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Three Faculty Pen Books

Three Faculty Pen Books

Three Tennessee Wesleyan University faculty members have penned books that are now in major retailers. In a recent book signing event held in the Merner-Pfeiffer Library on campus, the authors gave a synopsis of each writing as well as inspiration behind the writings. 

Dangerous Innocence (Amazon)
by Dr. William P. Murray

Dangerous Innocence investigates how prevailing constructions of white masculinity in the U.S. South help feed and reinforce systems of racial inequity. Tracing the rise of the “southern outsider” in literature and on television from 1960 to 2020, William P. Murray probes white Americans’ enduring desire to assert their own blamelessness even though such acts of self-justification facilitate continued violence against historically oppressed populations. Dangerous Innocence courses from popular television such as The Andy Griffith Show and The Waltons through influential fiction by Eudora Welty, Walker Percy, and other prominent southern authors—alongside forceful challenges voiced by Black writers including Chester Himes and Ernest Gaines—before turning to works created after the September 11 attacks that reinscribe cultural logics predicated on protecting white innocence and power.

Concluding on a note of praxis, Dangerous Innocence argues that reattaching southern outsiders to a communal identity encourages an honest assessment about what whiteness represents and what it means to belong to a nation steeped in commitments to white supremacy.

Going to Hell to Get the Devil (Amazon)
by Dr. J. Christopher Schutz

The 1968 burning of the Lazy B Stables in Charlotte, North Carolina, attracted little notice beyond coverage in local media. By the mid-1970s, however, the fire had become the center of a contentious and dubious arson case against a trio of Black civil rights activists, who became known as the “Charlotte Three.” The charges against the men garnered interest from federal law enforcement agents, investigative journalists― including one who later earned a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the trials―numerous New Left and Black Power activists, and Amnesty International, which declared the defendants “political prisoners.” In Going to Hell to Get the Devil, J. Christopher Schutz offers the first comprehensive examination of this controversial case and its outcome.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Charlotte’s leaders sought to portray their home as a placid, business-friendly, and racially moderate community. When New Left and Black Power activists threatened that stability, city leaders employed a variety of means to silence them, including the use of law enforcement against African Americans they deemed too zealous. In the Charlotte Three case, prosecutors paid prisoners for testimony against the Black activists on trial, resulting in their convictions with lengthy prison sentences. The unwanted publicity surrounding the case of the Charlotte Three became a critical pivot point in the Queen City’s post–World War II trajectory.

Going to Hell to Get the Devil tells more than the story of an arson case; it also tells the story of the South’s future, as the fate of the Charlotte Three became emblematic of the decline of the African American freedom struggle and the causes it championed.

Recognition and the Resurrection Appearances of Luke 24 (Amazon)
by Dr. Alexander P. Thompson

How are the resurrection appearances of Luke’s Gospel shaped to offer a climax to the narrative? How does this narrative conclusion compare to the wider ancient literary milieu? Recognition and the Resurrection Appearances of Luke 24 proposes that the ancient literary technique of recognition offers a compelling lens through which to understand the climatic role of the resurrection appearances of Jesus as depicted in Luke 24.
After presenting the development of recognition in ancient Jewish and Greco-Roman literature, Thompson demonstrates how Luke 24 deploys the recognition tradition to shape the form and function of the resurrection appearances. The ancient recognition tradition not only casts light on various literary and theological features of the chapter but also shapes the way the appearances function in the wider narrative. By utilizing recognition, Luke 24 generates cognitive, affective, commissive, and hermeneutical functions for the characters internal to the narrative and for the audience. The result is a compelling climax to Luke’s Gospel that resonates with Luke’s wider literary and theological themes.
This work offers a compelling analysis of the Luke’s Gospel in the ancient literary context in light of the ancient technique of recognition that will appeal to those interested in narrative approaches to the New Testament or the interpretation of the New Testament in the wider literary milieu.