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2010 Seminars

Religion, War, and the Meaning of AmericaStout Photo
June 28 - July 16, 2010

Directed by
Dr. Harry Stout

Co-sponsored by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship
Funded by the Lilly Endowment, Inc.

Seminar Description

This seminar focuses on the interaction of inherited Old World ideas and cultures (primarily religious) in a New World (to the Europeans) environment, with particular attention to the subject of war.  In the new American setting, ideas would shape environments and environments would shape ideas in a complex waltz of alternating leads and followings so that what evolved over a three century period would be an experiment in nation-building whose legacy can only be described as unique and, for better and worse, world transforming.  Seminar participants will study primary and secondary source materials that discuss the religious meaning of America and, in particular, the religious meanings of Americans at war.

About the Director

Dr. Harry Stout is Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Religious History at Yale University. He has received numerous grants and fellowships, including Mellon, NEH, and Guggenheim fellowships. He is General Editor of The Works of Jonathan Edwards and General Editor of the Religion in America series at Oxford University Press. He also serves as editor to Cobblestone Magazine, Studies in Puritan American Spirituality, and American National Biography. In addition to numerous articles, he has authored or co-authored several books, including The New England Soul: Preaching and Religious Culture in Colonial New England (Pulitizer Prize finalist); An Enemy Among Them; The Divine Dramatist: George Whitefield and the Rise of Modern Evangelicalism (Pulitzer Prize nominee); A New England Congregation: First Church, New Haven, 1638-1988; and Upon the Altar of the Nation: A Moral History of the American Civil War (2006) . He has edited or co-edited Jonathan Edwards and the American Experience; Jonathan Edwards; Dictionary of Christianity in America; and Benjamin Franklin, Jonathan Edwards, and the American Experience.

About the Speakers

Dr. James Bratt has taught history at Calvin College since 1987; prior to that, he was a member of the Religious Studies Dept at the University of Pittsburgh for nine years. He received his PhD in American History from Yale University in 1978 and has published on a variety of topics in cultural and religious history. From teaching early American history and doing intensive research in the antebellum period, he has come to consider that Americans' concepts and expectations of war were forged at a very early time and persist to this day.

Dr. Jonathan Ebel is an assistant professor in the Department of Religion at the University of Illinois. He earned his Ph.D. in 2004 from the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. Jonathan spent ten years (active and reserve) as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy. He is the author of /Faith in the Fight: Religion and the American Soldier in the Great War/ and is currently working on a book on the place of the soldier in American civil religion.

Seminars @ Calvin
Calvin College
1855 Knollcrest Circle SE
Grand Rapids MI 49546-4402
fax 616.526.6682