Defending the Faith: Global Histories of Apologetics and Politics in the Twentieth Century

ISBN : 9780197266915

Hugh McLeod; Todd Weir
336 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Oct 2020
Proceedings of the British Academy
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This volume explores the many ways in which conflicts between secular worldviews and religions shaped the history of the twentieth century. It introduces the notion of 'apologetics' to highlight a common feature of these conflicts: both secular and religious groups employed a mixture of learned argument and popular propaganda to defend their faith, but also to come up with new forms of outreach and mission. By bringing the dynamics of religious and secular apologetics into a comparative perspective, and drawing on examples from Western Europe, the USSR, the USA, North Africa and Asia from the 1920s to the present, the volume offers important historical perspectives on current debates over the place of religion in contemporary politics.


Note on Contributors
IntroductionHUGH MCLEOD and TODD H. WEIR:
Part I: Apologetics in Interwar Europe
1 TODD H. WEIR: The Apologetics of Modern Culture Wars: The Case of Weimar Germany
2 PETER BOWLER: Ideology and Futurology in Early Twentieth-Century Britain: Wells, Haldane, Bernal and their Critics
3 JOHN POLLARD: Vivat Christus Rex! The Cult of Christ the King, Vatican Apologetics, Catholic Action and the Far Right
4 BENJAMIN ZIEMANN: Between Rome and the Godless. Martin Niemoller's apologetic moves, 1930-1950
5 UMAR RYAD: British and Muslim? British Converts and their Apologetics for Islam in the Interwar Period
Part II: Transnational Apologetics during the Cold War
6 UDI GREENBERG and JENNIFER MILLER: From Mental Slavery to Brainwashing: Anti-Catholic Legacies in Anti-Communism Polemics
7 UTA BALBIER: Communism is a religion that is inspired, directed and motivated by the Devil himself: Billy Graham's apologetics and the Cold War West
8 CLEMENS SIX: The apologetics of decolonisation: Defending religion in South and Southeast Asia after the Second World War
9 VICTORIA SMOLKIN: Atheism as a Vocation: Soviet Communism, Religious Apostates, and Atheist Apologists
Part III: Apologetics since the 1960s
10 ALMA HECKMAN: Sacred Values: Islam, Communism, and Moroccan Nationalism in the Long 1960s
11 VLAD NAUMESCU: 'A World to be Transfigured': Shaping a Cold War vision of Orthodoxy from the South
12 MIRI FREUD-KANDEL: Louis Jacobs, Revelation, and the Ongoing Battle to Defend Jewish Orthodoxy
13 PETER ITZEN: Recognising secularisation: The Church of England and its struggle for a political role (1960-90)
Afterword: Apologetics as a seismograph of social changeMONIKA WOHLRAB-SAHR:

About the author: 

Todd H. Weir is Professor of History of Christianity and Modern Culture in the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Groningen. Prior to arriving in the Netherlands, he taught at Queen's University Belfast for nine years. He is the author of Secularism and Religion in Nineteenth-Century Germany: The Rise of the Fourth Confession (Cambridge, 2014) which won Jacques Barzun Prize for Cultural History, and is currently completing its sequel: Socialism and Secularism in Germany 1890 to 1933: Two Cultures.; Hugh McLeod was Professor of Church History at the University of Birmingham 1994-2010 and was president of CIHEC, the international organisation of historians of Christianity 2005-10. He has held visiting posts at Amsterdam, Uppsala, Munster and Mainz, and is a Fellow of the British Academy. His books include Piety and Poverty: Working Class Religion in Berlin, London and New York, 1870-1914 (1996), Secularisation in Western Europe, 1848-1914 (2000), The Religious Crisis of the 1960s (2007). He edited the 20th century volume of The Cambridge History of Christianity (2006).

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