Thursday, April 19, 2012

What is Caitlin Carenen reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Caitlin Carenen, author of The Fervent Embrace: Liberal Protestants, Evangelicals, and Israel.

Her entry begins:
I must confess that the nature of my work tends to limit the time I read for pleasure, but when I do get the opportunity, it reminds me of the enormous joy reading fiction can bring. In the case of Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, I acquired a copy in an airport shop and began reading it while in Oxford, England where I was delivering a conference paper. I picked it up for a few reasons. A friend recommended it, my family couldn’t stop talking about it and, well, the title (of course) intrigued me. How could a book entitled The Historian become an international best-seller? How often are historians, librarians and academics the heroes? I could imagine the collective eye-rolling of my students. The subject matter, however, gave me pause (Dracula?!). Perhaps it was a reflexive reaction to Twilight. So with a bit of suspicion, I began reading. And...[read on]
About The Fervent Embrace, from the publisher:
When Israel declared its independence in 1948, Harry Truman issued a memo recognizing the Israeli government within eleven minutes. Today, the U.S. and Israel continue on as partners in an at times controversial alliance—an alliance, many argue, that is powerfully influenced by the Christian Right. In The Fervent Embrace, Caitlin Carenen chronicles the American Christian relationship with Israel, tracing first mainline Protestant and then evangelical support for Zionism.

In the aftermath of the Holocaust, American liberal Protestants argued that America had a moral humanitarian duty to support Israel. Christian anti-Semitism had helped bring about the Holocaust, they declared, and so Christians must help make amends. Moreover, a stable and democratic Israel would no doubt make the Middle East a safer place for future American interests. Carenen argues that it was this mainline Protestant position that laid the foundation for the current evangelical Protestant support for Israel, which is based primarily on theological grounds.

Drawing on previously unexplored archival material from the Central Zionist Archives in Israel, this volume tells the full story of the American Christian-Israel relationship, bringing the various “players”—American liberal Protestants, American Evangelicals, American Jews, and Israelis—together into one historical narrative.
Learn more about The Fervent Embrace at the New York University Press website.

Caitlin Carenen is Assistant Professor of History at Eastern Connecticut State University.

The Page 99 Test: The Fervent Embrace.

Writers Read: Caitlin Carenen.

--Marshal Zeringue