Philip Jenkins

Philip Jenkins is Distinguished Professor of History and Co-Director for the Program on Historical Studies of Religion at the Institute for Studies of Religion, Baylor University.  He is the author of several books, including Crucible of Faith: The Ancient Revolution That Made Our Modern Religious World (Basic Books).

Latest by Philip Jenkins in Chronicles

Results: 163 Articles found.
  • Greater Than the French Revolution
    July 2020

    Greater Than the French Revolution

    At the time, the Franco-Prussian War was a shocking and apocalyptic global event. We should not expect any explosion of commemoration on this 150th anniversary, but such neglect is badly mistaken.

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  • Praying Alone
    June 2020

    Praying Alone

    When Americans look back on 2020, the year of the virus, they will see multiple transformations. I fear that some of the most sweeping changes will come in the realm of religion, marking a grim turning point in the story of American faith.

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  • And a Little Child Shall Mislead Them
    March 2020

    And a Little Child Shall Mislead Them

    Swedish activist Greta Thunberg has become a vastly influential force in the discussion of global climate change. Even so, policy makers are reluctant to challenge her because her global reputation verges on the hagiographic. Conservative Italians denounce her fanatical disciples as gretini—a heavy-handed pun on the Italian word for cretins, cretini. Even so, the joke is directed not at the saintly Greta, but at her overenthusiastic followers. Even in conservative American media, such as Fox News, any critiques of the grandstanding activist are dismissed as unacceptable, on the grounds that she’s just a kid, even though she is now 17 years old.

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  • Remembering the Twenty-Teens
    January 2020

    Remembering the Twenty-Teens

    Decades provide a useful, if not infallible, structure for organizing and understanding our historical experience. However frayed and disputed their limits, terms like “the twenties,” or “the eighties” each conjure their particular images and memories. Whatever we call the decade we have just completed—the twenty-teens?—it is one with landmarks arguably as important as any in our history.

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  • Which Terrorism?
    October 2019

    Which Terrorism?

    The U.S. is about to make a disastrous blunder in its terrorism policies. In recent months, a series of savage shootings has drawn attention to the dangers posed by far-right, or white-supremacist, terrorism. Commentators from across the political spectrum have demanded a robust response, and law enforcement agencies are clearly listening. In principle, such a focus on the terroristic far right is an excellent idea.

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  • Remembering Slavery
    August 2019

    Remembering Slavery

    The topic of slavery and reparations has been much in the news of late and might feature prominently in next year’s presidential elections. Slave ownership taints the reputations of historical figures, to the point of provoking campaigns against their commemoration. Modern dismay over slavery is quite justified, but a couple of reality checks might be in order.

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  • Missing the Main Story
    June 2019

    Missing the Main Story

    In 1946, the U.S. intelligence community published a series of studies on the current and future dangers threatening global peace, and among these was a surprisingly detailed essay entitled, “Islam: A Threat to World Stability.”

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  • Poet Against Empire
    April 2019

    Poet Against Empire

    When I mention that I am reading Robinson Jeffers, even cultivated and well-read people look bemused; the name seems obscure. By way of explanation, I borrow the closing words of the classic gangster film The Roaring Twenties: “He used to be a big shot.”

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  • Too Dangerous to Read
    December 2018

    Too Dangerous to Read

    I offer a moral dilemma. Are there books or fictional works so dangerous that they should not be taught in school or college, and that should as far as possible be kept from a general audience?

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  • The Last of the Royals
    September 2018

    The Last of the Royals

    When historians survey Europe’s 20th century, rarely do they question the fundamental evil of the old irrelevant monarchies and aristocratic regimes, and the obvious necessity of replacing them with progressive socialist and nationalist substitutes.

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  • How the Crusades Were Won
    July 2018

    How the Crusades Were Won

    The Christian Crusades of the Middle Ages are today deployed for a wide range of political and rhetorical purposes—to make claims about the Church’s betrayal of Christ’s teaching, the evils of European imperialism, or the inextricable link between intolerant religion and ghastly violence.

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  • Anniversary of the Modern West
    May 2018

    Anniversary of the Modern West

    Some of the greatest events in human history simply fail to register in popular consciousness. Last year, we rightly heard a terrific amount about the Reformation, or at least, about its early Lutheran phase.

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  • “Only Connect!”
    April 2018

    “Only Connect!”

    Niall Ferguson is a distinguished historian of Scottish origin who specializes in big arguments, and contrarian claims. His books are always provocative, frequently infuriating, and often (if not always) correct in their analyses.

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  • March 2018

    Islam, Europe, and Slavery

    At Midsummer 1631, Barbary pirates from North Africa raided the Irish village of Baltimore, and took several hundred local people into lifelong captivity. Such a distant projection of Islamic power might seem extreme and even bizarre, but it was no such thing.

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  • December 2017

    Race, Genocide, and Memory

    In 2012, U.S. historian William H. Frederick sparked a fierce controversy about a horrible if largely forgotten episode in Asian history, the so-called Bersiap movement of the 1940’s.

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  • August 16, 2017

    Missed Manners and Creeping Laws

    All societies regulate personal behavior: That is part of what makes them societies, instead of mere aggregations of isolated individuals. Societies differ enormously, though, in just how they perform this regulation, how much they rely on law and the state, rather than informal or private means.

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  • September 2017

    Remembering the Old Russia

    This Fall marks the centennial of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution. Although few commentators today are likely to glorify that event or its aftermath, most will assume that the revolution was a regrettable necessity, which swept away a repressive and stagnant ancient regime. Such a view is false.

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  • A Long Way Behind
    August 2017

    A Long Way Behind

    Yale’s Little Histories represent an admirable project, whereby true experts perform the exceedingly difficult task of summarizing a large field of knowledge in a short space, and in an accessible manner.

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  • June 15, 2017


    In an earlier phase of my career, I researched the subject of serial murder. What struck me repeatedly was how many of the cases defied the common stereotype of the lone Jack the Ripper figure, always a white male.

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  • July 2017

    The Wrong War

    The assault on American history continues apace, with the further removal of Confederate monuments and symbols, and the expunging of anything relating to slavery or slaveholders.

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Results: 163 Articles found.