Chris Beneke

  • Professor, History
  • Affiliated Scholar, Faith and Liberty Discovery Center
  • Series Editor, Lexington Books
  • Director, Academic Integrity
  • Editorial Board Member, Fides et Historia
  • Ph.D. Northwestern University
  • BA Cornell University

Teaching Interests

Baseball History; History of American Sports; The American Revolution;
American Thought;
The American Religious Experience;
The Early Republic;
Colonial North America

Research Interests

American Religious History; History of Religious Toleration;
Baseball and American History;
American Intellectual History;
Colonial North America;
History of Integration in the United States;
History of Education in the United States

Bio

Primary interests include revolutionary and early national America, intellectual history, religious history, the history of toleration, and baseball history. Author of Beyond Toleration: The Religious Origins of American Pluralism (Oxford, 2006). Co-editor of The First Prejudice: Religious Tolerance and Intolerance in Early America (UPenn, 2011), Profane: Sacrilegious Expression in a Multicultural Age (University of California, 2014), and The Lively Experiment: Religious Toleration in America from Roger Williams to the Present (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015). Current research focuses on the history of the First Amendment's religious clauses and writing a short history of religious tolerance and intolerance in the United States. He has written essays on politics, religion, and sports for The New Republic, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Huffington Post, and The Christian Century. He is co-editor of a Lexington book series on religion and American history. When he’s not teaching, he coaches youth sports. Mainly baseball.

Professional Links

Professional Memberships

  • The Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Present
  • Colonial Society of Massachusetts 2011 - Present
  • Conference on Faith and History 2010 - Present
  • American Historical Assocation 2019 - 2020
  • Awards and Honors

  • 2016, Top 25 Academic Title, Choice Magazine
  • 2008, Outstanding Scholarly Contribution Award, Bentley University
  • Publications

    Journal Articles


  • Beneke, C. J. (2021). A European Turn in Early American History?: A Discussion of Evan Haefeli's Accidental Pluralism: America and the Religious Politics of English Expansion, 1497-1662. Early American History. 11-18. (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2015). The Myth of American Religious Coercion. Common-place. (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2015). When Blasphemy Goes Viral. The New Republic. (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2014). Is Religion Losing Ground to Sports?. Washington Post. (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2014). What Kind of Prejudice was Anti-Mormonism?. Mormon Studies Review. Vol. 2 75-85.
  • Beneke, C. J. (2013). Why Kids Are Losing Interest in Baseball. The Atlantic. (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2013). Why Republicans and Academics Need Each Other. The Chronicle of Higher Education. (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2012). "Not by Force or Violence”: Religious Violence, Anti-Catholicism, and Rights of Conscience in the Early National U.S.. Journal of Church and State, (54) 1 5-32. (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2012). Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and the Most Racially Divisive Position in Sports. Huffington Post. (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J., Stephens, R. J. (2012). Lies the Debunkers Told Me: How Bad History Books Win Us Over. The Atlantic. (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J., Fea, J. (2012). The New Religious Test. Philadelphia Inquirer. (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2011). War's Providence (Essay Review). Fides et Historia. November
  • Beneke, C. J. (2010). The Free Market and the Founders' Approach to Church-State Relations. Journal of Church and State, (52) 2 323-352. (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2009). America's Whiggish Religious Revolution: An Instance in the Progress of History. Historically Speaking, (10) 3 31-35. (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2008). The Critical Turn: Jonathan Mayhew, the British Empire, and the Idea of Resistance in Mid-Eighteenth-Century Boston. Massachusetts Historical Review, (10) 23-56. (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2006). "Mingle with Us": Religious Integration in Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century American Education. American Educational History Journal, (33) 1 29-37.
  • Beneke, C. J. (2005). The New, New Political History. Reviews in American History, (33) 3 314-324. (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2003). Economy of Faith. Reviews in American History, (31) 4 528-537. (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2001). America's Liberal Education. Reviews in American History, (29) 3 338-345. (Link)

    Books


  • Beneke, C. J. (2015). The Lively Experiment: Religious Toleration in America from Roger Williams to the Present. Rowman & Littlefield (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2014). Profane: Sacrilegious Expression in a Multicultural Age. 365. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J., Grenda, C. S. (2010). The First Prejudice: Religious Tolerance and Intolerance in Early America. 416. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2008). Beyond Toleration: The Religious Origins of American Pluralism. 304. New York: Oxford University Press (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (). Free Exercise: The First Amendment and America's Moderate Religious Revolution. Forthcoming.

  • Book Chapters


  • Beneke, C. J. (2019). The Historical Context of the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment In Michael Breidenbach and Owen Anderson, (Eds.) The Cambridge Companion to the First Amendment and Religious Liberty. 140-165. Cambridge University Press (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2013). Humankind will be your Business: The Study of the Past and the Future of Business Education In Daniel Everett, Gordon Hardy, (Eds.) The Future of Business Education . Palgrave
  • Beneke, C. J. (2010). The ‘Catholic spirit prevailing in our country’: America’s Moderate Religious Revolution In Chris Beneke and Christopher S. Grenda, (Eds.) The First Prejudice: Religious Tolerance and Intolerance in Early America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press
  • Beneke, C. J. (2010). Liberty and Civility: What Benjamin Franklin and George Washington Taught Us About Religious Peace In John Wade III, (Eds.) How to Achieve a Heaven on Earth. Pelican Publishing
  • Beneke, C. J. (2009). The Idea of Integration in the Age of Horace Mann In Debra Meyers and Burke Miller, (Eds.) Inequity in Education: A Historical Perspective. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books (Link)

  • Book Reviews


  • Beneke, C. (2020). [Review of the book Review of The Third Disestablishment: Church, State, and American Culture, 1940-1975 ]. Church History.
  • Beneke, C. J. (2019). [Review of the book Review of Pulpit and Nation: Clergymen and the Politics of Revolutionary America by Spencer W. McBride, and: John Witherspoon's American Revolution by Gideon Mailer ]. Journal of the Early Republic, (39) 1 (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2018). [Review of the book Review of Kenneth C. Barnes, Anti-Catholicism in Arkansas: How Politicians, the Press, the Klan, and Religious Leaders Imagined an Enemy, 1910–1960 ]. Journal of American History, (105) 1 (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2017). [Review of the book Review of Robert Emmett Curran, ed., Intestine Enemies: Catholics in Protestant America, 1605–1791, A Documentary History ]. U.S. Catholic Historian, (35) 3 (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2015). [Review of the book Review of Separation of Frank Lambert, Church and State: Founding Principle of Religious Liberty ]. Journal of Church and State, (57) 4 (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2014). [Review of the book The Farmers’ Game: Baseball in Rural America ]. Journal of Southern History.
  • Beneke, C. J. (2014). [Review of the book Defending American Religious Neutrality ]. Journal of Church and State. (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2013). [Review of the book New Netherland and the Dutch Origins of American Religious Liberty ]. Church History, (82) 4 (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2013). [Review of the book Review of The Spice of Popery: Converging Christianities on an Early American Frontier ]. Journal of American History. (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2012). [Review of the book From Jamestown to Jefferson: The Evolution of Religious Freedom in Virginia ]. Journal of Southern History. (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2012). [Review of the book Review of The Accidental Revolutionary: George Whitefield and the Creation of America ]. The Historian, (74) 4
  • Beneke, C. J. (2011). [Review of the book The Myth of American Religious Freedom by David Sehat ]. Journal of Church and State, (2011) Summer
  • Beneke, C. J. (2010). [Review of the book Religious Intolerance in America: A Documentary History by John Corrigan and Lynn S. Neal ]. Journal of Southern Religion, (XII) (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2009). [Review of the book Religion in American Politics: A Short History by Frank Lambert; and Moral Minority: Our Skeptical Founding Fathers by Brooke Allen ]. Journal of Southern History, (75) 3 (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2009). [Review of the book The Colonial American Origins of Modern Democratic Thought ]. American Historical Review.
  • Beneke, C. J. (2009). [Review of the book Preaching Politics: The Religious Rhetoric of George Whitefield and the Founding of a New Nation by Jerome Dean Mahaffey ]. Politics and Religion, (2) (Link)
  • Beneke, C. J. (2002). [Review of the book Natives and Newcomers: The Cultural Origins of North America by James Axtell ]. Journal of Interdisciplinary History.

  • Conference Papers


  • Beneke, C. J. (2010). ‘Not by Force or Violence’: The (Relative) Absence of Religious Violence and the American FoundingGeorge Washington Forum, Making Democracy: Violence, Politics, and the American Founding.

  • Other(s)


  • Beneke, C. (2020). Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and the Meaning of the First Amendment's Religious ClausesStarting Points Journal. (Link)
  • Presentations

  • Beneke, C. J. (2021). “Consensus and Congestion: Early Republican Protestants Navigating Church, State, and Corporations” Presented at the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Annual Meeting Virtual
  • Beneke, C. J. (2020). “Women and Religious Liberty in Early America” Presented at the American Historical Association Annual Meeting New York City
  • Beneke, C. J. (2019). “Invited comment on Brent Sirota paper "The Consecration of Samuel Seabury and the Crisis of Atlantic Episcopacy, 1782-1807"” Presented at the Massachusetts Historical Society Early American History Seminar
  • Beneke, C. J. (2018). “A Freedom to Exercise Religion: The Accidental Origins of a Constitutional Right” Presented at the Office of the Provost Constitution Day Southern Adventist University
  • Beneke, C. J. (2016). “Civil Evasions: Slavery, the Founders, and Rules of Religious Tolerance”
  • Beneke, C. J. (2016). “The Puritan Dilemma” Presented at the Society for United States Intellectual History Annual Meeting Stanford
  • Beneke, C. J. (2015). “What Did Religious Liberty Mean for Early American Women?” Presented at the American Historical Association Annual Meeting New York City
  • Beneke, C. J. (2014). “What is Free Exercise to the Slave?: The Case of the Missing Liberty” Presented at theLecture presented at the Lawrence H. Gipson Institute, Lehigh University
  • Beneke, C. J. (2014). “Free Exercise: The First Amendment, the Founders, and the Meaning of Religious Tolerance” Presented at the Sargent House Museum and the Unitarian-Universalist Church Gloucester, MA
  • Beneke, C. J. (2014). “The Myth of American Religious Coercion: Paradoxes of Establishment in the Early Republic” Presented at the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Annual Meeting Philadelphia
  • Beneke, C. J. (2014). “The Rise of African American Religion” Presented at theAfrican American History Month Lecture Trinity Christian University
  • Beneke, C. J. (2013). “Tom Paine’s Return: Free Exercise, Free Enquiry, and the Fate of Irreligious Expression in the New Nation” Presented at the Center for American Politics at Harvard University SPRING 2013 CAPS SEMINAR SERIES Harvard University
  • Beneke, C. J. (2013). “Everlasting Choice: The Un-Secular Path of American Religious Rights” Presented at the Radcliffe College, Harvard University Radcliffe Institute Seminar on Comparative Secularization
  • Beneke, C. J. (2013). “Tom Paine’s Return: Free Exercise, Free Enquiry, and the Fate of Irreligious Expression in the New Nation” Presented at the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Annual Meeting St. Louis
  • Beneke, C. J. (2013). “The Specter of Irreligion and the Character of Early National Rights ” Presented at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting Chicago
  • Beneke, C. J. (2012). “Paine's Return: Free Exercise, Free Expression and the Fate of Irreligion in the New Nation” Presented at the Boston American Religious History Seminar Monthly Seminar Boston University
  • Beneke, C. J. (2012). “Religion, the Constitution, and the Presidential Religious Test” Presented at the Northwood University Forum for Citizenship and Enterprise Lecture Midland, Michigan
  • Beneke, C. J. (2012). “Teaching American Religious History” Presented at the Boston College Conference on American Religious History Biennial Conference: Concluding Symposium Boston College
  • Beneke, C. J. (2012). “Comment. “People of God? The Role of Political Hebraism in America,”” Presented at the Southern Political Science Association Annual meeting of the Southern Political Science Association New Orleans
  • Beneke, C. J. (2012). “Interviewed by Professor Anthony Gill for Research on Religion (podcast)”
  • Beneke, C. J. (2011). “Comment. “Before the Know-Nothings: Anti-Catholicism in the Early Republic,” ” Presented at the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Annual meeting of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Philadelphia
  • Beneke, C. J. (2011). “Religious Violence and Religious Liberty in the Early National United States” Presented at the American Historical Association Annual Meeting Boston
  • Beneke, C. J. (2011). “Religious Intolerance in America (or Religious Intoleration in America)” Presented at the American Society of Church History Roundtable on Religious Intolerance in America Boston
  • Beneke, C. J. (2010). “Comment on “Considering Religious Liberty: Theological Conflict, Legal Transformations, International Context”” Presented at the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Annual Meeting of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic
  • Beneke, C. J. (2010). “The First Amendment’s Religious Clauses as Historical Event and Sociological Fact” Presented at the The Historical Society Biennial Meeting of The Historical Society Washington D.C.
  • Beneke, C. J. (2010). “Comment on “(Re)Interpreting the Bible in Early American Culture”” Presented at the Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting of the Organization of American Historians Washington D.C.
  • Beneke, C. J. (2010). “‘Not by Force or Violence’: The (Relative) Absence of Religious Violence and the American Founding” Presented at the George Washington Forum Making Democracy: Violence, Politics, and the American Founding Ohio University (Athens, Ohio)
  • Service

    Department Service


  • Committee Member for Co-chair, Department Promotion Evaluation Committee 2019 - 2019
  • Department Webmaster 2007 - 2016
  • Committee Chair for Minors Coordinator 2005 - 2006
  • University Service


  • Committee Chair for Promotion and Tenure Committee 2021 - Present
  • Task Force Chair for Task Force 5 2021 - Present
  • Task Force Member for NECHE Accreditation Team 2020 - Present
  • Task Force Chair for Task Force 4 2019 - Present
  • Committee Member for Promotion and Tenure Committee 2019 - Present
  • Coordinator for American Studies LSM 2013 - Present
  • Committee Member for LMS Evaluation--Administrative Group 2021 - 2021
  • Task Force Member for Ad-Hoc Group to Provide a Bridge to Bentley for HS Grads 2020 - 2020
  • Committee Member for Promotion Evaluation Committee, Philosophy Department Candidate 2019 - 2019
  • Committee Member for Dean of Business Search Committee 2018 - 2019
  • Undergraduate Curriculum Advisory Group 2018 - 2018
  • Committee Member for Promotion and Tenure Committee 2013 - 2016
  • Mentor (Faculty) for First-Year Advisor 2014 - 2015
  • Committee Member for ATC/Library Director Search Committee 2014 - 2014
  • Writer/Blogger for Impact Blog 2012 - 2013
  • Task Force Member for Shared Governance Task Force 2012 - 2012
  • Task Force Member for NEASC Accreditation Team 2012 - 2012
  • Committee Member for Center for Women in Business 2011 - 2012
  • Committee Member for Spiritual Life Advisory Board 2009 - 2012
  • Mentor (Faculty) for Bentley chapter of STAND, student anti-genocide network 2006 - 2011
  • Committee Member for EQUIS Task Force 2010 - 2011
  • Committee Member for Hoffman (ethics) Prize Committee 2008 - 2011
  • Committee Member for Academic Advising Advisory Board 2010 - 2010
  • Committee Member for Faculty Database (Digital Measures) Faculty Advisory Committee 2010 - 2010
  • Wilder (Teaching) Professors Steering Committee 2009 - 2010
  • Committee Member for Honor’s Council Advisory Board 2008 - 2010
  • Committee Member for Academic Integrity Advisory Council 2006 - 2010
  • Committee Member for Research Committee 2006 - 2010
  • Committee Member for Dean of Arts and Sciences Search Committee 2009 - 2010
  • Committee Member for President’s Inaugural Planning Committee 2007 - 2008
  • Committee Member for Faculty Senate Planning Committee 2006 - 2008
  • University Senate for Faculty Senate 2005 - 2008
  • Committee Member for Academic Integrity Board 2004 - 2008
  • Committee Member for Class Book Committee 2002 - 2008
  • Committee Member for Curriculum Committee 2005 - 2006
  • Committee Member for Student Affairs Committee 2004 - 2005
  • Professional Service


  • Editor, Book Series for Lexington Books, Religion in American History 2016 - Present
  • Editorial Review Board Member for Fides et Historia 2010 - Present
  • Reviewer, Journal Article for William and Mary Quarterly 2018 - 2018
  • Committee Member for Dissertation Committee, College of William and Mary 2017 - 2018
  • Reviewer, Book for Oxford University Press 2017 - 2017
  • Fellowship Review Panelist for National Endowment for the Humanities 2017 - 2017
  • Reviewer, Journal Article for Fusio 2017 - 2017
  • Reviewer, Journal Article for Massachusetts Historical Review 2017 - 2017
  • Reviewer, Ad Hoc Reviewer for History of Political Thought 2016 - 2016
  • Reviewer, Journal Article for Journal of the Early Republic 2013 - 2016
  • Reviewer, Ad Hoc Reviewer for Oxford University Press 2015 - 2015
  • Editorial Review Board Member for Journal of The Historical Society 2006 - 2014
  • Reviewer, Journal Article for New England Quarterly 2014 - 2014
  • Board of Governors Member for The Historical Society 2008 - 2014
  • Reviewer, Journal Article for William and Mary Quarterly 2014 - 2014
  • Reviewer, Journal Article for Journal of American History 2013 - 2013
  • Committee Member for Steering Committee, Spectacle of Toleration Conference and Regional Programming 2012 - 2013
  • Reviewer, Book for University of Massachusetts Press 2013 - 2013
  • Reviewer, Book for Oxford University Press 2013 - 2013
  • Reviewer, Journal Article for Journal of the Early Republic 2012 - 2012
  • Reviewer, Journal Article for Journal of Church and State 2012 - 2012
  • Reviewer, Grant Proposal for National Endowment for the Humanities 2012 - 2012
  • Committee Member for Long-term Fellowship Review Committee, Massachusetts Historical Society 2012 - 2012