Chavanne Prof. of Religion, Rice U.; Christianity & cultural pessimism; Ph.D., Yale History Dept.; influences: O. Spengler, E. Waugh.
John Stroup joined the Rice Religious Studies Department of 1988 as the Harry and Hazel Chavanne Professor after seven years leading a team-taught History of Christianity course at the Yale Divinity School. Beforehand in St. Louis, New Haven, and Göttingen he studied with J.G.A. Pocock, Arthur Carl Piepkorn, Jaroslav Pelikan, Peter Gay, Hans Frei, Jack Hexter, Steven Ozment, Rudolf Vierhaus, and Rudolf von Thadden. He has published on church-state relations in the German Enlightenment using Reinhart Koselleck’s approach to conceptual history, on the theological appropriation of Nietzsche and more by Emanuel Hirsch, and (with Glenn W. Shuck of Williams College as coauthor) on dark visions of the future in Fight Club and The X-Files. At present Stroup studies and writes about cultural pessimism and the ethics of community in spy and secret agent material. He first began reading Spengler’s Decline about a year before the Cuban missile crisis, under the influence of having watched the 1960 Playhouse 90 airing of Alas, Babylon’s version of nuclear war starting in Syria.