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Chesterton House

A Center for Christian Studies at Cornell

Religious America, Secular Europe? Reflections on the Transatlantic 'God Gap'

Dr. Thomas Albert (Tal) Howard, Gordon College
Friday, November 9, 2012 - 4:00pm
165 McGraw Hall (1st Floor Lecture Hall)
Public Lecture

Drawing from his most recent book God and the Atlantic: America, Europe, and the Religious Divide (Oxford, 2011), Professor Howard will explore some of the long-standing differences between the United States and Western Europe with respect to religion. With an eye on the present but taking a historical approach, he will argue that some of these differences can be best illuminated and understood by analyzing discourse about America among European thinkers in the time of the American and French Revolutions and in the nineteenth century.

Thomas Albert Howard is the Stephen Phillips Chair of History at Gordon College. He holds a Ph.D. in European intellectual history from the University of Virginia. Howard has also studied and/or taught at Valparaiso University, the University of Freiburg im Breisgau, the Humboldt University of Berlin, the University of Basel, and the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of Religion and the Rise of Historicism: W.M.L. de Wette, Jacob Burckhardt, and the Theological Origins of Nineteenth-Century Historical Consciousness (Cambridge, 2000) and Protestant Theology and the Making of the Modern German University (Oxford, 2006). His most recent book is God and the Atlantic: America, Europe and the Religious Divide (Oxford, 2011). Howard's articles, essays and reviews have appeared in numerous journals, including the American Historical Review, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Journal of the History of Ideas, and Journal of Church and State.

"God and the Atlantic is an unusually fine work. Its careful cataloguing of European responses to religion in the United States shows that perspectives from the conservative Right and radical Left share a common rigidity and even sometimes nearly identical judgments. By contrast, European savants who traveled extensively in the United States have sometimes seen things more clearly, and with more nuance, than even America's homegrown observers. The book is a pathbreaking exploration."- Mark Noll