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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
The role of liberalized, ecumenical Protestantism in American history has too often been obscured by the more flamboyant and orthodox versions of the faith that oppose evolution, embrace narrow conceptions of family values, and continue to insist that the United States should be understood as a Christian nation. In this book, one of our preeminent scholars of American intellectual history examines how liberal Protestant thinkers struggled to embrace modernity, even at the cost of yielding much of the symbolic capital of Christianity to more conservative, evangelical communities of faith. If religion is not simply a private concern, but a potential basis for public policy and a national culture, does this mean that religious ideas can be subject to the same kind of robust public debate normally given to ideas about race, gender, and the economy? Or is there something special about religious ideas that invites a suspension of critical discussion? These essays, collected here for the first time, demonstrate that the critical discussion of religious ideas has been central to the process by which Protestantism has been liberalized throughout the history of the United States, and shed light on the complex relationship between religion and politics in contemporary American life. After Cloven Tongues of Fire brings together in one volume David Hollinger's most influential writings on ecumenical Protestantism. The book features an informative general introduction as well as concise introductions to each essay.
The role of liberalized, ecumenical Protestantism in American history has too often been obscured by the more flamboyant and orthodox versions of the faith that oppose evolution, embrace narrow conceptions of family values, and continue to insist that the United States should be understood as a Christian nation. In this book, one of our preeminent scholars of American intellectual history examines how liberal Protestant thinkers struggled to embrace modernity, even at the cost of yielding much of the symbolic capital of Christianity to more conservative, evangelical communities of faith. If religion is not simply a private concern, but a potential basis for public policy and a national culture, does this mean that religious ideas can be subject to the same kind of robust public debate normally given to ideas about race, gender, and the economy? Or is there something special about religious ideas that invites a suspension of critical discussion? These essays, collected here for the first time, demonstrate that the critical discussion of religious ideas has been central to the process by which Protestantism has been liberalized throughout the history of the United States, and shed light on the complex relationship between religion and politics in contemporary American life. After Cloven Tongues of Fire brings together in one volume David Hollinger's most influential writings on ecumenical Protestantism. The book features an informative general introduction as well as concise introductions to each essay.
They sought to transform the world, and ended up transforming twentieth-century America Between the 1890s and the Vietnam era, many thousands of American Protestant missionaries were sent to live throughout the non-European world. They expected to change the people they encountered, but those foreign people ended up transforming the missionaries. Their experience abroad made many of these missionaries and their children critical of racism, imperialism, and religious orthodoxy. When they returned home, they brought new liberal values back to their own society. Protestants Abroad reveals the untold story of how these missionary-connected individuals left an enduring mark on American public life as writers, diplomats, academics, church officials, publishers, foundation executives, and social activists. David A. Hollinger provides riveting portraits of such figures as Pearl Buck, John Hersey, and Life and Time publisher Henry Luce, former "mish kids" who strove through literature and journalism to convince white Americans of the humanity of other peoples. Hollinger describes how the U.S. government's need for citizens with language skills and direct experience in Asian societies catapulted dozens of missionary-connected individuals into prominent roles in intelligence and diplomacy. Meanwhile, Edwin Reischauer and other scholars with missionary backgrounds led the growth of Foreign Area Studies in universities during the Cold War. The missionary contingent advocated multiculturalism and anticolonialism, pushed their churches in ecumenical and social-activist directions, and joined with Jewish intellectuals to challenge traditional Protestant cultural hegemony and promote a pluralist vision of American life. Missionary cosmopolitans were the Anglo-Protestant counterparts of the New York Jewish intelligentsia of the same era. Protestants Abroad reveals the crucial role that missionary-connected American Protestants played in the development of modern American liberalism, and how they helped other Americans reimagine their nation's place in the world.
First published in 1995, Postethnic America was widely hailed as a groundbreaking proposal for healing our nation's ethnic divisions. David A. Hollinger, one of America's foremost intellectual historians, argues for replacing the pluralist model of multiculturalism that is based on the idea of group rights with a cosmopolitan model that recognizes the reality of shifting group boundaries and multiple identities. Postethnic America is a bracing reminder of America's universalist promise, and a stirring call for a new form of nationalism. In this tenth-anniversary edition, Hollinger has added a new postscript in which he responds to his critics and addresses the contemporary conversation about race, ethnicity, inequality, and nationalism in America.
From the early 1900s, liberal Protestants grafted social welfare work onto spiritual concerns on both sides of the Pacific. Their goal: to forge links between whites and Asians that countered anti-Asian discrimination in the United States. Their test: uprooting racial hatreds that, despite their efforts, led to the shameful incarceration of Japanese Americans in World War II. Sarah M. Griffith draws on the experiences of liberal Protestants, and the Young Men's Christian Association in particular, to reveal the intellectual, social, and political forces that powered this movement. Engaging a wealth of unexplored primary and secondary sources, Griffith explores how YMCA leaders and their partners in the academy and distinct Asian American communities labored to mitigate racism. The alliance's early work, based in mainstream ideas of assimilation and integration, ran aground on the Japanese exclusion law of 1924. Yet their vision of Christian internationalism and interracial cooperation maintained through the World War II internment trauma. As Griffith shows, liberal Protestants emerged from that dark time with a reenergized campaign to reshape Asian-white relations in the postwar era.
"American intellectual historians need to pay more attention to how elites relate to broader audiences. Hollinger's work is in the vanguard of recent intellectual history and it is a joy to observe a true intellectual in discourse with his peers." -- History: Reviews of Books.

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