Harnessing Chaos

9780567669599Crossley’s book has been available in the U.K. since last year. The U.S. release date is January 28, 2016, and contains updates and expansions. I hope to review it in February.

“Harnessing Chaos is an explanation of changes in dominant politicized assumptions about what the Bible ‘really means’ in English culture since the 1960s. James G. Crossley looks at how the social upheavals of the 1960s, and the economic shift from the post-war dominance of Keynesianism to the post-1970s dominance of neoliberalism, brought about certain emphases and nuances in the ways in which the Bible is popularly understood, particularly in relation to dominant political ideas. This book examines the decline of politically radical biblical interpretation in parliamentary politics and the victory of (a modified form of) Margaret Thatcher’s re-reading of the liberal Bible tradition, following the normalisation of (a modified form of) Thatcherism more generally.

“The new paperback edition features an additional chapter on some of the remarkable and unexpected uses of the Bible that have arisen since first publication of the book in 2014. These include: David Cameron giving a number of key speeches which intensified Thatcher’s Bible, especially in relation to his government’s decisions regarding foodbanks, austerity and ISIS; Ed Miliband engaging with Russell Brand’s Radical Bible; and the non-predicted emergence of Jeremy Corbyn and his use of the Radical Bible. These developments are all vital to understanding the fate of the Bible in contemporary English politics, and Crossley’s original conclusion musing on why politicians use the Bible at all is here expanded and revised to incorporate the new changes in the past eighteen months.”

Table Of Contents

Preface to the 2016 Edition

Chapter 1: ‘Chaos is a Ladder’: A Reception History of the Bible in English Politics

Part I: Experiencing Defeat
Chapter 2: Christopher Hill’s World Turned Upside Down
Chapter 3: This Was England: The Similitudes of Enoch Powell

Part II: Thatcherism and the Harnessing of Chaos
Chapter 4: ‘Your Arms Are Just Too Short to Box with God’: Margaret Thatcher’s Neoliberal Bible

Part III: Carriers of Cultural Change
Chapter 5: ‘We’re All Individuals’: When Life of Brian Collided with Thatcherism
Chapter 6: Saving Margaret from the Guillotine: Independent Music in Manchester from the Rise of Thatcher to the Rise of Blair

Part IV: From Thatcher’s Legacy to Blair’s Legacy
Chapter 7: Your Own Personal Judas: The Rehabilitation of Jeffrey Archer
Chapter 8: 45 Minutes from Doom! Tony Blair and the Radical Bible Rebranded
Chapter 9: The Gove Bible versus the Occupy Bible
Chapter 10: Russell Brand, Jeremy Corbyn, and the Radical Bible

Conclusion: Why Do Politicians Bother with the Bible?
Postscript (2016): Harnessing Chaos, Again: David Cameron, Russell Brand, Jeremy Corbyn


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