Book Note: “Walzer, ‘In God’s Shadow: Politics in the Hebrew Bible’”
Michael Walzer, In God’s Shadow: Politics in the Hebrew Bible. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012.

In this eagerly awaited book, political theorist Michael Walzer reports his findings after decades of thinking about the politics of the Hebrew Bible. Attentive to nuance while engagingly straightforward, Walzer examines the laws, the histories, the prophecies, and the wisdom of the ancient biblical writers and discusses their views on such central political questions as justice, hierarchy, war, the authority of kings and priests, and the experience of exile.

Working Paper: “Entrepreneurship and Urban Growth: An Empirical Assessment with Historical Mines”
Edward L. Glaeser, Sari Pekkala Kerr, and William R. Kerr, HBS Working Paper 13-015 (PDF)

Does entrepreneurship cause urban growth? Economists and policymakers often argue yes, but it is remarkable how little is known about what lies behind this relationship. This paper investigates the connection more closely using a link between historical mineral and coal deposits and modern entrepreneurship observed in US cities today. Because the process of bringing ores out of the earth is a capital-intensive operation that often benefits from large-scale operations, cities with a historical abundance of nearby mineral and coal mines developed industrial structures with systematically larger establishments and less entrepreneurship. These early industrial traits persisted long after the initial conditions faded through intergenerational transmissions, path dependency, and similar.

Conference: “Immigration and Entrepreneurship: An Interdisciplinary Conference”

The Center for the History of the New America (University of Maryland, College Park), the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (University of Maryland, College Park), the Robert H. Smith School of Business (University of Maryland, College Park), and the German Historical Institute are sponsoring an event titled “Immigration and Entrepreneurship: An Interdisciplinary Conference.” This conference will take place in College Park, MD, and Washington, D.C. on September 13 and 14, 2012.

Call for Panel: “William Blackstone: Intersections between Law and Culture”

Readers of William Blackstone‘s Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765-69), both in the eighteenth century and beyond, and throughout Britain, its empire and America. Nonetheless, Blackstone‘s other ventures, as a historian, as a literary writer, even as a legal writer, have been largely neglected. Building on the recent renaissance in Blackstone studies—most notably, Wilfrid Prest‘s biography, William Blackstone: Law and Letters in the Eighteenth Century (2008), his edited collection, Blackstone and his Commentaries: Biography, Law, History (2009), and his edition of Blackstone‘s correspondence, The Letters of Sir William Blackstone, 1744-1780 (2006)—this panel seeks presentations that address any aspect of Blackstone‘s career, writings or life.

Article: “The Covenant Terminology of Johannes Cocceius”
Brian J. Lee, “The Covenant Terminology of Johannes Cocceius: The Use of Foedus, Pactum, and Testamentum in a Mature Federal Theologian,” Mid-America Journal of Theology 14 (2003): 11-36.

One obstacle to understanding the federal theology of Johannes Cocceius (1603–1669)—and by extension, that of other mature
federal theologians in the mid-seventeenth century—is his distinctive use of a semi-technical, Latin terminology of the covenants. I say “semi-technical” because while Cocceius employed terms with a precise, technical sense, he did not presume broad agreement with his particular usage. Indeed, he regularly defined and defended it against both opponents and Reformed brethren. While Cocceius’s terminology may not, therefore, reflect a commonly held Reformed orthodox position, it does reflect a universal growth in the precision and complexity of explanations pertaining to the history of biblical covenants.