Reading Evangelicals by News Editor of Christianity Today and author Scott Peck traces how popular Christian fiction has helped define evangelical culture and identity over time, specifically with books like Left Behind, This Present Darkness and Love Come Softly as examples.
Silliman attempts to play catch-up in historiography but is ultimately left disappointed. Still, he has discovered more details on evangelicalism than any historian before him.
Early Life and Education
Daniel Silliman is an American composer, improviser, and electronic musician who uses experimental notation and tuning systems as well as instruments he designs himself to compose music. His performances have taken place worldwide at venues including Carnegie Hall, Palacio de Bellas Artes, NyMusikk Bergen, The Kitchen and Studio LOOS.
He has served as both writer and editor at various publications, such as Clayton News-Daily and The New York Times. Currently he co-edits online magazine The Awl.
He is the author of Reading Evangelicals: How Christian Fiction Shaped a Culture and Faith, wherein he examines the cultural impact of five popular evangelical novels: Love Comes Softly, This Present Darkness, Left Behind, The Shunning, and The Shack. This study asserts that evangelical identity may have less to do with politics and theology but more so with what books people read.
Silliman is an internationally acclaimed composer, musician, tool builder, and writer whose work spans across genres. His music can be heard around the world in concert halls as well as released on numerous CDs; his collaborations include RAGE Thormbones (Matt Barbier & Weston Olencki), Popebama Sax & Percussion Duo Popebama Sax & Percussion Duo Popebama Popebama Sax & Percussion Duo Popebama New York Youth Symphony as well as violinist Clara Kim.
He is also a journalist and historian, having published on the history of evangelical fiction. As news editor for Christianity Today and with a PhD from Heidelberg University in Germany, he taught American history and humanities courses at Milligan University and Valparaiso University before being chosen as Lilly Fellow at Valparaiso.
Achievement and Honors
Daniel Silliman was an eminent writer and journalist who served as editor of the Clayton News-Daily in Georgia. Additionally, he wrote for Columbian, American Antiquarian Society and Liberian Colonialization Movement; also advocating against slavery while championing colonization for free blacks in Liberia. Yale University named their college after him along with mineral sillimanite.
Silliman has performed and presented experimental music at various locations in the US, such as Carnegie Hall, The Kitchen, nyMusikk Bergen in Norway and Studio LOOS in Netherlands. In 2015 he was one of seven composers selected to participate in CULTIVATE at Copland House New York – an annual composition institute.
He is a previous recipient of the Coblentz-Silliman Leadership Prize, presented annually to graduating students who have shown exceptional leadership both on campus and in the community, as well as shown strong character that models both school pride and personal humility all while excelling academically. In addition to that honor, he has won multiple departmental book prizes.
Daniel Silliman is an American historian specializing in religion and culture. He currently serves as news editor for Christianity Today and teaches history and humanities at Milligan University. Daniel holds both an MA from Tubingen University in Germany as well as a doctorate from Heidelberg University; additionally, he has written extensively about evangelical fiction history for several publications such as Christianity Today and Washington Post.
His new book Reading Evangelicals explores how five popular Christian novels from the 1970s to today have helped shape evangelical identity: Janette Oke’s Love Comes Softly, Frank Peretti’s This Present Darkness, Tim LaHaye & Jerry Jenkins’ Left Behind and Beverly Lewis Shunning. These novels serve as vehicles for exploring religious, cultural and commercial forces at work within evangelicalism.
He currently resides in New York City.
As of 2020, his net worth has reached $7 Million. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Directors at Verizon Communications Inc and his net worth hovers around this figure as well. As a composer and curator of experimental music in all forms, his work employs improvisation, experimental notation and tuning systems as well as custom electronic instruments designed by himself to explore both space as an abstraction from time and as physical entity – using long durations, resonant chords, walls of noise to depict both outer space as well as human thought processes within.
Reading Evangelicals by Silliman illustrates how five top-selling evangelical novels from the past 50 years have contributed to shaping evangelical perceptions of reality – an evangelical world where romantic love intersects with divine love and an ongoing war between angels and demons rages across material existence. His thoughtful reflections and rich historical detail will generate engaging conversations even among readers who may never have read any of these works themselves.