The Winter/Spring issue of Fides et Historia

Randall Stephens

Donald Yerxa and I were pleased to finally have the new issue of Fides et Historia in hand in November (Summer/Fall 2011).

Now we're finishing up the edits for the Winter/Spring 2012 issue, which should be in subscribers' hands by late April or early May. It will include a variety of articles, reviews, and a roundtable--from the 2011 AHA--on "Bracketing Faith and Historical Practice." Here's my summary/intro for that:

In Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference Dipesh Chakrabarty called on scholars to “move away from two of the ontological assumptions entailed in secular conceptions of the political and the social. The first is that the human exists in a frame of a single and secular historical time that envelops other kinds of time . . . . The second assumption running through modern European political thought and the social sciences is that the human is ontologically singular, that gods and spirits are in the end ‘social facts,’ that the social somehow exists prior to them.” By almost any reckoning, historians are not prepared to “move away” from those two ontological assumptions.

The question of the appropriate relationship between the historian’s belief and craft has received much recent attention. It is a question that has occupied the Conference on Faith and History since its inception in the late 1960s, with much of the CFH’s conversation focusing on how to integrate faith and historical practice to avoid compartmentalization. At the 2011 CFH/AHA session in Boston we continued the conversation but from a different point of entry, asking participants in our roundtable to consider the following: What is the value of and reasons for bracketing out religious commitments? What is gained (or lost) when believing historians bracket out matters of faith? Is it best (or even possible) for historians—of whatever faith or no faith at all—to shelve religious belief and metaphysics when writing history? What is lost (or gained) when the religious commitments of historians are reflected in their work? Must historians or religious studies scholars practice methodological agnosticism, or, as Peter Berger put it, “methodological atheism”?

We asked several scholars to reflect on those questions and offer their insights. In this roundtable we include adapted versions from the CFH/AHA session from: Margaret Bendroth (Congregational Library, Boston), Eugene B. McCarraher (Villanova University), Jon H. Roberts (Boston University), and Grant Wacker (Duke University Divinity School). In addition we asked William Katerberg (Calvin College) and Christopher Shannon (Christendom College) to respond to the panelists’ essays.

And here's a preview of what else will be in the issue:

From the Editor
Donald A. Yerxa


Of Ashtrays and Incommensurability: Reflections on Herbert Butterfield and The Whig Interpretation of History
Wilfred M. McClay

“A Study Bearing Fruit beyond all Price”: MacIntyre, Bossuet, and the Historian’s Craft
Christopher O. Blum

Protestant Paranoia and Catholic Conspiracies: Protestant Perspectives on the Second Anglo-Boer War
Bethany Kilcrease

Roundtable: Bracketing Faith and Historical Practice


On a Certain Blindness in Historians
Eugene McCarraher

In Defense of Methodological Naturalism
Jon H. Roberts

Traveling Light
Peggy Bendroth

Another Tool in the Toolbox: Uses (and Misuses) of Belief-Inflected History
Grant Wacker

The Person of the Historian
William Katerberg

Christopher Shannon


Redeeming America: Kevin Starr, California, and the Promise of American Life
Ronald A. Wells

If you're interested in subscribing to the semiannual journal--which explores a wide variety of topics and themes related to the intersection of faith and historical inquiry--see here. Grad students pay an astoundingly low rate of . . . nothing. Grad membership is free!!! You can go to the link above, or send me an email to Dwight Brautigam, dbrautigam [at] with complete mailing address, preferred email address, and a note mentioning where you are studying. Easy.


Ben P said…
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