America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln / Edition 1

America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln / Edition 1

by Mark A. Noll
Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press


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America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln / Edition 1

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 affirmed itself, 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195182996
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 04/21/2005
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 640
Sales rank: 1,271,187
Product dimensions: 9.00(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.70(d)

Table of Contents

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

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