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The Fountain Of Public Prosperity by Stuart Piggin and Robert Lindner

The Fountain Of Public Prosperity by Stuart Piggin and Robert Lindner is a scholarly history of evangelical Christians in Australian history in the period from 1740 to 1914. (A second proposed volume will cover the period from 1914 to 2014).
Not only do the authors seek to demonstrate the ways in which evangelicals have shaped, and been shaped by, Australian society; they also seek to examine why historians have not recognised the distinctives at work in that interaction.
The aim of the authors:

“This book is primarily the story of how the evangelical movement has helped to shape Australian history. It is secondarily the story of how the evangelical movement has been shaped by its Australian context. The first story is much harder to document than the second, and more effort will be expended in finding it. Both stories are largely untold, but lots of stories are untold. Why are these deserving of particular attention, and, if they are so valuable, why have they not already become part of the historiographical mainstream? An analysis follows of the possible reasons for the chronic neglect of these stories. Definitions of evangelicalism are then reviewed and the main findings and themes of the present study are summarised.”

The Fountain Of Public Prosperity, Stuart Piggin and Robert D. Lindner. Monash University Publishing, 2018, pg 12.


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The House by Helen Pitt

Trapped in Sydney Airport I saw The House, Helen Pitt’s history of the construction of the Sydney Opera House.
It seemed an irresistible subject having seen the structure most of the days I’d been in Sydney.
It’s a very engaging read weaving a narrative of the numerous larger than life characters responsible for the creation of the iconic structure.

Here’s an observation about architect Jørn Utzon working in Europe to visualise a building in Australia that is attractive no matter what angle it is viewed from:

At Kronborg Castle he paced out distances, his long legs stretching to count the meters as he tried to picture Bennelong Point. While walking around the castle’s ancient walls he realised that the Sydney Opera House would be like Kronborg: viewed from all sides. He had often sailed around the Kronborg peninsula, observing the castle from all angles, so knew the Sydney Opera House could not have an ugly side. It needed to be beautiful from all angles. Around, above and below. From a ferry on the harbour or from a car on the Harbour Bridge.

The House, Helen Pitt, Allen & Unwin, 2018, pg 106.

Even with the controversy surrounding its design and construction, it does achieve that brief.
No matter where the Opera House is viewed from, and no matter how many times you’ve seen it before, it is a pleasure to look at.


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Colporteur

I’m reading Meredith Lake’s fascinating ‘cultural history’ The Bible In Australia.
I can’t recall ever encountering the word ‘colporteur’ before, but Lake in referring to the activity of agents of a variety of societies that were dedicated to the distribution of Bibles and religious literature uses the label Colporteur.

A variety of online dictionaries define a Colporteur as:

  • a person who travels to sell or publicize Bibles, religious tracts, etc.
  • a peddler of books.

This reminds me of Big Dan Teague, the morally compromised Bible salesman from O Brother, Where Art Thou.


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The Bible In Australia

Saw this mentioned on a blog I read and thought it looked very interesting.

It certainly seems like a unique treatment.

So, it’s on the acquisitions shelf and reading will soon commence.


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Holiday Reading – Protestants The Radicals Who Made The Modern World by Alec Ryrie

Holiday reading is resuming after a hiatus.
Protestants – The Radicals Who Made The Modern World by Alec Ryrie is a sweeping 500 page historical survey that seeks to demonstrate that understanding the modern world is impossible without understanding the Protestant movement.
It also came highly recommended.


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Holiday Reading – Sea Of Dangers

From fiction to biography/memoir to history.
Sea Of Dangers is subtitled Captain Cook And His Rivals. Geoffrey Blainey writes about James Cook and another mariner, Jean de Surville, and how their journeys of discovery nearly intersected.
Looks interesting.


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Eric Liddell – “God Made Him For China”

With Usain Bolt’s inspiring third win in the Olympic 100 meter race, a lot of people (especially Christians) might remember the film Chariots Of Fire and the words attributed to Eric Liddell “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.”
Albert Mohler writes that these words were a creation of the film’s writer and that Liddell’s actual sentiments were that “God made him for China”.
Liddell would begin and end his life in China, serving the Gospel until his final days.
Sometimes when you find out that a person never said a famous quote attributed to them it’s a bit deflating.
In this case it’s actually better than the original.

Read Mohler’s post here.