Winner of the 2019 Australian History Prize at the NSW Premier's History Award
The revelatory story of the Bible in Australia, from the convict era to the Mabo land rights campaign, Nick Cave, the Bra Boys, and beyond. Thought to be everything from the word of God to a resented imposition, the Bible has been debated, painted, rejected, translated, read, gossiped about, preached, and tattooed.
At a time when public discussion of religion is deeply polarised, Meredith Lake reveals the Bible’s dynamic influence in Australia and offers an innovative new perspective on Christianity and its changing role in our society. In the hands of writers, artists, wowsers, Bible-bashers, immigrants, suffragists, evangelists, unionists, Indigenous activists, and many more – the Bible has played a defining and contested role in Australia.
A must-read for sceptics, the curious, the lapsed, the devout, the believer, and non-believer.
About the Author
Meredith Lake is an historian with a PhD from the University of Sydney, where she has also taught courses in Australian history.
2018 Australian Christian Book of the Year
"The Bible in Australia is an unpretentious title for a remarkable book, and yet it is accurate enough. The Bible has been an ever-present aspect of life in Australia for 230 years, but no one has ever thought through its profound importance before." - Alan Atkinson, Australian Book Review
"Stunning, refreshing and original." - Julia Baird
"From the opening words about Bra Boy tattoos, this book had me gripped. It breathes colour, poetry and life into our understanding of the Bible in Australia. A vital, much-needed addition to our understanding of faith in our country." - Julia Baird
"Vivid story-telling and impossible to put down. Meredith Lake brings the Bible's chameleon-like presence in Australia's past alive. At last, this long-neglected yet profoundly important aspect of Australian history has found its true historian. A remarkable achievement." - Mark McKenna
Introduction: Under the skinPart 1: Colonial foundations1. In the beginning?2. Indigenous encounters3. God's immigrants?Part 2: The great age of the Bible4. Spreading the Word5. Seeking the good society6. Re-evaluating the textPart 3: Bible and nation7. Advancing Australia Fair8. Politics and the Bible9. War and its aftermathPart 4: A secular Australia?10. The turning point11. Re-imagining Australia12. The Bible in the new millenniumBibliographyNotesIndex