The New Measures
The New Measures: A Theological History of Democratic Practice brings thick cultural history to contemporary debates about religion and democracy. Combining histories of performance, space, institutions, and ideas, this 2007 book tells the story of the 'new measures' that circulated in the religious revivals of the 1820s and '30s and traces the role of these practices in the development of democratic culture in the United States. The book borrows resources from Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno to remember the new measures from an eschatological point of view. That eschatological perspective holds together close empirical studies and explicitly theological hopes. The book's attention to detail moves it beyond abstraction and caricature to a more materialist political theology. And its eschatological hope resists narratives of progress and decline to understand American democracy as both tangled in contradiction and caught up in redemption.