New Review of Between Dixie and Zion

I’m happy to report that another review of Between Dixie and Zion just dropped. Thomas Kidd reviewed the book for Church History and, thankfully, posted it publicly for readers of his blog at The Gospel Coalition. Kidd, who co-wrote the book on Baptist Christianity in America, raises some good questions about the extent to which early twentieth century Southern Baptists can be described as “evangelical.” I might post some thoughts on those questions here if I can find some time during the semester. In the meantime, check out Kidd’s thoughtful review of “a book that anyone interested in Baptist history or American views of Israel should definitely read.”

Interview with Tavis Smiley

This week, I did an interview for Tavis Smiley’s new show on KBLA 1580 about the evangelical-Israel relationship (prompted by this piece in The Conversation). As usual, I was double-billed with Dame Dash.

You can listen here:

Two Reviews of Between Dixie and Zion

I’m happy to share excerpts from two reviews of Between Dixie and Zion.

Yaakov Ariel reviewed BDZ in the 2020 volume of Southern Jewish History:

Between Dixie and Zion is impressive in the extent and depth of its research. Unearthing a large array of primary sources and refusing to follow convention perceptions, Robins weaves a fresh and complex portrayal of Baptist images of and involvement with Palestine and its peoples….Students of religion in America will therefore find Robins’s book highly instructive. They will join readers who are interested in the history of Christianity and the Holy Land, as well as the development of Christian attitudes towards Jews, Zionism, Arabs, Muslims, and Eastern Christianity.”

Eric Newberg reviewed it in the Autumn 2020 issue of the Journal of Church and State:

“…for those seeking a meticulously researched account of formative encounters of Southern Baptists that shaped their perspectives on the question of Palestine, this book is just that and more. It makes a significant and judicious contribution to the body of scholarship of the engagement of evangelical Christians with the complexities of Israel/Palestine.”

I’ve learned a lot from the work of both of these scholars in studying American evangelical engagement with Jews and Zionism over the years, so I am very grateful to have my own work so thoughtfully reviewed by them.

If you want to buy Between Dixie and Zion, try here or here or here. If you’re looking to borrow it, start here.

Evangelicals, Vaccine Skepticism, and Holy Land Tourism

Anyone who has stumbled their way to this particular website will find this article by the Forward‘s Molly Boigon of interest. It explores how vaccine skepticism among American evangelicals might affect tourism to Israel when things begin opening back up–and the role that the leading Christian Zionist organizations are playing in assuaging any hesitancy. Check it out–this will be worth keeping an eye on in the coming months. (I’m also, as someone trained in Jewish history, very proud to have a cameo in the Forward.)

Herbert Hoover Cutting Large Things

One of my favorite ways to distract myself while preparing lectures for class is searching for Powerpoint slides in the photo archives of the Library of Congress. My goal, always, is to find photos of the people that we’re discussing in class that are weird or stupid. Last week in my “America in the World” class, we discussed American foreign policy in the 1920s, which allowed me to peruse the LOC’s Herbert Hoover holdings. They are good. My favorite findings were the following two photos of Hoover cutting large food items in front of crowds of people.

“Herbert Hoover cutting large melon, with group” (LOC)

“Herbert Hoover cutting a large pie” (LOC)

Such grotesque proportions! And as Americans were starving in the streets, no less!

(okay, the photos were from before the Great Depression)