Interpreting Judeo-Christianity in America
Since Mark Silk's article "Notes on the Judeo-Christian Tradition in America" appeared in 1984, historians have extended, and in certain respects modified, his analysis. Silk argued that the term emerged from the antifascist initiatives of the late 1930s and rose to prominence during World War II, becoming a mainstay of postwar American public culture before falling into disrepute in the early 1970s. Subsequent interpreters have traced the emergence of Judeo-Christian terminology in specific local contexts, but no one has followed Silk in examining the discourse in its entirety or acknowledging the political tensions within it. This piece surveys the historical scholarship on the idea of America as a Judeo-Christian nation.