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"Liberal Protestantism is not appreciated enough, not studied enough, and keeps getting written off as a movement destined to fade away. David Hollinger, one of our finest and most provocative intellectual historians, reminds us how important liberal Protestant ideas have been in advancing movements for social reform and in shaping our current self-understandings. And his account of the struggle of Christians with the Enlightenment is hugely instructive at a moment when all our faith traditions continue to confront the effects of the acids of modernity. In bringing together some of Hollinger's most important work, "After Cloven Tongues of Fire" is an exciting book that challenges many of the assumptions lurking behind our debates over religion's role in American public life."--E. J. Dionne Jr., author of "Our Divided Political Heart" and "Souled Out" "This book by America's leading intellectual historian is essential reading for anyone who cares to understand the rise, decline, and enduring legacy of what was once our dominant religious tradition. David Hollinger's essays, always empathetic but never uncritical, treat the 'worldly' Protestants with the moral rigor they deserve."--Michael Kazin, author of "American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation" "Hollinger's book will take its place as one of the most important works in modern American intellectual history published in recent decades. It shows this exemplary scholar practicing his craft at the highest level of scholarly excellence and deliberately and self-critically reflecting on his practice."--James T. Kloppenberg, Harvard University "A splendid book. Hollinger's trenchant, sweeping, and at times jolting essays pose critical questions about central issues in American religion, philosophy, and history with depth, insight, and understanding. "After Cloven Tongues of Fire" will attract a wide spectrum of readers."--Jon Butler, Yale University
This collection of essays by David Little addresses human rights in relation to the historical settings in which its language was drafted and adopted. Featuring five original essays, Little articulates his view that fascist practices before and during World War II vivified the wrongfulness of deliberately inflicting severe pain, injury, and destruction for self-serving purposes and that the human rights corpus, developed in response, was designed to outlaw all practices of arbitrary force. He contends that while there must be an accountable human rights standard, it should guarantee latitude for the expression and practice of beliefs, consistent with outlawing arbitrary force. Little details the theoretical grounds of the relationship between religion and human rights, and concludes with essays on US policy and the restraint of force in regard to terrorism. With a foreword by John Kelsay, this book is a capstone of the work of this influential writer on religion, philosophy, and law.
The changing face of the liberal creed from the ancient world to today The Lost History of Liberalism challenges our most basic assumptions about a political creed that has become a rallying cry—and a term of derision—in today’s increasingly divided public square. Taking readers from ancient Rome to today, Helena Rosenblatt traces the evolution of the words “liberal” and “liberalism,” revealing the heated debates that have taken place over their meaning. In this timely and provocative book, Rosenblatt debunks the popular myth of liberalism as a uniquely Anglo-American tradition centered on individual rights. She shows that it was the French Revolution that gave birth to liberalism and Germans who transformed it. Only in the mid-twentieth century did the concept become widely known in the United States—and then, as now, its meaning was hotly debated. Liberals were originally moralists at heart. They believed in the power of religion to reform society, emphasized the sanctity of the family, and never spoke of rights without speaking of duties. It was only during the Cold War and America’s growing world hegemony that liberalism was refashioned into an American ideology focused so strongly on individual freedoms. Today, we still can’t seem to agree on liberalism’s meaning. In the United States, a “liberal” is someone who advocates big government, while in France, big government is contrary to “liberalism.” Political debates become befuddled because of semantic and conceptual confusion. The Lost History of Liberalism sets the record straight on a core tenet of today’s political conversation and lays the foundations for a more constructive discussion about the future of liberal democracy.
The essays in this book demonstrate the breadth and vitality of American intellectual history. Their core theme is the diversity of both American intellectual life and of the frameworks that we must use to make sense of that diversity. The Worlds of American Intellectual History has at its heart studies of American thinkers. Yet it follows these thinkers and their ideas as they have crossed national, institutional, and intellectual boundaries. The volume explores ways in which American ideas have circulated in different cultures. It also examines the multiple sites--from social movements, museums, and courtrooms to popular and scholarly books and periodicals--in which people have articulated and deployed ideas within and beyond the borders of the United States. At these cultural frontiers, the authors demonstrate, multiple interactions have occurred - some friendly and mutually enriching, others laden with tension, misunderstandings, and conflict. The same holds for other kinds of borders, such as those within and between scholarly disciplines, or between American history and the histories of other cultures. The richness of contemporary American intellectual history springs from the variety of worlds with which it must engage. Intellectual historians have always relished being able to move back and forth between close readings of particular texts and efforts to make sense of broader cultural dispositions. That range is on display in this volume, which includes essays by scholars as fully at home in the disciplines of philosophy, literature, economics, sociology, political science, education, science, religion, and law as they are in history. It includes essays by prominent historians of European thought, attuned to the transatlantic conversations in which Europeans and Americans have been engaged since the seventeenth century, and American historians whose work has carried them not only to different regions in North America but across the North Atlantic to Europe, across the South Atlantic to Africa, and across the Pacific to South Asia.
During a forty-year period ending in 2002, leaders of major American churches tried to unite their members, ministries, and public service in a new church they named A Church of Christ Uniting. Participating in this movement were four Methodist Churches, the Episcopal Church, the nation's largest Presbyterian Church, the United Church of Christ, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and the International Council of Community Churches. With a membership of close to twenty million, this church would have been spread throughout the nation more fully than any other church except the Roman Catholic. Leaders of the movement believed that this union would enable church members to experience their Christian life more fully. It would heal divisions that had existed since the Protestant Reformation 450 years earlier and displace the denominational system that was increasingly dysfunctional. By coming together in a new way, these churches could work more effectively at overcoming problems in American life--especially the challenges related to racism. Although the Consultation on Church Union (COCU) closed before converting its vision into a new form of the church, it had a significant effect on these churches and the nation. This is a story that needs to be remembered.
This is the first critical history of Christian Reconstruction and its founder and champion, theologian and activist Rousas John Rushdoony (1916–2001). Drawing on exclusive access to Rushdoony's personal papers and extensive correspondence, Michael J. McVicar demonstrates the considerable role Reconstructionism played in the development of the radical Christian Right and an American theocratic agenda. As a religious movement, Reconstructionism aims at nothing less than "reconstructing" individuals through a form of Christian governance that, if implemented in the lives of U.S. citizens, would fundamentally alter the shape of American society. McVicar examines Rushdoony's career and traces Reconstructionism as it grew from a grassroots, populist movement in the 1960s to its height of popularity in the 1970s and 1980s. He reveals the movement's galvanizing role in the development of political conspiracy theories and survivalism, libertarianism and antistatism, and educational reform and homeschooling. The book demonstrates how these issues have retained and in many cases gained potency for conservative Christians to the present day, despite the decline of the movement itself beginning in the 1990s. McVicar contends that Christian Reconstruction has contributed significantly to how certain forms of religiosity have become central, and now familiar, aspects of an often controversial conservative revolution in America.
Alexis de Tocqueville once described the national character of Americans as one question insistently asked: "How much money will it bring in?" G.K. Chesterton, a century later, described America as a "nation with a soul of a church." At first glance, the two observations might appear to be diametrically opposed, but this volume shows the ways in which American religion and American business overlap and interact with one another, defining the US in terms of religion, and religion in terms of economics. Bringing together original contributions by leading experts and rising scholars from both America and Europe, the volume pushes this field of study forward by examining the ways religions and markets in relationship can provide powerful insights and open unseen aspects into both. In essays ranging from colonial American mercantilism to modern megachurches, from literary markets to popular festivals, the authors explore how religious behavior is shaped by commerce, and how commercial practices are informed by religion. By focusing on what historians often use off-handedly as a metaphor or analogy, the volume offers new insights into three varieties of relationships: religion and the marketplace, religion in the marketplace, and religion as the marketplace. Using these categories, the contributors test the assumptions scholars have come to hold, and offer deeper insights into religion and the marketplace in America.

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