Popular Writing



Raw Story – Trump’s fast-food engorged world is petty, small, miserable, anxious and angry

(Reprinted in AlterNet)

History News Network – Can You Imagine What It Must Be Like to Be Donald Trump?

Berfrois – When Books Read You, a Defense of Bibliomancy

The Millions – A 350th-Anniversary ‘Paradise Lost’ Reading List

Berfrois – A Bulwark Never Failing

Raw Story – There’s a comeuppance ahead for Christians who have traded faith for power

                      Reprinted in AlterNet


The Paris Review – John Milton’s Strange Christmas Poem

Newsweek – How Can True Evangelical Christians glorify the Godless Trump?

History News Network – For Those Who Have Traded Faith for Power, There’s a Comeuppance Ahead

Queen Mob’s Teahouse – Queen Mob’s Review of 2017

Berfrois – Final Twelve Observations about Goodness

Tablet Magazine – “Rabbi” John Selden and the Restoration of the Jews to England

History News Network – The Missing Piece in the Democrats’ Plan to Victory

Queen Mob’s Teahouse – Fecal Fridays: Martin Luther on the Toilet

Included in The Revealer

Queen Mob’s Teahouse – Here I Stand; I Can Do No Other

Avidly – This Begins with an Epigraph

Berfrois – An Almost Chosen People: Resurrecting American Civil Religion

Pop Culture and Theology – Why Hollywood Should Take a Chance on Martin Luther

The Washington Post – We’re All Protestants Now

HNN – The One Thing that Two Big Anniversaries This Month Have in Common

The Public Domain Review – Defining the Demonic

              (featured at Breminate)

The Paris Review – The Renaissance Precursor of Rap Battles and Flow

The Revealer – Seems Like Straw to Me: On Gary Gutting’s “Talking God”

Commonweal Magazine – Reformation 2.0

Queen Mob’s Teahouse – Vlad Interviews Ed Simon

Berfrois – Second Twelve Observations About Goodness

Aeon – How “white people” were invented by a playwright in 1613

            republished in Quartz

              featured at Vox

             republished in The Week

             featured at Arts & Letters Daily

Berfrois – First Twelve Observations about Goodness

The Millions – The Poetry of Subversion: On “Shakespeare in Swahililand”

Killing the Buddha – Transit of Shadow: On Eclipses

Newsweek – When Will Trump Use the Phrase ‘Radical White Supremacist Terrorism?’

HNN – There Shouldn’t Be any Statues Honoring Robert E. Lee Anywhere

Nautilus – The Case for Treating Gatsby as a Real Person

Raw Story – Once again, Donald Trump caters to the white racists who helped elect him

HNN – No, Mr. President. This Is Not an Issue with “Many Sides”

Queen Mob’s Teahouse – Fire, Fury, and all the Varieties of American Nihilism

Newsweek – Why did Trump Aide Stephen Miller deride the noble words chiselled at the base of the Statue of Liberty?

Belt Magazine – George Romero, Pittsburgh Auteur

Marginalia – Debts Owed to Death

HNN – What Stephen Miller Got Wrong about Emma Lazarus

Berfrois – You Don’t Have to Go Home, but You Can’t Stay Here

Berfrois – Poetry Without Poets; or, Spirit is a Human Earth

Nautilus – “One Question”

LitHub – 9 Murderous Tyrants Who Were Also Failed Writers (And One OK Poet)

Newsweek – Killing Free Speech. Et Tu Delta? Et Tu Bank of America?

History News Network – The Shameful Attack on the New York Public Theater Production of “Julius Caesar”

Belt Magazine – Trump Isn’t Pittsburgh’s President

Berfrois – All These Weirdos: For Dennis Johnson

Killing the Buddha – Speaking in Tongues of Fire

                  (featured in The Revealer)

Berfrois – Maps are Stories; Stories are Maps

Berfrois – American Jezebels

Nautilus – God Created Consciousness in Fiction

Marginalia – The Crucified God: A Death in Pictures

(featured at The Revealer)

Queen Mob’s Teahouse – The Rest is the Most Tremendous Silence

Berfrois – “The Very Globe Came Undone”

The Atlantic – What’s so “American” about John Milton’s Lucifer?

                        (featured in the Revealer)

Marginalia Review of Books – Why Sin is Good

                      (Featured in The Revealer)

History News Network – Those Who Deny Succor to the Immigrant in the Name of “The West” Are Themselves Profoundly Anti-Western

Berfrois – The Brooklyn Project

Religion Dispatches – Forget Romance, It’s Time for Radical Love

Queen Mob’s Teahouse – Jeremiad Against This Executive Order

Berfrois – Darkness Made Visible: Eamonn Peters on “Imagined Literature”

Nautilus – Why Pascal’s Wager is Eminently Modern

(Featured in 3QuarksDaily)

Queen Mob’s Teahouse – The Rival Poet’s Lover

(Featured in The Paris Review)

Religion Dispatches – With the Death of One of the Last Three Shakers, An American Religious Tradition Takes a Step Closer to Extinction

Inside Higher Ed – Crossing the Gulf of the Two Cultures

History News Network – Donald Trump is the First President who Doesn’t Believe in American Exceptionalism


Queen Mob’s Teahouse – Review of 2016 (Contributor)

The Paris Review – One Devil Too Many

Berfrois – The Grand Apprentice

The Revealer – The American Apocalyptic Sublime and the Twilight of Empire

Tablet Magazine – Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims’ American Jewish Holiday

The Atlantic – The Science Fiction That Came Before Science

Berfrois – The Scandal of Fiction

Queen Mob’s Teahouse – An Affirming Flame

The Atlantic – Why Bigfoot Sightings Are So Common Across Cultures

Aeon – Why Sasquatch and other crypto- beasts haunt our imaginations

Berfrois – I Dreamed I Saw Bob Dylan: On an American Prophet

Literary Hub – 11 Legendary Literary Hoaxes

Killing the Buddha – Remember that the Devil is Quite a Gentleman

                                 (featured at The Revealer)

The Millions – The Other Folio: On the Legacy of Ben Jonson

                               (featured at The Paris Review)

                                 (featured at Arts and Letters Daily)

The Revealer – The Savior’s Friends: On Tom Bissell’s Apostle

Berfrois – New Jerusalem in the Alleghenies; or, the Madman of Bradford County

Atlas Obscura – The Mystical Early Pennsylvania Settler Who Lived in a Cave

Belt Magazine – A Jagoff by Any Other Name

Marginalia at the Los Angeles Review of Books – Utmost Malice of Their Stars

History News Network – It’s Been 350 Years Since a Jewish Self-Proclaimed Messiah Converted to Islam

                                (featured at Brewminate)

Berfrois – A New Curating

Berfrois – Chair’d in the Adament of Time: On “America” and Other Fictions

History News Network – Obama’s Rebuke to the GOP

Queen Mob’s Teahouse – The Decline and Fall of the American Empire?

Killing the Buddha – The Page to Damascus

                              (featured at Real Clear Religion)

Berfrois – London Gave Him Debate

History News Network – Trump Exists Outside the Traditional Left-Right

Literary Hub – 10 Classics of Campaign Literature

The Millions – Songs of Ourselves: Searching for America’s Epic Poem

                             (featured at Grub Street)

                              (Originally cut material on Bob Dylan added after his Nobel Prize win)

Jewish Renaissance – Interviewed about the Early Modern poet Amelia Lanyer by Rebecca Taylor

History News Network – The Comparison of Brexit and the Reformation is Misleading, and Yet…

Berfrois – “Wheresoever they come they be at home:’ Utopia at 500

Marginalia at the Los Angeles Review of Books – Apocalypse is the Mother of Beauty

                       (featured in The Paris Review)

                        (featured at The Revealer)

History News Network – How a Historian Inspired a Miniseries with a Dark Message That’s Especially Relevant in the Age of Trump

The Millions – Hell with the Lid Taken Off: A Pittsburgh Reading List

Queen Mob’s Teahouse – The Books He Will Not Write: On Umberto Eco

The Millions – The Poetry of Small Things

                       (featured at 3 Quarks Daily)

ExCommunicated – Featured Heretic: Hypatia

History News Network – A Magazine for the Complicated American

Marginalia at the Los Angeles Review of Books – The Death of God, Again

                         (featured at The Revealer)

Berfrois – Recall, Orpheus: Upon the End of National Poetry Month

                            (featured in the Berfrois Newsletter)

Religion Dispatches – Mayday’s Demise and the Rise of our Gloomy Empire

                            (featured at The Revealer)

Literary Hub – What was Shakespeare’s Central Philosophy?

Literary Hub – Beyond Shakespeare: A Reading List

History News Network – Who Would Jesus Vote For?

                         (featured in Raw Story)

Tablet Magazine – Amelia Lanyer, the First First Female Jewish English Poet and Shakespeare’s Dark Lady?

Jacobin – Five Hundred Years of Utopia

                        (featured at The Revealer)

                        (quoted at The New Yorker)

The Fortnightly Review – The Rival Poet in Love

Berfrois – Daddy, What Did you Do in the Culture Wars?

History News Network – Who Really Discovered America?

History News Network – This is How Deep Racism Runs in Our Country

Queen Mob’s Teahouse – Of Canons and Marginal Poets

                           (featured at The Poetry Foundation)

                          (featured in The Paris Review)

History News Network – Another Reason for Progressive Catholics to Cheer Francis

Sacred Matters – The Wisdom of Umberto Eco

The Revealer – The Remembrance of Amalek

                    (featured in The Paris Review)

Raw Story – Trump’s Rise Shows Conservatives are Willing to destroy the America our founders envisioned

History News Network – Trumpism is a Sign that Faith in the American Civil Religion May be Collapsing

History News Network – The 18th Century Frenchman Who Understood America Better than Trump Does

                             (featured in Raw Story)

The Public Domain Review – Robert Greene, the First Bohemian

                            (featured at The Paris Review)

                            (featured at Berfrois)

                            (featured at The Rumpus)

                            (featured at Brewminate)

                            (featured in The Selected Essays: Volume IV)

The Revealer – The Great God Pan Still Lives

Religion Dispatches – David Bowie’s “Heroes,” the Soundtrack of a Spiritual Libertine

The Dublin Review of Books – England Unfree


Religion Dispatches – Despising the Holidays: When Christians Led the “War on Christmas”

Tikkun Daily – “California” Has Always Been Islamic

Religion Dispatches – How Would Religion Respond to Extraterrestrials? A Thought Experiment

Tikkun Daily – Something is Happening Here

Religion Dispatches – America, the Mythical: “Mother of Exiles” or Denier of Safe Haven?

Religion Dispatches – “Religion, O Diabolic” Lamenting Religious Violence, Then and Now

Religion Dispatches – Why We Should Keep the Devil in Halloween

Salon – Let there be light: Handwritten Draft of King James Bible reveals secrets of its creation

                   (featured in The Revealer)

                  (Salon article originally appeared in Religion Dispatches)

Polaris – Exile in that Infinity: Giordano Bruno

ExCommunicated – Featured Heretic: Giordano Bruno

Tikkun Daily – Stephen Colbert is America’s Holy Fool

                   (featured in The Revealer)

Belt Magazine – The Sacred and the Profane in Pittsburgh

                        (featured at the Journal of the History of Ideas)

Polaris – The Destroyer of World’s in His Newfoundland

                        (featured in The Revealer)

Tikkun Daily – God and Man in Toronto

Tikkun Daily – Humanism Unshackled

                       (featured in The Revealer)

Religion Dispatches – Will this Relic Change our Wholve View of Early American History?

Religion Dispatches – Who are the Waldensians and Why Did the Pope Ask for Their Forgiveness?

Killing the Buddha – Scripture for a Dead God

Tikkun Daily – Voicing the Ineffable in Charleston

‘Merica Magazine – The Non-Apotheosis of Tom Paine

ExCommunicated – Charlie’s Heterodoxy

ExCommunicated – Featured Heretic: Tom Paine

Religion Dispatches – Predicting the Future of Religion: A Thought Experiment

                      (featured in The Revealer)

                       (featured at The Anxious Bench)

The Revealer – Preachers from the Palace of Wisdom, or: Ranterism in the UK

Religion Dispatches – Jesus Went to Hell, But Nobody Wants to Talk About It

Religion Dispatches – Greatest Hits of 2015: Religion Stories Our Readers Couldn’t Resist

Salon – Jesus Went to Hell

                          (reprinted at AlterNet)

Quartz – Calling for an Islamic reformation ignores the bloody realities of Christian history

Religion Dispatches – ISIS is the Islamic Reformation

                         (featured at The Revealer)

Polaris – Notes on John Dee’s Aztec Mirror

The Revealer – The New Liturgy


The Public Domain Review – Ghostwriter and Ghost: The Strange Case of Pearl Curran and Patience Worth

                               (included in The Public Domain Review: Selected Essays, Volume II)

                               (reprinted in Mental Floss)

ExCommunicated – Featured Heretic: Simon Magus

Drown Unbound – Dispatch from Chicago: Applying for NEH Seminars

Impressions of the ISHS 2014 Conference

Drown Unbound – A Few Humble Observations about Conference Abstracts Part II

Drown Unbound – A Few Humble Observations about Conference Abstracts Part I


The New Yinzer – Salvatore Pane’s “Last Call in the City of Bridges”

On the Need for a Society for Heresy Studies


The Revealer – Unfit for Heaven and Earth