Professor Tal Howard

Associate Professor of History
Director, Jerusalem & Athens Forum
Gordon College
America in the European Mind
Thomas Albert (Tal) Howard is associate professor of history at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. He is the founding director of the Jerusalem & Athens Forum, an honors program in the history of Christian thought and literature.  He is also the overall project director of "Critical Loyalty: Christian Vocation at Gordon College," a five-year project funded by the Lilly Endowment. Professor Howard completed his M.A. (1992) and Ph.D. (1996) at the University of Virginia, concentrating in modern European intellectual and religious history. He is the author of "Religion and the Rise of Historicism" (Cambridge, 2000) and "Protestant Theology and the Making of the Modern German University" (Oxford, 2006). His articles and reviews have appeared in various journals, including the American Historical Review, Church History, Journal of the History of Ideas, History of Universities, The National Interest, Modern Age, Christian Century, and Books & Culture. In 2003-04, he served as a Senior Carey Fellow in the Erasmus Institute at the University of Notre Dame. Currently he is working on a project entitled, "American Religion in the European Mind: Reflections on the Transatlantic Religious Divide."


America in the European Mind

In recent years, there's been no shortage of commentary on European anti-Americanism and the divide between Americans and Europeans on a number of issues-religion, most of all.

The reasons for such a divide are complex and tied both to history and to how we think about history. For Americans, our national story is intimately connected to tales of devout, beleaguered Europeans leaving the Old World for religious freedom. It's a story in which prominent Catholics, such as Jacques Maritain and John Courtney Murray, have pointed to the American experiment as a means of helping the Catholic Church, roiled by the militant anticlericalism of post-1789 Europe, come to regard liberal democracy and religious freedom in a positive light.

Copyright (c) 2006 First Things 167 (November 2006): 12-15.