Americas God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln

Paperback | April 13, 2005

byMark A. Noll

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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 ProtestantReformation, 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 byheightened 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 intellectuallandscape, 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. Thecontributions 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 thisChristian 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 ontheir 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 withus to this day.

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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 ProtestantReformation, of which Puritanism was in the Uni...

Mark A. Noll is at Wheaton College, Illinois.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:640 pages, 6.1 × 9.02 × 1.69 inPublished:April 13, 2005Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195182995

ISBN - 13:9780195182996

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"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 intellectualhistory 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