That Was The Week That Was


• My post on the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 became my first to be featured by WordPress on its “Freshly Pressed” page!

• Academic historians just need to stop whining about “popular” historians. Now.

• The second part of my series on the commemoration of World War I in Minnesota took readers on a tranquil drive through the Minneapolis Parks system.

• The program for October’s meeting of the Conference on Faith and History is out, and I’m already struggling to pick between panels… Though the last morning session on Saturday should be an easy choice.

There and Everywhere

Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch — Creative Commons (bellaphon)

• Just over a year ago, I was writing here about the bombing and shootings in Norway perpetrated by Anders Breivik. This week he received the maximum sentence permissible under that country’s laws: 21 years. While it can be extended, such a sentence — not quite 100 days per murder — probably shocks many of us used to a system rooted in retributive justice. Max Fisher of The Atlantic explored the Norwegian approach to “restorative” justice and its the strengths (reducing crime, recidivism, and costs) and weaknesses (“[subverting]… human desires for justice and fairness”).

• Reading this Methodist pastor’s review of Sherlock is a good way to help the time between the end of the second series and the beginning of the third pass just a bit more quickly.

• Two kinds of statements that are too rare in today’s discourse: Christian Century associate editor Steve Thorngate gently rebuked someone with whom he’d normally agree (musician-activist Tom Morello) for making a “gratuitous” attack on someone with whom he strongly disagrees (Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan); and Scottish sportswriter Graham Spiers staunchly defended someone (Keith O’Brien, Catholic archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh) with whom he completely disagrees (on the subject of same-sex marriage). (H/T Scot McKnight)

• How the history of the civil rights movement inspired one teacher to think of his vocation as building community.

Barton, The Jefferson Lies• I still haven’t read more than a couple of the “essays on the intersection of evangelicalism and Anabaptism” in The Activist Impulse, but Devin Manzullo-Thomas’ review reminded me that I need to carve out more time for it once I’m past some early September deadlines.

• Some of these are a bit older than a week, but worth going back to… For a couple of nice wrap-ups to the David Barton/Thomas Nelson controversy, see John Fea’s lessons we might learn from it (“First, when the past is used to promote political agendas in the present it usually leads to bad history”), legal scholar Garrett Epps’ takeaway that the critique of Barton by evangelical scholars like John should remind those outside that tradition to “be careful not to accept quacks and fakers as exemplars” and instead to remember that “American Evangelicalism is a huge, complex tradition, one that has made major contributions to American culture,” and Richard Kaufmann’s suggestion that — important as the evangelical critique of Barton was — “there’s a deeper critique to be made” of the blurring of the lines between truth and “truthiness.”

• Also, check out Thomas Kidd’s discussion of one of the issues at the heart of the Barton controversy: the faith of Thomas Jefferson.

• And this morning at the Bethel History Department blog, you’ll find links to posts about live-tweeting the destruction of Pompeii, the last resting place of King Richard III, the drive to establish a museum dedicated to inventor Nikola Tesla, and a lesser-known item on the resume of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

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