Trench Theology

Jonathan Ebel on World War One, a.k.a. The Great War: “The culture of pre-war America gave America images, ideas, and beliefs perfectly tailored to war.”
Philip Jenkins on WWI: “If you do not understand the messianic and apocalyptic imagery used by all sides, and how wide-ranging those images were among all classes, all groups, all nations, you cannot hope to understand the war.”

The Dish

Kimberly Winston takes note of a growing movement to examine the Great War through the lens of religious history:

“You can’t understand the war fully without investigating the religious dimensions of the war,” said Jonathan Ebel, an associate professor of religion at the University of dish_wwicross Illinois whose Faith in the Fight: The American Soldier in the Great War has just been issued in paperback. … Ebel draws a line from the “masculine Christianity” of the early 20th century (evangelist Billy Sunday‘s enormously popular revivals often included military recruiting tents) to the way combatants and support workers thought of the war. Soldiers scribbled lines of Scripture on their gas masks, marked their calendars with a cross for each day they survived combat, and opened the pages of the Stars and Stripes military newspaper to read poems comparing them to the heroes of the Old Testament. “The culture of pre-war America gave America images, ideas…

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