New Books Network

Mark Dennis and Darren Middleton, eds., “Approaching Silence: New Perspectives on Shusaku Endo’s Classic Novel” (Bloomsbury, 2015)
What does it mean to be a martyr? What does it mean to be an apostate? How should we understand people who choose one or the other? These are the questions asked by Shusaku Endo in his novel Silence, in which he tells the story of Japanese Catholics and foreign... Read More
Tracy Leavelle, “The Catholic Calumet: Colonial Conversions in French and Indian North America” (U Penn Press, 2014)
Studies of Christian missions can easily fall into two different traps: either one-sidedly presenting the missionaries as heroes saving benighted savages or portraying them as villains carrying out cultural imperialism. At the same time, these vastly different perspectives are based on the same error of minimizing native agency. In The... Read More
Matthew Stanley, “Huxley’s Church and Maxwell’s Demon: From Theistic Science to Naturalistic Science” (U of Chicago Press, 2014)
“Show me how it doos.” Such were the words of a young James Clerk “Dafty” Maxwell (1831-79), an inquisitive child prone to punning who grew into a renowned physicist known for his work on electromagnetism. After learning to juggle and conducting experiments on falling cats, Maxwell went on to have... Read More
Erskine Clarke, “By the Rivers of Water: A Nineteenth Century Atlantic Odyssey” (Basic Books, 2013)
Jane Bayard Wilson and John Leighton Wilson were unlikely African missionaries, coming as they did from privileged slaveholding families in Georgia and South Carolina, respectively. Yet in 1834 they embarked on a nearly twenty-year adventure as Christian missionaries to two peoples in western Africa — the Grebo in Liberia, and... Read More
Emma Anderson, “The Death and Afterlife of the North American Martyrs” (Harvard UP, 2013)
Martyrdom, writes Emma Anderson, is anything but random. In beautiful prose and spectacular historical detail, The Death and Afterlife of the North American Martyrs (Harvard University Press, 2013), takes readers on a journey of more than 300 years, exploring how a group of eight Frenchmen were selected from the amongst... Read More
Christopher Shannon and Christopher Blum, “The Past as Pilgrimage” (Christendom Press, 2014)
Scholars studying the history of Christianity are used to writing about different Christian traditions. But what does it mean to write from within a particular Christian tradition? How can a Christian be a historian who does academically respectable work while remaining true to his or her religious commitments? How can... Read More
Carol E. Harrison, “Romantic Catholics: France’s Postrevolutionary Generation in Search of a Modern Faith” (Cornell UP, 2014)
Since the political left and right first arose during the French Revolution, Catholics have been categorized as either conservatives or liberals, and most Catholics of the French nineteenth century are assumed to have been conservatives. In Romantic Catholics: France’s Postrevolutionary Generation in Search of a Modern Faith (Cornell University Press, 2014), Carol... Read More
Joseph Laycock, “The Seer of Bayside: Veronica Lueken and the Struggle to Define Catholicism” (Oxford UP, 2014)
In understanding a tradition what is the relationship between the ‘center’ and the ‘periphery’? How do the lived religious lives of practitioners contest or affirm authority? In The Seer of Bayside: Veronica Lueken and the Struggle to Define Catholicism (Oxford University Press, 2014), Joseph Laycock, assistant professor of religious studies... Read More