Cities of God

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1107004241

New publication by project members:

The history of archaeology is generally told as the making of a secular discipline. Cities of God: the Bible and Archaeology in Nineteenth-century Britain (2013) argues however that archaeology in this period was enmeshed with questions of biblical authority and so with religious as well as narrowly scholarly concerns. In unearthing the cities of the Eastern Mediterranean, travellers, archaeologists and their popularisers transformed thinking on the truth of Christianity and its place in modern cities. This happened at a time when anxieties over the unprecedented rate of urbanisation in Britain coincided with critical challenges to biblical truth. In this context, cities from Jerusalem to Rome became contested models for the adaptation of Christianity to modern urban life. Using sites from across the biblical world, this book evokes the appeal of the ancient city to diverse groups of British Protestants in their arguments with one another and with their secular and Catholic rivals about the vitality of their faith in urban Britain.

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Dissent and the Bible in Britain c.1650-1950

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0199608415

New publication by project members:

The claim that the Bible was ‘the Christian’s only rule of faith and practice’ has been fundamental to Protestant dissent. Dissenters first braved persecution and then justified their adversarial status in British society with the claim that they alone remained true to the biblical model of Christ’s Church. They produced much of the literature that guided millions of people in their everyday reading of Scripture, while the voluntary societies that distributed millions of Bibles to the British and across the world were heavily indebted to Dissent. Yet no single book has explored either what the Bible did for dissenters or what dissenters did to establish the hegemony of the Bible in British culture. The protracted conflicts over biblical interpretation that resulted from the bewildering proliferation of dissenting denominations have made it difficult to grasp their contribution as a whole. Dissent and the Bible in Britain c.1650-1950 (2013) evokes the great variety in the dissenting study and use of the Bible while insisting on the factors that gave it importance and underlying unity. Its ten essays range across the period from the later seventeenth to the mid-twentieth century and make reference to all the major dissenting denominations of the United Kingdom. The essays are woven together by a thematic introduction which places the Bible at the centre of dissenting ecclesiology, eschatology, public worship and ‘family religion’, while charting the political and theological divisions that made the cry of ‘the Bible only’ so divisive for dissenters in practice.