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America's God : From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln - Mark A. Noll

America's God

From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln

Hardcover Published: 1st November 2002
ISBN: 9780195151114
Number Of Pages: 640

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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.

Industry Reviews

"Essential reading for anyone interested in American history, politics and religion."-- Themelios "America's God deserves to be hailed as the most comprehensive treatment of early American religious thought. But it is far more than that, since Mr. Noll is tracking here not only the rise and fall of American theology but also the genesis of American civilization...Mr. Noll laments the passing of Christian republicanism and in the end suggests that a dose of Jonathan Edwards ('the last of the Puritans and the first of the evangelicals') may be just what contemporary America needs. You do not have to agree with that assessment to appreciate this fine book, which brings some of the nation's greatest thinkers very much alive."--Wall Street Journal "Noll belongs to a talented group of historians who have transformed our understanding of American evangelicalism Among Noll's many great strengths (all on display in this immense work) is his comparative method, based on wide learning in Protestant sources worldwide."--Times Literary Supplement "Carefully documented and including an excellent bibliography, this insightful volume makes a useful contribution to the study of religion in America"--Library Journal "For academics-historians, theologians, and anyone else interested in the history of political thought, religion, philosophy, or theology-this book is essential reading"-- The Cresset Epiphany/Lent "Mark Noll's America's God delineates the Americanization of an Old World Protestantism with a breadth, learning, and sophistication unmatched by any other historian. Noll uncovers hidden, obscure figures even as he breathes new life into seemingly familiar names. Those who think intellectual history is dead or irrelevant will be jolted by the wondrous vigor of this exceptional, synoptic book. There's nothing else like it."--Jon Butler, author of Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People "Likely to remain definitive for years to come."--Anglican and Episcopal History "America's God is a richly rewarding work. Awesomely researched and beautifully written, Mark Noll's magisterial study embeds American religious thought from the late Colonial era through the Civil War in its cultural and political context. Not only historians of religion, but everyone interested in the ideas and beliefs that shaped America's past--and still remain potent today--will profit from this insightful interpretive study."--Paul S. Boyer, Editor-in-Chief, The Oxford Companion to United States History "Noll's book is the most comprehensive study of religious ideas in America that we have, and a work that makes the most sustained case for the impact of the spiritual on American public life. The book is original and well argued; and the research is impeccable. Some will not agree with Noll's arguments but everyone interested in religious thought will have to consider them."--Bruce Kuklick, author of A History of Philosophy in America: 1720-2000 "This 'social history of theology' in America, from the colonial era through the Civil War, promises to reshape the way we think about American religion, and, indeed, American history...Noll's trademark clarity--both in analysis and in prose--is in evidence here...Equally obvious is Noll's erudite mastery of everything from Puritan ecclesiology to Scottish moral philosophy. This is, finally, the magisterial work that has long been expected from one of our leading historians."--Publishers Weekly "A broadly based and solid account of the surprising evolution of Christian theology in America during the golden age of Protestant evangelicalism. Mark Noll's magnum opus is a notable achievement of Christian and historical scholarship."--Daniel Walker Howe, Rhodes Professor of American History, Oxford University "Essential reading for anyone interested in American history, politics and religion."-- Themelios "For academics-historians, theologians, and anyone else interested in the history of political thought, religion, philosophy, or theology-this book is essential reading"-- The Cresset Epiphany/Lent "America's God deserves to be hailed as the most comprehensive treatment of early American religious thought. But it is far more than that, since Mr. Noll is tracking here not only the rise and fall of American theology but also the genesis of American civilization...Mr. Noll laments the passing of Christian republicanism and in the end suggests that a dose of Jonathan Edwards ('the last of the Puritans and the first of the evangelicals') may be just what contemporary America needs. You do not have to agree with that assessment to appreciate this fine book, which brings some of the nation's greatest thinkers very much alive."--Wall Street Journal "Noll belongs to a talented group of historians who have transformed our understanding of American evangelicalism... Among Noll's many great strengths (all on display in this immense work) is his comparative method, based on wide learning in Protestant sources worldwide."--Times Literary Supplement "Magisterial"The Weekly Standard "Carefully documented and including an excellent bibliography, this insightful volume makes a useful contribution to the study of religion in America"--Library Journal "Mark Noll's America's God delineates the Americanization of an Old World Protestantism with a breadth, learning, and sophistication unmatched by any other historian. Noll uncovers hidden, obscure figures even as he breathes new life into seemingly familiar names. Those who think intellectual history is dead or irrelevant will be jolted by the wondrous vigor of this exceptional, synoptic book. There's nothing else like it."--Jon Butler, author of Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People "Noll has an astounding command of the vast literature...this is almost certainly the most significant work of American historical scholarship this year."--Atlantic Monthly "America's God is a richly rewarding work. Awesomely researched and beautifully written, Mark Noll's magisterial study embeds American religious thought from the late Colonial era through the Civil War in its cultural and political context. Not only historians of religion, but everyone interested in the ideas and beliefs that shaped America's past--and still remain potent today--will profit from this insightful interpretive study."--Paul S. Boyer, Editor-in-Chief, The Oxford Companion to United States History "Noll's book is the most comprehensive study of religious ideas in America that we have, and a work that makes the most sustained case for the impact of the spiritual on American public life. The book is original and well argued; and the research is impeccable. Some will not agree with Noll's arguments but everyone interested in religious thought will have to consider them."--Bruce Kuklick, author of A History of Philosophy in America: 1720-2000 "Those who might consider America's God an old-fashioned work about a bygone era and might therefore pass Noll by will do so at their peril...Argue over interfaith services after 9/11, prayers by football teams at public schools, in 'creationism' versus 'evolutionism,' Focus on the Family; 'the virtues,' the American moral condition, 'under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance, the political power of the Religious Right--engage in any or all of these debates, and you will be contending in the shadow of the achievements of Noll's cast of characters."-- Books & Culture "This 'social history of theology' in America, from the colonial era through the Civil War, promises to reshape the way we think about American religion, and, indeed, American history...Noll's trademark clarity--both in analysis and in prose--is in evidence here...Equally obvious is Noll's erudite mastery of everything from Puritan ecclesiology to Scottish moral philosophy. This is, finally, the magisterial work that has long been expected from one of our leading historians."--Publishers Weekly "A broadly based and solid account of the surprising evolution of Christian theology in America during the golden age of Protestant evangelicalism. Mark Noll's magnum opus is a notable achievement of Christian and historical scholarship."--Daniel Walker Howe, Rhodes Professor of American History, Oxford University "The wonderfully prolific Noll-as fine a historian as America now boasts-offers a rich and learned and deeply thoughtful magnum opus that is destined to shape discussions of the history of American religion and politics for a long time.Everyone who pretends to an interest in American history and American politics, to say nothing of American religion, must read this book."-- The New Republic

List of Tablesp. xiii
Introductory
Introduction: Theology and Historyp. 3
Theology in Colonial Americap. 19
The Long Life and Final Collapse of the Puritan Canopyp. 31
Synthesis
Republicanism and Religion: The American Exceptionp. 53
Christian Republicanismp. 73
Theistic Common Sensep. 93
Colonial Theologies in the Era of the Revolutionp. 114
Innovative (but Not "American") Theologies in the Era of the Revolutionp. 138
Evangelization
The Evangelical Surge ...p. 161
... and Constructing a New Nationp. 187
Ideological Permutationsp. 209
Americanization
Assumptions and Assertions of American Theologyp. 227
The Americanization of Calvinism: Contexts and Questionsp. 253
The Americanization of Calvinism: The Congregational Era, 1793-1827p. 269
The Americanization of Calvinism: Explosion, 1827-1860p. 293
The Americanization of Methodism: The Age of Asburyp. 330
The Americanization of Methodism: After Asburyp. 346
Crisis
The "Bible Alone" and a Reformed, Literal Hermeneuticp. 367
The Bible and Slaveryp. 386
Failed Alternativesp. 402
Climax and Exhaustion in the Civil Warp. 422
Conclusion: Contexts and Dogmap. 439
Historiography of Republicanism and Religionp. 447
Notesp. 453
Glossaryp. 563
Select Bibliographyp. 569
Indexp. 603
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195151114
ISBN-10: 0195151119
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 640
Published: 1st November 2002
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.38 x 15.7  x 4.39
Weight (kg): 1.03

Earn 196 Qantas Points
on this Book