Religion and the Revolution



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We've been lately on the subject of religion, civic humanism, and contemporary politics. Here's an older take, from an older book resurrected with a new reprint.

Alan Heimert's Religion and the American Mind: From the Great Awakening to the Revolution, a classic in the field from the 1960s, has just been reprinted. Jeff Weddington of Westminister Theological Seminary gives the old book a new going-over, courtesy of the Jonathan Edwards Center blog. Here's a quick excerpt:

If one can believe the foreword and back cover blurbs of this reprint of the late Alan Heimert’s Religion and the American Mind, the reappearance of his seminal study of the relationship between religion and politics in eighteenth-century America may just prove to be one more piece of evidence demonstrating that resurrections do in fact happen. This book shook the scholarly world when it made its first appearance in 1966. It was panned by many within the historical studies community because it challenged the reigning paradigm of the day. And that paradigm was that the rise of American democracy was fueled inter alia by the “Liberal” clergy of the day. Heimert argued that American democracy arose with the assistance of Evangelical clergy as religion was central to American life at the time. It appears then that Heimert demolished the facile coupling of “Liberal” religion and liberal politics (see Andrew Delbanco’s Foreword).

07/11: Phil from BaldBlogger sends along the following update in the comments section: "In that light, interested readers should know that Baylor historian Thomas Kidd has a forthcoming work on the Great Awakening, _The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America_ (Yale, Nov. 2007) and a book under contract with Basic, _A Christian Sparta: Evangelicals, Deists, and the Creation of the American Republic_, that in many ways should compliment the republication of Heimert's work and continue to add new life to the debate."




2 comments:

Rebecca at: July 11, 2007 at 7:44 AM said...

Oh, this is good news. I've been trying to find a used copy of that book for ages...

Phil at: July 11, 2007 at 11:16 AM said...

Harry Stout masterfully built upon Heimert's work in the 1970s, 80s and 90s with his work on preachers and the art of preaching, and so should be mentioned in this context. Stout's biography of Whitefield in many ways rounds out and solidifies the connection Heimert suggested.

In that light, interested readers should know that Baylor historian Thomas Kidd has a forthcoming work on the Great Awakening, _The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America_ (Yale, Nov. 2007) and a book under contract with Basic, _A Christian Sparta: Evangelicals, Deists, and the Creation of the American Republic_, that in many ways should compliment the republication of Heimert's work and continue to add new life to the debate.

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