“What is the role of the scholar and the expert? Temperatures are rising along with the sea levels. Scientists are discovering the keys to reshaping human DNA. The rallying cry of 1930s American Nazis, “America first,” has been resurrected by the commander-in-chief of the most powerful military the world has ever known. The tweet, the video clip, and the lie can spread from our phones, unfiltered and unchecked, to become a global phenomenon within moments of creation. These stories, and these new and emerging means of communication, reflect the need for academic institutions to orient themselves, at least in part, around expanding access to expertise to the largest audience possible.”

Pacific Standard, 3/13/19

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“A Jewish Historian.”

“As writers and historians – one Jewish, one Catholic – we both find ourselves able to remember the crackle of burning pages and wonder at the beauty in the chapel. It’s in this duality – the messiness of real people who lived in the past – that we found the bright ages, illuminating our own study of the past.” 
As we moved towards the launch of our new book, the fine folks at BBC History reached out to us for an article (drawn from the book, but not an excerpt) and offered to record a podcast with us. The podcast is here, a 45 minute conversation about the book, and the article can be read online. We talk about the history we cover in the chapter on Louis IX, but also the fight over his statue in St. Louis, Missouri. And end with the sentences above.\
I think this is the first time in our writing together that we’ve explicitly said “One Jewish, one Catholic,” and identified ourselves by our faith traditions. It felt right with this chapter, about sacred beauty and sacred violence and the way they came together in the life of King Louis IX. It feels, for me, a bit vulnerable, especially this Sunday after the hostage taking in a Texas synagogue yesterday, but also all the more necessary.

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