the immediate moment and the more distant rhythms of capital accumulation, immigration, and sexual politics that were moving America further away from its Protestant agrarian moorings.

 

 

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John C. Cavadini and Danielle M. Peters, eds.

Mary on the Eve of the Second Vatican Council (Notre Dame, 2017)

The Blessed Virgin Mary is uniquely associated with Catholicism, and the century preceding the Second Vatican Council was arguably the most fertile era for Catholic Marian studies. In 1964, Pope Paul VI published the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, or Lumen Gentium, the eighth chapter of which presents the most comprehensive magisterial teaching on the Blessed Virgin Mary. These essays are the result of a 2013 conference held at the University of Notre Dame to reflect the rich Marian legacy on the eve of the Second Vatican Council.

 

 

Cherry Day Hennessy Bookcover

Vivian Cherry, Dorothy Day, and Kate Hennessy

Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker (Fordham, 2016)

In the depths of the Great Depression and guided by the Works of Mercy, Dorothy Day published a newspaper, the Catholic Worker, and co-founded a movement dedicated to the poorest of the poor, while living with them and sharing their poverty. In 1955, Vivian Cherry, a documentary photographer known for her disturbing and insightful work portraying social issues, was given unprecedented access to the Catholic Worker house in New York City, its two farms, and to Day herself. More than sixty photographs—many published here for the first time—are accompanied by excerpts of Day’s writings gleaned from her column “On Pilgrimage” and other articles published in the Catholic Worker between 1933 and 1980.

 

 

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James L. Conyers, Jr.

Africana Faith: A Religious History of the African American Crusade in Islam (Hamilton, 2016)

The study of black religion in America has been mysterious, quarrelsome, and paradoxical. Recently, there have been numerous volumes in the form of biographical or communal studies conducted on black 20th-century religious figures. Much of this discussion has exacerbated a hierarchy of religious values, rather than offering a concentric analysis of the role and function of spirituality and religiosity. This collection of essays emphasizes the missionary and voluntary spread of Islam among African Americans in the United States.

 

 

Crawley Bookcover

Ashon T. Crawley

Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility (Fordham, 2016)

Examining the whooping, shouting, noise-making, and speaking in tongues of Black Pentecostalism—a multi-racial, multi-class, multi-national Christian sect with one strand of its modern genesis in 1906 Los Angeles—Blackpentecostal Breath reveals how these aesthetic practices allow for the emergence of alternative modes of social organization. As Crawley reveals, these choreographic, sonic, and visual practices and the sensual experiences they create are not only important for imagining what Crawley identifies as “otherwise worlds of possibility.” They also yield a general hermeneutics, a methodology for reading culture in an era when such expressions are increasingly under siege.

 

 

Curran Bookcover

Robert Emmett Curran

Intestine Enemies: Catholics in Protestant America, 1605–1791: A Documentary History (CUA, 2017)

This volume surveys the experience of Roman Catholics in the British Atlantic world over the course of the two centuries that spanned colonization to independence. It covers the first faltering efforts of the British Catholic community to establish colonies in the late 16th and early 17th centuries; their presence in colonies of the 17th century where formal or practical toleration allowed some freedom for civic or religious participation; their marginalization following the revolution of 1688; and their transformation from aliens to citizens through their contributions to colonies’ struggles for independence. Curran has organized and contextualized a wide array of representative documents―broadsides, newspapers, and legislative acts, as well as correspondence, diaries, and reports.

 

 

Denysenko Bookcover

Nicholas Denysenko

Theology and Form: Contemporary Orthodox Architecture in America (Notre Dame, 2017)

Denysenko profiles seven contemporary Eastern Orthodox communities in the United States and analyzes how physical space and architecture affect ecclesiastical identity. He begins with an overview of the Orthodox architectural heritage and its relation to liturgy and ecclesiology. Chapters 2–7 present comparative case studies of seven parishes. Some of these purchased property to build new edifices; Denysenko analyzes how contemporary architecture makes use of sacred space and engages visitors. Others are mission parishes that purchased existing buildings, posing challenges for liturgical practice. The book concludes with a reflection on how these parish examples might contribute to the future trajectory of Orthodox architecture in America.

 

 

Dreisbach Bookcover

Daniel L. Dreisbach

Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers (Oxford, 2016)

Shedding new light on familiar rhetoric from the American founding, Dreisbach analyzes the founders’ diverse use of scripture. They looked to the Bible for insights on human nature, civic virtue, and authority, and for political and legal models to emulate. They quoted scripture to authorize civil resistance, invoke divine blessings, and provide a language of liberty. Dreisbach broaches the question of whether the American founding was informed by religious ideas. Insofar as the founders belonged to a biblically literate society that placed the Bible at the center of culture and discourse, the answer to that question is clearly “yes.” Ignoring the Bible’s influence, Dreisbach warns, produces a distorted image of the American political experiment.

 

 

Endres Bookcover

David J. Endres, ed.

Remapping the History of Catholicism in the United States: Essays from the U.S. Catholic Historian (CUA, 2017)

For more than thirty years, the U.S. Catholic Historian has mapped the diverse terrain of American Catholicism. This collection of recent essays tells the story of Catholics previously underappreciated by historians: women, African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and those on the frontier and borderlands. Contributors include Kristine Ashton Gunnell, Amanda Bresie, Joseph Chinnici, Matthew Cressler, Anne Klejment, Timothy Matovina, and Jeanne Petit. Together their pathbreaking studies serve as a model for historians seeking to engage in the cartographic task of remapping the U.S. Catholic experience.

 

 

Evans Bookcover

Christopher H. Evans

The Social Gospel in American Religion: A History (NYU, 2017)

Evans describes the development of the social gospel in American Protestantism, Judaism, and Catholicism, and explores the presence of these ideas and practices in American culture throughout a range of social movements during the 20th century, culminating in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. He also explores the relationship between the liberal social gospel of the early 20th century and later iterations of social reform in late 20th century evangelicalism.

 

 

Feltmate Bookcover

David Feltmate

Drawn to the Gods: Religion and Humor in The Simpsons, South Park, and Family Guy (NYU, 2017)

Feltmate demonstrates how ideas about religion’s proper place in American society are communicated through comedy. The book includes discussion of a wide range of American religions, including Protestant and Catholic Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Native American Religions, New Religious Movements, “Spirituality,” Hinduism, and Atheism. Feltmate argues that jokes about religion are influential tools for teaching viewers how to interpret and judge religious people and institutions.

 

 

Garcia Bookcover

Kenneth Garcia, ed.

Reexamining Academic Freedom in Religiously Affiliated Universities: Transcending Orthodoxies (Palgrave, 2016)

From a 2015 conference on academic freedom at the University of Notre Dame, this edited collection reexamines the secular principle of academic freedom and discusses how theological insight might further develop it. Theological insight, in this context, refers to an awareness that there is a surplus of knowledge and meaning to reality that transcends what can be known through ordinary disciplinary methods of inquiry, especially those that are quantitative or empirical. Contributors consider how, in light of the fact that findings in many fields hint at connections to a greater whole, scholars in any academic field should be free to pursue those connections. Moreover, there are religious traditions that can help inform those connections.

 

 

Garrard Burnett Freston Dove Bookcover

Virginia Garrard-Burnett, Paul Freston, and Stephen C. Dove, eds.

The Cambridge History of Religions in Latin America (Cambridge, 2016)

This volume covers religious history in Latin America from pre-Conquest times until the present. Contributors explore: the historical and contemporary centrality of religion in the life of Latin America; the rapid process of religious change which the region is undergoing; and the region’s religious distinctiveness in global comparative terms. Reflecting recent currents of scholarship, this volume addresses the breadth of Latin American religion, including religions of the African diaspora, indigenous spiritual expressions, non-Christian traditions, new religious movements, alternative spiritualities, and secularizing tendencies. Contributors include historians, social scientists, religious studies scholars, and cultural studies theorists from Latin America, North America, and Europe.

 

 

Gorski Bookcover

Philip Gorski

American Covenant: A History of Civil Religion from the Puritans to the Present (Princeton, 2017)

Gorski argues that the founders envisioned a prophetic republic that would weave together the ethical vision of the Hebrew prophets and the Western political heritage of civic republicanism. Gorski traces the historical development of prophetic republicanism from the Puritan era to the present day with close readings of John Winthrop, Thomas Jefferson, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Hannah Arendt, along with portraits of recent and contemporary religious and political leaders such as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. Gorski argues that the founders’ original vision for America is now threatened by a struggle between two rival traditions, religious nationalism and radical secularism.

 

 

Greenawalt Bookcover

Kent Greenawalt

When Free Exercise and Nonestablishment Conflict (Harvard, 2017)

Tensions can emerge between the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, which aims to separate church and state. Should the state provide assistance to religious private schools? Should parole boards take religious convictions into account? Should officials act on public reason alone, setting aside religious beliefs? In circumstances like these, what counts as appropriate treatment of religion, and what is misguided? Greenawalt offers an accessible but sophisticated exploration of these conflicts, explaining how disputes have been adjudicated to date and suggesting how they might be better resolved in the future.

 

 

Gura Bookcover

Philip F. Gura

Man’s Better Angels (Harvard, 2017)

The Panic of 1837 drew forth a plethora of reformers who promised to restore American prosperity. Animated by an ethic of self-reliance, they became prophets of a new moral order: if only their fellow countrymen would call on each individual’s God-given better instincts, the most intractable problems could be resolved. Inspired by this reformist fervor, Americans took to strict dieting, water cures, phrenology readings, mesmerism, utopian communities, free love, mutual banking, and other elaborate self-improvement schemes. Gura explores the efforts of seven reformers, from the comical to the homicidal, and captures an intellectual moment in American history that has been overshadowed by the Civil War and the pragmatism that arose in its wake.

 

 

Harper Bookcover

Matthew Harper

The End of Days: African American Religion and Politics in the Age of Emancipation (UNC, 2016)

For slaves, emancipation was a liberation and resurrection story of biblical proportion, both the clearest example of God’s intervention in human history and a sign of the end of days. Harper demonstrates how black southerners’ end-times theology influenced nearly every major economic and political decision they made in the aftermath of emancipation. From considering what demands to make in early Reconstruction to deciding whether or not to migrate west, African American Protestants consistently inserted themselves into biblical narratives as a way of seeing the importance of their own struggle in God’s greater plan for humanity.

 

 

Harriss Bookcover

M. Cooper Harriss

Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Theology (NYU, 2017)

Harriss examines the religious and theological dimensions of Ellison’s concept of race and uncovers previously unrecognized religious dynamics of Ellison’s life and work. Blending religious studies, theology, and race theory, Harriss draws on Ellison to create the concept of an “invisible theology,” and uses this concept as a basis for discussing religion and racial identity in contemporary American life.

 

 

Hayes Bookcover

Patrick J. Hayes, ed.

The Civil War Diary of Rev. James Sheeran, C.Ss.R. (CUA, 2016)

Irish-born Rev. James Sheeran, C.Ss.R., was one of only a few dozen Catholic chaplains commissioned for the Confederacy and one of only two who kept a journal. Highlighting his exploits from August 1, 1862 through April 24, 1865, his journal tells of all the major events of his life in abundant detail: on the battlefield, in the hospitals, and among Catholics and Protestants whom he encountered in local towns, on the trains, and in the course of his ministrations. His ideological sympathies clearly rest with the Confederacy. The tone is forthright, even haughty, but captures both the personality of the man and the events he witnessed, especially the major battles.

 

 

Hirota Bookcover

Hidetaka Hirota

Expelling the Poor: Atlantic Seaboard States and the Nineteenth-Century Origins of American Immigration Policy (Oxford, 2016)

Historians have long assumed that immigration to the United States was free from regulation until anti-Asian racism on the West Coast triggered the introduction of federal laws to restrict Chinese immigration in the 1880s. Hirota reinterprets the origins of immigration restriction in the United States, especially deportation policy. In the first half of the 19th century, nativists built upon colonial poor laws to prohibit the landing of destitute foreigners and deporting those already resident to Europe, Canada, or other American states. By locating the roots of American immigration control in economic concerns and cultural prejudice against the Irish, Expelling the Poor fundamentally revises the history of American immigration policy.

 

 

Hogan Bookcover

Michael J. Hogan

The Afterlife of John Fitzgerald Kennedy: A Biography (Cambridge, 2017)

Hogan offers a new perspective on John Fitzgerald Kennedy as seen from his afterlife in American memory. Kennedy constructed a popular image of himself—in effect, a “brand”—as he played the part of president. The cultural trauma of his assassination further burnished that image and began the process of transporting Kennedy from history to memory. Jacqueline Kennedy, as chief guardian of her husband’s memory, devoted herself to embedding the image of the slain president in the nation’s collective memory. Despite critics, most Americans continue to remember Kennedy as his wife wanted: the charming war hero, loving husband and father, and progressive leader who inspired confidence and hope in the American people.

 

 

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Tera W. Hunter

Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth Century (Harvard, 2017)

Uncovering the experiences of African American spouses in plantation records, legal and court documents, and pension files, Hunter reveals the myriad ways couples adopted, revised, and rejected white Christian ideas of marriage in the 19th century. Enslaved husbands and wives were creative and, of necessity, practical in starting and supporting families under conditions of uncertainty and cruelty. After emancipation, racism continued to menace black marriages. New laws passed during Reconstruction, ostensibly to secure African Americans’ rights, were often coercive and repressive, a means to discipline agricultural workers. Recognition of the right of African Americans to enter into wedlock on terms equal to whites would remain a struggle into the Jim Crow era.

 

 

Johnson Bookcover

Sylvester A. Johnson and Steven Weitzman, eds.

The FBI and Religion: Faith and National Security Before and After 9/11 (University of California, 2017)

As early as 1917, the Federal Bureau of Investigation began to target religious communities it believed were hotbeds of anti-American politics. Whether these religious communities were pacifist groups that opposed American wars, or religious groups that advocated for white supremacy or direct conflict with the FBI, the Bureau has infiltrated and surveilled religious communities that run the gamut of American religious life. The FBI and Religion recounts this fraught and fascinating history, focusing on key moments in the Bureau’s history from World War I to the present.

 

 

Kidd Bookcover

Thomas S. Kidd

Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father (Yale, 2017)

Renowned as a printer, scientist, and diplomat, Franklin also published more works on religious topics than any other 18th-century American layperson. Born to Boston Puritans, by his teenage years Franklin had embraced deism. Kidd explores both deist influences and those from devout Christians including George Whitefield and his family. This fresh assessment of a well-known figure unpacks the contradictions and conundrums faith presented in Franklin’s life.

 

 

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Donald S. Lopez, Jr. and Thupten Jinpa

Dispelling the Darkness: A Jesuit’s Quest for the Soul of Tibet (Harvard, 2017)

In a remote Himalayan village in 1721, the Jesuit priest Ippolito Desideri awaited permission from Rome to continue his mission to evangelize the Tibetan people. In the meantime, he forged ahead with an ambitious project: a treatise, written in classical Tibetan, that would refute key Buddhist doctrines. When the Vatican refused Desideri’s petition, he returned to Rome, where his manuscripts languished unread in archives. Dispelling the Darkness finally brings these vital texts to light. Desideri possessed an unusually sophisticated understanding of Buddhism and a masterful command of the classical Tibetan language. Lopez and Jinpa’s commentary reveals how he deftly used Tibetan literary conventions and passages from Buddhist scriptures to make his case.

 

 

Malloy Bookcover

Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C.

Monk’s Tale: The Presidential Years, 1987–2005 (Notre Dame, 2017)

This last installment of Rev. Edward A. Malloy’s three-volume memoir examines his 18 years as president of the University of Notre Dame. Malloy, or “Monk” to all who know him, describes his transition into the position, his approach to leadership, issues related to Catholic identity, the importance of fundraising, and finding the proper balance in intercollegiate athletics. He discusses how he fostered good relationships with the surrounding community, and supported trustees, administration, faculty, and other important constituencies. Finally, he provides an insider’s account of various controversies, challenges, and crises, from personnel problems to NCAA sanctions to concerns about presidential succession.

 

 

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Eileen Markey

A Radical Faith: The Assassination of Sister Maura (Nation Books, 2016)

In December 1980, four American women—three of them Catholic nuns—were murdered by members of the U.S.-trained military of El Salvador. The news shocked the American public and set off a decade of debate over Cold War policy in Latin America. The women themselves became symbols and martyrs, shorn of context and background. Markey breathes life back into the story of one of them, Sister Maura Clarke. Raised during World War II in a tight-knit Irish immigrant community in Queens, New York, Clarke became a missionary and by the 1970s was organizing and marching for liberation alongside the poor of Nicaragua and El Salvador. Clarke’s story offers a window into the evolution of postwar Catholicism: from an inward-looking, protective institution to a community grappling with life in a shockingly violent world.

 

 

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George Marlin and Brad Miner

Sons of Saint Patrick: A History of the Archbishops of New York, from Dagger John to Timmytown (Ignatius, 2017)

Sons of Saint Patrick tells the story of the archdiocese of New York—from the coming of French Jesuit priests in the 17th century to the early years of Cardinal Timothy Dolan. The book focuses on the 10 archbishops of New York and shows how they became indispensable partners of governors and presidents, especially in the 20th century. Also discussed are the struggles of the most recent archbishops in the face of demographic changes, financial crises, and clerical sex-abuse cases. All 10 archbishops have been Irish, either by birth or heritage, but given New York’s changing ethnic profile, Cardinal Timothy Dolan may be the last son of Saint Patrick to serve as its archbishop.

 

 

Mcgee Bookcover

Paula McGee

Brand New Theology: The Wal-Martization of T.D. Jakes and the New Black Church (Orbis, 2017)

T.D. Jakes is a pastor and entrepreneur who presides over a vast megachurch and business operation. He has turned the gospel into his own successful brand—particularly through product lines such as “Woman Thou Art Loosed.” According to McGee, Jakes is representative of a rising phenomenon: the New Black Church, a new form of prosperity gospel that signifies what she calls the “Wal-Martization” of religion. Her ideological critique offers a way to understand the relation between religion and culture in light of the gospel’s transformative power.

 

 

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Thomas Merton and Paul M. Pearson

Beholding Paradise: The Photographs of Thomas Merton (Paulist, 2017)

A beautiful coffee table book of Thomas Merton’s photographs accompanied by essays, reflections, and quotations from his writings to aid readers in stopping, reflecting, and seeing through Merton’s eyes.

 

 

Osselaer Desmaele Wils Bookcover

Tine Van Osselaer, Henk de Smaele, and Kaat Wils, eds.

Sign or Symptom? Exceptional Corporeal Phenomena in Religion and Medicine in the 19th and 20th Centuries (Leuven, 2017)

Exceptional corporeal phenomena such as miraculous cures, stigmata, and incorrupt corpses have triggered heated debates in the past. Ecclesiastical and medical authorities have variously sought to explain these enigmatic occurrences as “supernatural,” “psychosomatic,” or even “fraudulent.” As a consequence, separate forms of expertise emerged on these issues in the 19th and 20th centuries. This volume focuses not only on the debates within one or the other epistemological system (science or religion), but also on crossovers and collaborations between them. Contributors include Ellen Amster (McMaster University), Mary Heimann (Cardiff University), Paula Kane (University of Pittsburgh), and Sofie Lachapelle (University of Guelph).

 

 

Pasura Erdal Bookcover

Dominic Pasura and Marta Bivand Erdal, eds.

Migration, Transnationalism and Catholicism: Global Perspectives (Palgrave, 2016)

Bringing together established and emerging scholars of sociology, anthropology, geography, history, and theology, this edited volume analyzes the impacts of migration and transnationalism on global Catholicism. Contributors examine migrants’ religious transnationalism, as well as the effects of migration-related-diversity on non-migrant Catholics and the Church itself. The collection is organized around a series of theoretical frameworks for understanding the intersections of migration and Catholicism, with case studies from 17 different countries and contexts. The extent to which migrants’ religiosity transforms Catholicism, and the negotiations of unity in diversity within the Roman Catholic Church, are key themes throughout.

 

 

Rogers Bookcover

James Silas Rogers

Irish-American Autobiography: The Divided Hearts of Athletes, Priests, Pilgrims, and More (CUA, 2016)

Is there still a distinct Irish identity in America? Despite its external trappings, the nuances of Irish identity remain elusive. Rogers examines 20th century meanings of Irishness through a collection of autobiographical works. Opening with celebrity athletes’ memoirs―written when the Irish were eager to leave behind their raffish origins―later chapters trace the many tensions, often unspoken, registered by Irish Americans. Many see themselves as outsiders looking in on larger culture. Even the 1950s comedy The Honeymooners speaks to urban Irish origins, and the poignant sense of exclusion felt by its creator Jackie Gleason. Catholicism also figures importantly through priest autobiographers and the evolution and persistence of traditional Irish Catholic ideas.

 

 

Schmiesing Bookcover

Kevin Schmiesing

Merchants and Ministers: A History of Businesspeople and Clergy in the United States (Lexington, 2016)

Two of the most influential forces in American history are business and religion. From fur traders and missionaries who explored the interior of the continent, to Gilded Age corporate titans and their clerical confidants, to black businessmen and their ministerial collaborators in the Civil Rights movement, Merchants and Ministers tells stories of interactions between businesspeople and clergy from the colonial period to the present, highlighting both conflict and cooperation. By placing anecdotal detail in the context of general developments in commerce and Christianity, Merchants and Ministers traces the contours of American history and illuminates those contours with the personal stories of businesspeople and clergy.

 

 

Smyth Bookcover

Jim Smyth, ed.

Remembering the Troubles: Contesting the Recent Past in Northern Ireland (Notre Dame, 2017)

This volume explores the ways in which competing “social” or “collective memories” of the Northern Ireland “Troubles” continue to shape the post-conflict political landscape. Contributors embrace a diversity of perspectives: the Provisional and Official Republican versions of events; Loyalist understandings as well as the British Army’s authorized for-the-record account; the importance of commemoration and memorialization to Irish Republican culture; and the individual memory of one of the noncombatants swept up in the conflict. Sharply focused and rich in local detail, these essays contribute to the burgeoning literature of history and memory. Contributors include Jim Smyth, Ian McBride, Ruan O’Donnell, Aaron Edwards, James W. McAuley, Margaret O’Callaghan, John Mulqueen, and Cathal Goan.

 

 

Starr Bookcover

Kevin Starr

Continental Ambitions: Roman Catholics in North America: The Colonial Experience (Ignatius, 2016)

Starr has achieved a fast-paced evocation of three Roman Catholic civilizations—Spain, France, and Recusant England—as they explored, evangelized, and settled the North American continent. He begins with the temporary settlement by recently Christianized Scandinavians. He continues with the destruction of Caribbean peoples by New Spain, the struggle against this tragedy by Bartolomé de Las Casas, and the Jesuit and Franciscan missions to the Spanish Borderlands from Florida to California. He then turns to New France with its Counter-Reformational cultures of Quebec and Montreal, its encounters with Native Americans, and its advance southward. The volume ends with the founding of Maryland, the rise of Philadelphia and southern Pennsylvania as Catholic centers, the Suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, and John Carroll’s return to Maryland the following year.

 

 

Sullivan Bookcover

Mary C. Sullivan, ed.

A Shining Lamp: The Oral Instructions of Catherine McAuley (CUA, 2017)

Catherine McAuley (1778–1841), founder of the Sisters of Mercy in 1831, frequently gave oral instructions to the first Mercy community. Though she sometimes spoke explicitly about religious vows, her words were always focused on the life, example, teachings, and evangelic spirit of Jesus Christ, emphasizing “resemblance” to him and fidelity to the Gospel. Her instructions were initially written down by sisters present and listening as she spoke. In preparing and giving her lectures, McAuley often relied on the content of previously published spiritual books, including works by Alphonsus Rodriguez, S.J., Louis Bourdaloue, S.J., and other spiritual writers of the 18th and earlier centuries. The book’s endnotes illustrate this dependence.

 

 

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William B. Taylor

Theater of a Thousand Wonders: A History of Miraculous Images and Shrines in New Spain (Cambridge, 2016)

The great many shrines of New Spain have become long-lived sites of shared devotion and contestation across social groups. They have provided a lasting sense of enchantment, of divine immanence in the present, and a hunger for epiphanies in daily life. This is a story of consolidation and growth during the 17th and 18th centuries, rather than one of rise and decline in the face of modernization. Based on research in a wide array of manuscript and printed primary sources, and informed by recent scholarship in art history, religious studies, anthropology, and history, this is the first comprehensive study of shrines and miraculous images in any part of early modern Latin America.

 

 

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Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

A House Full of Females: Plural Marriage and Women’s Rights in Early Mormonism, 1835–1870 (Knopf, 2017)

Through more than two dozen 19th-century diaries, letters, albums, minute-books, and quilts left by first-generation Latter-day Saints, A House Full of Females pieces together the story of the earliest days of the women of Mormon “plural marriage.” Their right to vote in Utah was given to them by a Mormon-dominated legislature in 1870, 50 years ahead of the vote nationally ratified by Congress, and they became political actors in spite of, or because of, their marital arrangements. Thatcher Ulrich offers a nuanced and intimate look at the world of early Mormon women whose seemingly ordinary lives belied an astonishingly revolutionary spirit.

 

 

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Peter W. Williams

Religion, Art, and Money: Episcopalians and American Culture from the Civil War to the Great Depression (UNC, 2016)

This cultural history of mainline Protestantism and American cities—most notably, New York City—focuses on wealthy, urban Episcopalians and the influential ways they used their money. Williams argues that such Episcopalians, many of them successful industrialists and financiers, left a deep and lasting mark on American urban culture. Their sense of public responsibility derived from a sacramental theology that viewed the material realm as a vehicle for religious experience and moral formation, and they came to be distinguished by their participation in major aesthetic and social welfare endeavors. Williams argues that Episcopalians thus helped smooth the way for acceptance of materiality in religious culture in a previously iconoclastic, Puritan-influenced society.

 

 

Winiarski Bookcover

Douglas L. Winiarski

Darkness Falls on the Land of Light: Experiencing Religious Awakenings in Eighteenth-Century New England (UNC, 2017)

Drawing on letters, diaries, and testimonies, Winiarski recovers the pervasive and vigorous lay piety of the early 18th century. Incited by George Whitefield’s preaching tour of 1740 and fascinated by miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit—visions, bodily fits, and sudden conversions—countless New Englanders broke ranks with family, neighbors, and ministers who dismissed their religious experiences as delusive enthusiasm. These new converts, the progenitors of today’s evangelical movement, bitterly assaulted the Congregational establishment. Conflict transformed inclusive parishes into exclusive networks of combative spiritual seekers.

 

 

Woodward Bookcover

Kenneth L. Woodward

Getting Religion: Faith, Culture, and Politics from the Age of Eisenhower to the Era of Obama (Random House, 2016)

Woodward, who served as Newsweek’s religion editor for nearly 40 years, blends memoir with copious reporting and historical analysis to tell the story of how American religion, culture, and politics influenced each other in the second half of the 20th century. Beginning with a bold reassessment of the 1950s, his narrative weaves through the Civil Rights era and the movements that followed: anti-Vietnam protests; Liberation theology; the rise of Evangelicalism and decline of mainline Protestantism; women’s liberation; the turn to Asian spirituality; the transformation of the family and emergence of religious cults; and the embrace of righteous politics by both the Republican and Democratic Parties.


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