America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln

America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln

by Mark A. Noll
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195151119

ISBN-13: 9780195151114

Pub. Date: 10/03/2002

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Religious life in early America is often equated with the fire-and-brimstone Puritanism best embodied by the theology of Cotton Mather. Yet, by the nineteenth century, American theology had shifted dramatically away from the severe European traditions directly descended from the Protestant Reformation, of which Puritanism was in the United States the most influential.…  See more details below

Overview

Religious life in early America is often equated with the fire-and-brimstone Puritanism best embodied by the theology of Cotton Mather. Yet, by the nineteenth century, American theology had shifted dramatically away from the severe European traditions directly descended from the Protestant Reformation, of which Puritanism was in the United States the most influential. In its place arose a singularly American set of beliefs. In America's God, Mark Noll has written a biography of this new American ethos. In the 125 years preceding the outbreak of the Civil War, theology played an extraordinarily important role in American public and private life. Its evolution had a profound impact on America's self-definition. The changes taking place in American theology during this period were marked by heightened spiritual inwardness, a new confidence in individual reason, and an attentiveness to the economic and market realities of Western life. Vividly set in the social and political events of the age, America's God is replete with the figures who made up the early American intellectual landscape, from theologians such as Jonathan Edwards, Nathaniel W. Taylor, William Ellery Channing, and Charles Hodge and religiously inspired writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe and Catherine Stowe to dominant political leaders of the day like Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln. The contributions of these thinkers combined with the religious revival of the 1740s, colonial warfare with France, the consuming struggle for independence, and the rise of evangelical Protestantism to form a common intellectual coinage based on a rising republicanism and commonsense principles. As this Christian republicanism affirmeditself, it imbued in dedicated Christians a conviction that the Bible supported their beliefs over those of all others. Tragically, this sense of religious purpose set the stage for the Civil War, as the conviction of Christians both North and South that God was on their side served to deepen a schism that would soon rend the young nation asunder. Mark Noll has given us the definitive history of Christian theology in America from the time of Jonathan Edwards to the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. It is a story of a flexible and creative theological energy that over time forged a guiding national ideology the legacies of which remain with us to this day.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195151114
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
10/03/2002
Pages:
640
Product dimensions:
9.50(w) x 6.38(h) x 1.70(d)

Table of Contents

List of Tables
IIntroductory
1Introduction: Theology and History3
2Theology in Colonial America19
3The Long Life and Final Collapse of the Puritan Canopy31
IISynthesis
4Republicanism and Religion: The American Exception53
5Christian Republicanism73
6Theistic Common Sense93
7Colonial Theologies in the Era of the Revolution114
8Innovative (but Not "American") Theologies in the Era of the Revolution138
IIIEvangelization
9The Evangelical Surge ...161
10... and Constructing a New Nation187
11Ideological Permutations209
IVAmericanization
12Assumptions and Assertions of American Theology227
13The Americanization of Calvinism: Contexts and Questions253
14The Americanization of Calvinism: The Congregational Era, 1793-1827269
15The Americanization of Calvinism: Explosion, 1827-1860293
16The Americanization of Methodism: The Age of Asbury330
17The Americanization of Methodism: After Asbury346
VCrisis
18The "Bible Alone" and a Reformed, Literal Hermeneutic367
19The Bible and Slavery386
20Failed Alternatives402
21Climax and Exhaustion in the Civil War422
22Conclusion: Contexts and Dogma439
AppHistoriography of Republicanism and Religion447
Notes453
Glossary563
Select Bibliography569
Index603

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