EHA scholars recognised
Congratulations to Dr Meredith Lake, winner of the 2019 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Australian History and the 2019 NSW Premier's Australian History Prize and the 2018 Australian Christian Book of the Year. Congratulations also to Dr Laura Rademaker for her shortlisting the 2019 NSW Premiers Australian History Prize, and to Dr Stuart Piggin and Dr Robert D Linder, winners of the 2019 Australian Christian Book of the Year.
The Bible is everywhere in the history of Australia since British settlement – ‘under Australian skin’, as Meredith Lake eloquently puts it – yet The Bible in Australia is the first occasion on which an historian has placed it in the foreground as a subject in its own right. As ancient and modern, sacred and secular, ‘the Word of God’ for some and yet composite and fluid, the Bible is interwoven with the diversity and complexity of Australian life.
Far from the preserve of the devoutly Christian, the Bible has been and remains meaningful for many who do not profess religious faith. The Bible is also there in politics, literature and art, in the colonisation of Indigenous people as well as their resistance, and it is an ingredient of popular culture. This deeply researched, highly accessible book helps us to see familiar aspects of the past in startlingly new ways while introducing readers to a fresh cast of characters.
Found in Translation explores the Anindilyakwa people’s interactions with Christian missionaries on Groote Eylandt in the mid-1900s. Laura Rademaker demonstrates how members of the Church Missionary Society sought to change these north Australian people’s beliefs by teaching them English and translating the Bible into their language – and changed themselves in the process. While demonstrating the missionaries’ impact, Rademaker also shows how the Anindilyakwa exploited their movement between languages, using creative interpretations and mis-translations to assert agency.
Functioning both as a metaphor and a focus for concrete historical investigation, Rademaker’s interest in translation proves an inspired choice. While delving into the specifics of intercultural contact on Groote Eylandt, this generous interdisciplinary work thoughtfully illuminates wider themes. Readers will learn about the history of missions, mid-century assimilation policy, the phenomenon of settler colonialism and an Indigenous people’s efforts to negotiate its impact – all while appreciating Rademaker’s dazzling use of oral history and glowing prose.
‘…an epic achievement which deserves to reorient Australian history-writing in several important respects.’ Church Heritage Volume 21, no.1
‘…this is a very valuable work and should be read by every Catholic historian to balance any isolationism and reliance onthe stereotypes that may remain in our approach. It is a veritable lode for mining.’
Michael Belcher, Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society
‘Stuart Piggin and Bob Linder have produced a monumental history of evangelical Christianity in Australia … After this landmark book, it will no longer be possible to dismiss or minimise the influence of religion on the rise and development of modern Australia.’ Dr Geoff Treloar,
Australian College of Theology
‘[The authors] have written one of the great works of Australian history, not to mention one of the great studies of evangelicalism globally.’
Dr Meredith Lake, University of Sydney
‘It resonates significantly with current discussions about the character of our society. It is a masterwork of Australian history.’ Dr Brian Dickey, formerly Flinders University
‘…a meticulous, magisterial work of scholarship’ Roy Williams