Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Jesus Made in America

Last week I received a copy of Stephen Nichols's new book, Jesus Made in America: A Cultural History from the Puritans to The Passion of the Christ, just out from IVP Academic.

I had read just a bit of it in pre-pub form and knew it would be good--but I didn't know it would be this good. I would highly recommend the book, which can teach us a great deal about American culture and how we view Christ. It's been a while since I've read a book this good, and I've found it hard to put down!

Here's the description from the back cover:
Jesus is as American as baseball and apple pie.

But how this came to be is a complex story--one that Stephen Nichols tells with care and ease. Beginning with the Puritans, he leads readers through the various cultural epochs of American history, showing at each stage how American notions of Jesus were shaped by the cultural sensibilities of the times, often with unfortunate results.

Always fascinating and often humorous, Jesus Made in America offers a frank assessment of the story of Christianity in America, including the present. For those interested in the cultural implications of that story, this book is a must-read.

And here is Mark Noll's blurb for it:
Stephen Nichols's account of how Jesus has been perceived throughout American history is long on wisdom and short on tedium. His lively account is especially noteworthy as it explains what the nation's first presidents made of Jesus and how he has been depicted by some of its most popular movie producers. Not the least of the book's many merits is Nichols's ability to sort through the extraordinary mix of cultural nonsense and profound theological insight that make up this story." —Mark Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame
It really is worth picking up a copy.