Spreading the Gospel in Colonial Virginia: Preaching Religion and Community: With Selected Sermons and Other Primary Documents

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Due to a perceived lack of resources, historians of colonial-era Virginia have generally heaped their attention on regional politics and virtually ignored the area's rich religious history. Even at a time of revived interest in Virginia's religious atmosphere, few scholars have opted to examine what is perhaps one of the region's most valuable primary resources: sermon literature. Edward L. Bond offers a reappraisal of religion's place in the colonies, fully chronicling as well as contextualizing the practice of religion and church activities in early America. He explains the inextricable ties between religious life and community life, setting the stage for sermons and original documents that color in a vibrant picture of life in the Virginia colony. The sermons appear as they do in the original, with all notes and marginalia intact. Bond's own notes provide definitions of obscure words and terms, explanations of arcane allusions, and references for unattributed citations. His commentary vastly enriches our appreciation not only of the texts, but also of their writers and the important role these clergymen played in shaping the young nation. Spreading the Gospel in Colonial Virginia is fascinating reading for armchair and professional historians alike, and is an ideal teaching tool for courses in early American history.

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Editorial Reviews

Anglican and Episcopal History
The book is really excellent and recommended to anyone with an interest in religion in colonial America.
Nelson D. Lankford
Ed Bond is one of the few historians of the rising generation to focus on the significance of religion in the Virginia Colony. In recent decades, though, this subject has not only been neglected as a subject of study, its place in formulating a full understanding of Virginia society, in all its complexity, has also been widely ignored. This book will begin to correct that imbalance. The breadth of documents included in the text will give students of early America access to primary materials that will enable them to understand Virginia more fully than is presently possible. Ed bond makes a much-needed step to correct the curious neglect of the study of religion that characterizes modern Virginia scholarship.
Thad Tate
Ed Bond's work will accomplish a number of things. This volume will make an important and unfamiliar body of sources much more readily available and considerably revise our understanding of the force of religion in the Virginia colony, where religious belief and practice has usually been perceived as rather lackadaisical. The volume will almost call attention as well to the richness of the Colonial Williamsburg manuscript and rare book collections in the area of religion.
Joan R. Gundersen
Ed Bond's chapter on the history of the church in Virginia will become the best piece of scholarship on the subject. I am very impressed.
Warren M. Billings
A much-needed addition to the literature of colonial Virginia religious history. Bond's selection of documents illuminates the richness of still largely un-expolited sources for understanding the practice of piety in the Old Dominion. The introductory chapter is the most succinct treatment of the subject anywhere, and it alone is worth the price of admission.
Elizabeth Bailey
Professor Bond's book,Spreading the Gospel in Colonial Virginia: Preaching Religion and Community is an extremely well-researched and scholarly work on the role of the church, especially Anglicanism, in that society. While intellectual in its thesis, it is eminently readable by anyone interested in colonial Virginia, and has anecdotes to entice scholars to pursue this topic further.
Thomas E. Buckley
In assembling this fine collection of sermons and other primary source documents, Ed Bond has provided a treasure for teachers and students of colonial religious history. There is nothing like this in print for the southern colonies. This invaluable collection of previously unpublished sermons and other documents bearing on colonial religion demonstrates the religious diversity within the colonial South as well as the theological ability and pastoral acumen of its religious leadership.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739107218
  • Publisher: Lexington Books
  • Publication date: 1/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.82 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Meet the Author

Edward Bond is Associate Professor of History at Alabama A&M University.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Introduction Chapter 2 A Brief History of Religion in Colonial Virginia Part 3 Documents Chapter 4 John Page: A Deed of Gift to My Dear Son Chapter 5 James Blair: Our Saviour's Divine Sermon on the Mount Chapter 6 James Maury Chapter 7 Samuel Davies Chapter 8 Thomas Bacon: Second Sermon on Colossians 4:1 Chapter 9 William Dawson: A Christmas Sermon Chapter 10 William Stith: The Nature and Extent of Christ's Redemption Chapter 11 Charles Clay: Sermon on Canticles 2:13 Chapter 12 The Baptist Perspective

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