Taylor, Mark Lewis 1951- (Mark Kline Taylor)

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Taylor, Mark Lewis 1951- (Mark Kline Taylor)

PERSONAL:

Born February 3, 1951. Education: Union Theological Seminary, M.Div.; University of Chicago, Ph.D. Religion: Presbyterian.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Princeton Theological Seminary, P.O. Box 821, 64 Mercer St., Princeton, NJ 08542-0803. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ, Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Theology and Culture.

WRITINGS:

AS MARK KLINE TAYLOR

Beyond Explanation: Religious Dimensions in Cultural Anthropology, Mercer (Macon, GA), 1986.

Paul Tillich: Theologian of the Boundaries, Collins (San Francisco, CA), 1987.

Remembering Esperanza: A Cultural-Political Theology for North American Praxis, Orbis Books (Maryknoll, NY), 1990.

AS MARK LEWIS TAYLOR

(Editor, with Rebecca S. Chopp) Reconstructing Christian Theology, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 1994.

The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2001.

Religion, Politics, and the Christian Right: Post-9/11 Powers and American Empire, Fortress Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2005.

SIDELIGHTS:

Mark Lewis Taylor is a writer and minister in the Presbyterian Church. He graduated from the Union Theological Seminary in Virginia, where he earned his master's degree in divinity, and then went on to earn his doctorate at the University of Chicago. He serves on the faculty of the Princeton Theological Seminary, where he is the Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Theology and Culture. In addition, he often lectures and teaches at churches and church functions, primarily regarding efforts to promote peace and justice. He has spent extensive time in Guatemala and in Chiapas, Mexico, where religion is an offshoot of early Mayan culture and theology.

Taylor has written a number of works, both under the name Mark Lewis Taylor, and earlier as Mark Kline Taylor, including Beyond Explanation: Religious Dimensions in Cultural Anthropology, Remembering Esperanza: A Cultural-Political Theology for North American Praxis, The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America, and Religion, Politics, and the Christian Right: Post-9/11 Powers and American Empire. In The Executed God, Taylor analyzes the American criminal justice system and whether or not the means that system employs in the protection of society and the treatment of those considered to be criminals is ethical. He discusses the prison system, but also looks at the quasimilitary approach that is taken in many institutions or areas where the people present are considered to be at high risk for becoming criminals, such as lower income neighborhoods or schools, and those that are heavily populated by minorities. Taylor addresses the question of whether there is equal treatment for minorities under the law, and also looks at the increased acceptance of the use of the death penalty for certain crimes. He then goes on to discuss different, more Christian approaches to these issues. Scott D. Seay, in a review for the Journal of Church and State, commented: "Taylor's description of lockdown America is right on target," but went on to add: "I remain unconvinced that the politics of radical activism of the variety Taylor champions is the only ‘Christian’ response to lockdown America," noting other suggested reforms from Christian organizations. Barbara M. Sadtler, reviewing for Interpretation, found the work interesting, but inapplicable for those who are truly in need of assistance, stating: "It would provide only tangential help to those developing pastoral ministries within prisons or with the families of inmates." However, in a review for the Christian Century, William Vance Trollinger, Jr., found Taylor's work to be "more than a lament or indictment." He dubbed it "a call to action."

Religion, Politics, and the Christian Right addresses the George W. Bush administration, particularly in the wake of the events of 9/11, and examines how typical religious theologies have been combined and twisted in the name of political, economic, and military strategies. While the ideas of American exceptionalism and manifest destiny have long been credited with providing Americans with a sense of superiority and divine purpose, Taylor claims that the Christian Right has thrust these concepts into the bedrock of the way the nation is run, giving them priority over democratic principles as laid down in the Constitution. The terrorist attacks of September 11th, with their bloody strike at both the heart of American identity and American capitalism, served as a rallying point for the Bush administration, Taylor argued, as well as an excuse to follow other agendas. In a review for the Journal of Church and State, Fritz Detwier commented of Taylor's effort: "For all people who care about American civic virtues, it is an alarming book that lays bare the deeper ideology behind the Bush presidency. It should be part of a needed public discourse about those virtues and the future of the American nation."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Choice, January, 2002, R.L. Herrick, review of The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America, p. 898.

Christian Century, June 20, 2001, William Vance Trollinger, Jr., review of The Executed God, p. 24.

Interpretation, July, 2002, Barbara M. Sadtler, review of The Executed God, p. 344.

Journal of Church and State, winter, 2002, Scott D. Sealy, review of The Executed God, p. 180; winter, 2006, Fritz Detwiler, review of Religion, Politics, and the Christian Right: Post-9/11 Powers and American Empire, p. 231.

Journal of Religion, January, 2006, Matthew Myer Boulton, review of The Executed God, p. 130.

Other Side, July, 2001, review of The Executed God, p. 12.

Publishers Weekly, April 9, 2001, review of The Executed God, p. 72.

Sojourners Magazine, July, 2001, David Whettstone, review of The Executed God, p. 61.

Tikkun, July 1, 2006, "Pluralism Ain't as Easy as It Looks," p. 71.

ONLINE

Princeton Theological Seminary Web site,http://www.ptsem.edu/ (February 3, 2008), faculty profile.

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