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Smith, John, Harry S. Stout, and Kenneth P. Minkema (eds), A JONATHAN EDWARDS READER. Yale University Press, 2003. NEW copy, TRADE PAPERBACK, 335 pages. Prepared by editors of the distinguished series The Works of Jonathan Edwards, this authoritative anthology includes selected treatises, sermons, and autobiographical material by early America's greatest theologian and philosopher.


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Gaustad, Edwin S, FAITH OF THE FOUNDERS: Religion and the New Nation, 1776-1826. VG/VG. (Baylor University Press, 2004). 196 pages.
~~~ This book traces the religious life of the nation from the time of the Revolution to the deaths of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. In his portraits of Jefferson, Madison, Franklin, Washington, Adams and Jefferson, Gaustad carefully considers the developing relationship between church and state in America. Gaustad also follows the trial of diverse religious ideas and communities, as well as chronicling the religious dimensions of daily life for ordinary Americans.


Holmes, David L, THE FAITHS OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS. VG/VG. (Oxford University Press, 2006). 240 pages.
~~~ How did the United States, founded as colonies with explicitly religious aspirations, come to be the first modern state whose commitment to the separation of church and state was reflected in its constitution? Frank Lambert explains why this happened, offering in the process a synthesis of American history from the first British arrivals through Thomas Jefferson's controversial presidency. ~~~ From Library Journal: In this short but dynamic study, we are thrust back to 1770s America to look at the culture and religion of six of the Founding Fathers. Holmes paints a balanced portrait of the various forms of Deism that existed in the minds of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and James Monroe, among others. Surveying the religious beliefs and mainline churches of the groups that settled the American Colonies, Holmes argues that the Founders respected the religious convictions of their time -- an idea that conflicts with the prevailing belief that the first five presidents tended to deny the divinity of God and often followed the path of reason. Holmes's research leads him to argue that history texts need to represent the Founders as Christians who may have attended a Baptist, Presbyterian, or Episcopal church depending on their location and that the adherence to simple virtue and morality was more important to them than adherence to any particular set of doctrines. Finally, Holmes concludes that the strong connection to church professed by recent presidents is quite unlike the practices of our Founding Fathers. An illuminating study, this is recommended reading for American historians and religious scholars.


Meacham, Jon, THE FOUNDERS ON RELIGION: A Book of Quotations. NEW copy, hardcover with dust jacket. (Princeton University Press, 2005). 280 pages.
~~~ What did the founders of America think about religion? Until now, there has been no reliable and impartial compendium of the founders' own remarks on religious matters that clearly answers the question. This book fills that gap. A lively collection of quotations on everything from the relationship between church and state to the status of women, it is the most comprehensive and trustworthy resource available on this timely topic. ~~~ The book calls to the witness stand all the usual suspects -- George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams -- as well as many lesser known but highly influential luminaries, among them Continental Congress President Elias Boudinot, Declaration of Independence signer Charles Carroll, and John Dickinson, "the Pennsylvania Farmer." It also gives voice to two founding "mothers," Abigail Adams and Martha Washington. ~~~ The founders quoted here ranged from the piously evangelical to the steadfastly unorthodox. Some were such avid students of theology that they were treated as equals by the leading ministers of their day. Others vacillated in their conviction. James Madison's religious beliefs appeared to weaken as he grew older. Thomas Jefferson, on the other hand, seemed to warm to religion late in life. This compilation lays out the founders' positions on more than seventy topics, including the afterlife, the death of loved ones, divorce, the raising of children, the reliability of biblical texts, and the nature of Islam and Judaism. ~~~ Partisans of various stripes have long invoked quotations from the founding fathers to lend credence to their own views on religion and politics. This book, by contrast, is thefirst of its genre to be grounded in the careful examination of original documents by a professional historian. Conveniently arranged alphabetically by topic, it provides multiple viewpoints and accurate quotations. ~~~ Readers of all religious persuasions -- or of none -- will find this book engrossing.


Lambert, Frank, THE FOUNDING FATHERS AND THE PLACE OF RELIGION IN AMERICA. VG/VG. (Princeton University Press, 2003). 344 pages.
~~~ How did the United States, founded as colonies with explicitly religious aspirations, come to be the first modern state whose commitment to the separation of church and state was reflected in its constitution? Frank Lambert explains why this happened, offering in the process a synthesis of American history from the first British arrivals through Thomas Jefferson's controversial presidency. ~~~ Lambert recognizes that two sets of spiritual fathers defined the place of religion in early America: what Lambert calls the Planting Fathers, who brought Old World ideas and dreams of building a "City upon a Hill," and the Founding Fathers, who determined the constitutional arrangement of religion in the new republic. While the former proselytized the "one true faith," the latter emphasized religious freedom over religious purity. ~~~ Lambert locates this shift in the mid-eighteenth century. In the wake of evangelical revival, immigration by new dissenters, and population expansion, there emerged a marketplace of religion characterized by sectarian competition, pluralism, and widened choice. During the American Revolution, dissenters found sympathetic lawmakers who favored separating church and state, and the free marketplace of religion gained legal status as the Founders began the daunting task of uniting thirteen disparate colonies. To avoid discord in an increasingly pluralistic and contentious society, the Founders left the religious arena free of government intervention save for the guarantee of free exercise for all. Religious people and groups were also free to seek political influence, ensuring that religion's place in America would always be a contested one, but never a state-regulated one. ~~~ An engaging and highly readable account of early American history, this book shows how religious freedom came to be recognized not merely as toleration of dissent but as a natural right to be enjoyed by all Americans.
~~~ Currently in print at $39.95.


Mapp, Alf J, THE FAITHS OF OUR FATHERS: What America's Founders Really Believed. NEW copy, trade PAPERBACK (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2005). 256 pages.
~~~ In this eloquent little book, leading colonial historian Alf J. Mapp, Jr, provides a highly readable overview of the religious beliefs of eleven of the most esteemed men of the generation that declared our independence and wrote the U. S. Constitution. Perhaps for the first time, we confront the breadth and diversity of the Founding Fathers’ thinking on religious matters. In fact, their sustained ruminations on issues of religion, conscience, and ethics contributed to making their era one of the greatest in human history. ~~~ As Mapp contends, there was “no monolithic national faith acknowledged by all Founding Fathers. Their religious attitudes were as varied as their political opinions.” This is hardly surprising, as these eleven men—Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, John Adams, George Washington, John Marshall, Patrick Henry, Alexander Hamilton, George Mason, Charles Carroll of Carroltton, and Haym Solomon—came from all parts of the colonies and from differing social backgrounds.  ~~~ Faiths of Our Fathers explores the profound connections between the Revolutionary period and our own. In doing so, it offers a much-needed corrective to the many misconceptions about the role of faith in the lives of our Founding Fathers.


Meacham, Jon, AMERICAN GOSPEL: God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation. NEW copy, hardcover with dust jacket. (Random House, 2006). 196 pages.
~~~ In American Gospel (literally meaning the "good news about America"), New York Times bestselling author Jon Meacham sets the record straight on the history of religion in American public life. As Meacham shows, faith --meaning a belief in a higher power, and the sense that we are God's chosen people-- has always been at the heart of our national experience, from Jamestown to the Constitutional Convention to the Civil Rights Movement to September 11th. And yet, first and foremost, America is a nation founded upon the principles of liberty and freedom. Every American is free to exercise his own faith or no faith at all. And so a balance is struck, between public religion and private religion; and religious belief is distinct from morality. As Meacham explains, the well-known "wall" between church and state has always separated private religion from the business of the state, yet religious belief is part of the basic foundation of government. Brilliantly articulating an argument that links the Founding Fathers to an insightful contemporary point of view, American Gospel renews our understanding of history, and what public religion has meant in America, so that we can move beyond today's religious and political extremism toward a truer understanding of the place of faith in American society.


Novak, Michael, and Jana Novak, WASHINGTON'S GOD: Religion, Liberty, and the Father of Our Country. NEW copy, hardcover with dust jacket. (Basic Books, 2006). 320 pages.
~~~ From Publishers Weekly: Most modern historians have made three basic assumptions about the religious views of our nation's first president: he was a deist; he was only a marginal Christian who kept up appearances but had no depth of conviction; and he believed only in an impersonal force or destiny that he called "Providence." Michael Novak, the well-known conservative thinker and author of The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, teams up with his daughter Jana to attempt to debunk all three of these notions about Washington's religious views. Written at the specific request of Mount Vernon and with the assistance of their archives, this book is carefully researched. It is most persuasive when the Novaks show that despite his natural reserve, a depth of religious feeling ran through Washington's public and private speeches and correspondence, disproving the portrait of a tepid, perfunctory Anglicanism. However, they don't succeed as well in disproving Washington's deist sensibility; the Novaks adopt the modern assumption that being a Christian and being a deist were mutually exclusive-a conclusion that few in the late 18th century would have shared. At times, the Novaks' starry-eyed admiration of the man pushes this book over the bounds of biography into hagiography.



Heimert, Alan and Perry Miller, THE GREAT AWAKENING: Documents Illustrating the Crisis and Its Consequences. VG. TRADE PAPERBACK. Stiff card covers. Some soiling and bowing to the spine, though tight overall; interior clean. Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1967. Index, 663 pages. "Before the Great Awakening most of the country was religiously parched. Science, reason, and nature -- the trinity of the oncoming enlightenment -- with an assist from prosperity and a natural hardening of the reeligious arteries, had banked the seventeenth century's intense fires of religious emotion, leaving religion with an unsatisfying sobriety, a cold formalism, and a dull, theological pedantry. The time was right, in the 1730s, for a reformation, not in doctrine but in the style of worship. George Whitefield, Gilbert Tennent, Jonathan Edwards, and a host of others seized and shook their audiences, giving them such an intimate sense of personal sin and an overpowering stimulus to be saved that men and women wept, shrieked, and ecstatically sensed the cleansing experience of conversion. This extraordinary phenomenon of 'mass hysteria', this great crescendo of zeal, this revivalistic movement, was the Great Awakening. It convulsed the human spirit and society too, producing paradoxical and lasting results. It split the old churches and provoked religious animosities, yet it also proliferated sects, mainly Separates, Baptist, and New Side Presbyterian, whose dissenter experiences led them to oppose establishments of religion and advance the cause of religious liberty. It was profoundly anti-intellectual, yet it led to the establishment of four new colleges. It was a revolt against religious rationalism, yet it spurred rationalist growth. It accentuated class consciousness, yet it was a popular movement that, as Alan Heimert says, awakened 'the spirit if American democracy.'"


Goen, C.C., REVIVALISM AND SEPARATISM IN NEW ENGLAND, 1740-1800: Strict Congregationalists and Separate Baptists in the Great Awakening . NEW copy. Hardcover with dust jacket. (Wesleyan University Press, 1987). Page-end notes, appendix, sources, index, 370 pages.
~~~ "...Goen's 'wide-angle lens' presents a panoramic view of the Great Awakening and its aftermath in southern New England, linking the familiar story of the separatists with that of the Baptists, earlier virtually unaffected by the wave of revivals. Originally published in 1962, it recieved the American Society of Church History's Brewer Prize: this 1987 Wesleyan edition includes a new introduction, surveying the state of scholarship since that time."
~~~ Originally published at $30, now OUT OF PRINT.


Hamilton, Dr. Alexander, GENTLEMAN'S PROGRESS: The Itinerarium of Dr. Alexander Hamilton, 1744, edited with an introduction by Carl Bridenbaugh.. NEW copy. In green boards without dust jacket, as issued. Introduction, notes, index, 300 pp. "Dr. Alexander Hamilton's ITNERARIUM is one of the happiest combinations of liveliness, wit, and instructive information written in colonial America. The description of his journey from Maryland to Maine and back in 1744 is unequalled by any other writer... Hamilton ran the gamut of colonial life; little that was interesting or significant escaped him. Although he describes provincial rural society, he bestows most of his attention on the urban centers--Philadelphia, New York, Newport, Boston. There an American culture was germinating... Gay, facetious, and affable, Hamilton enjoyed nothing on his travels so much as to foregather with a gentleman 's club about a convivial bowl where the conversation might begin with a discussion of war, trade or politics, progress to women, and then, as he readily admitted, end 'in a smutty strain.'... Because he was alert, fairminded, and tolerant, the doct or reviewed the colonial scene with an amused eye. Inclined to a fashionable deism like so many of his class, he resented religious enthusiasm, and poured out his irony on the followers of George Whitefield, 'our New Light biggots,' whom he could infallibly detect by 'a particular down-hanging look. Creeds held no interest for him and as a result he indifferently confused Presbyterians and Congregationalists in his comments on the Great Awakening, then at its height in New England.. . Hamilton everywhere found life arresting and entertaining, and just as he generously shared his experience with contemporaries he also recorded it with sprightliness and humor for the enjoyment of posterity." (Originally in print at $22.50. Now OUT OF PRINT).



LaPlante, Eve, AMERICAN JEZEBEL: The Uncommon Life of Anne Hutchinson, the Woman Who Defied the Puritans. NEW copy, hardcover with dust jacket. Harper Collins, 2004. Chronology, bibliography, index, 312 pages.
~~~ From Publishers Weekly: "LaPlante, an 11th-generation granddaughter of Hutchinson, provides a fast-paced and elegant account of Hutchinson's life and work, including the reasons that Hutchinson's teachings threatened the fabric of Puritan theology. By the time she was born, her father, Francis Marbury, had already been in and out of jail for challenging the religious authority of the Anglican priests in England. His continuing nonconformity, according to LaPlante, had a lasting impact on Hutchinson's own views of religious authority. Hutchinson also learned from the Reverend John Cotton that God's revelation to individuals occurred mystically as a kind of inner light and did not require a formal religious setting. After she moved to the colonies with her husband, William Hutchinson, she began to teach that men and women could attain salvation not through performing religious works but through this inward grace. The Puritans, who emphasized that the covenant of works was the only guarantee of salvation, charged her with antinomianism (an attack against the law of God) and with violating God's commands that a woman should not teach. LaPlante offers a stimulating account of Hutchinson's eloquent self-defense at her trial. Knowing that the magistrates had no religious or political grounds to convict her, since a woman was not a subject of the law, Hutchinson stymied their questioning. LaPlante's first-rate biography offers glimpses into the life and teachings of a much-neglected figure in early American religious history."
~~~ Hardcover originally published at 24.95, but now OUT OF PRINT. (If you just need a good reading copy, the paperback edition is currently in print at $14).


McWhiney, Grady, Warner O. Moore, Jr., and Robert F. Pace (eds), FEAR GOD AND WALK HUMBLY: The Agricultural Journal of James Mallory, 1843-1877. Yale University Press, 2003. NEW copy, TRADE PAPERBACK, 335 pages. Prepared by editors of the distinguished series The Works of Jonathan Edwards, this authoritative anthology includes selected treatises, sermons, and autobiographical material by early America's greatest theologian and philosopher. NEW copy (still in shrinkwrap), hardcover with dust jacket. (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1997). 687 pages.
~~ "The journal provides remarkable insight into the daily life of a successful farmer who owned slaves. He recorded much information about farming, Alabama politics and history, national and local events, and the religious activities of the Baptist Church in East Alabama."



Silverman, Kenneth, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF COTTON MATHER. VG/VG. Hardcover with dust jacket. Harper & Row, 1984. Illustrations, documentation, index, 479 pages.
~~~ "This comprehensive biography of Cotton Mather (1663-1728), known to history as the Arch-Puritan and an enthusiastic supporter of the Salem witch trials and executions, is the first in nearly a century, and it presents a fascinating individual who both mirrored and influenced his times. The man whom Kenneth Silverman brings to life so vividly in this book was a complex personality of many contradictions, talents, and weaknesses. Driven by ambition and envy to outrageous acts and sometimes ludicrous outbursts, desperately anxious for recognition and fame outside of Boston, he was at the same time the victim in adolescence of a humiliating stammer; a doting if demanding husband to three wives and father of fifteen children -- thirteen of whom died in his lifetime; by far the most prolific author yet produced by the New World (some 388 publications); and a man of surprisingly eclectic interests and an authority on many subjects, including science and medicine. Well ahead of his time, he strongly advocated inoculation against smallpox, a stand for which he was rediculed and made the target of an assassination attempt. Together with his influential father, Increase Mather, he served as the clergy of Bonton's North Church, dominated the religious scene, argued with many of his peers, and even clashed with some of the Governors of the colony. As the author makes clear, Mather's role in the witch trials was far less clear-cut than is generally believed. He was not specifically involved, and he wrote and preached ambivalently about the trials and their victims. As he grew older, Mather mellowed, sorely tested by his worldly third wife, by his reckless son Creasy, and by the public disgrace of a year's-long plague of lawsuits that nearly put him in debtor's prison. Yet when he died, he was eulogized and honored as no other American had been before."
~~~ Originally published at $29.95. A hardcover edition of this title, with a library binding, currently in print at $75.


Middelkauff, Robert, THE MATHERS: Three Generations of Puritan Intellectuals, 1596--1728. NEW copy. TRADE PAPERBACK. University of California Press. 440 pages.
~~~~~ "In this classic work of American religious history, Robert Middlekauff traces the evolution of Puritan thought and theology in America from its origins in New England through the early eighteenth century. He focuses on three generations of intellectual ministers, Richard, Increase, and Cotton Mather - in order to challenge the traditional telling of the secularization of Puritanism, a story of faith transformed by reason, science, and business."


[Milton] Schulman, Lydia Dittler, PARADISE LOST, AND THE RISE OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC . Northeastern University Press , 1992. NEW copy. Hardcover with dust jacket, still in shrinkwrap. Notes, bibliography, index, 273 pages. ~~~ From American Literature: "This book examines "how American readers understood and employed Milton's text before, during, and after the American Revolution. Contending that Milton's epic, which was written after the fall of the English Commonwealth, represented the author's 'reflections on the difficulties of creating and sustaining . . . governments that ultimately rest upon the virtue and self-discipline of their citizens', Schulman suggests that this embedded debate on republicanism made his poem a touchstone for secular politicians during the rise of the American republic." ~~~ From Booknews: "Schulman argues that an important, overlooked key to uncovering the social and political subtext of Milton's epic is its popularity and use in the early American republic. At the same time, she demonstrates that an examination of the American reception of Paradise Lost contributes to an understanding of the ideological origins of the American Revolution." ~~~ From The American Historical Review: "For Schulman, the real point is Milton's argument that republican liberty, based on an educated, virtuous citizenry, must meet the challenge of controlling narrow self-interest through enlightened reason. . . . If Schulman inevitably fails to prove her thesis 'definitively,' she succeeds admirably in suggesting the complexity of Milton's role in the still lively debate over the soul of the republic. Her book is a strong contribution to that debate."


[Milton] Stavely, Keith W. F., PURITAN LEGACIES: Paradise Lost and the New England Tradition, 1630-1890. Cornell University Press, 1995. NEW copy. PAPERBACK. Notes, index, 312 pages. Stavely presents "Milton's Paradise Lost as a model of the tensions inherent in mid-17th-century English Puritanism and in New England Puritanism through 1890. He {seeks to} show how Milton's portrayal of Adam, Eve, and Satan represents persistent Puritan conflicts between hierarchy and egalitarian individual autonomy and between rationality and enthusiasm. {In an attempt} to illustrate his thesis, Stavely studies the career of 18th-century Westborough, Massachusetts pastor Rev. Ebenezer Parkman and 19th-century Marlborough, Massachusetts newspaper editor Charles F. Morse."


[Milton] Van Anglen, K.P., NEW ENGLAND MILTON: Literary Reception and Cultural Authority in the Early Republic . Pennsylvania State University Press , 1993. NEW copy. Hardcover with dust jacket, still in shrinkwrap. Notes, bibliography, index, 255 pages. "This is a study of interpretations of Milton by New England intellectuals. "Interpreting Milton to their advantage, Van Anglen argues, the New England elite used him in their formulations of consensualist positions that became key elements of the developing American cultural hegemony. At the same time, restive thinkers from Roger Williams to Walt Whitman read Milton's works and career as more averse, thereby endorsing a more romantic, rebellious, and democratic American spirit. After a . . . chapter surveying these conflicts and their consequences between 1620 and the 1780s, Van Anglen focuses upon the Unitarians and the transcendentalists in his remaining chapters. . . . {In} readings of {William Ellery} Channing's review of Milton's De Doctrina, Emerson's essay 'John Milton,' his poem 'Uriel,' and his 'Divinity School Address,' and Thoreau's A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers and Walden {Van Anglen aims to} demonstrate how each transcended the dualism and contradictions of cultural authority." (New England Quarterly). Currently in print at $54.50.


Morgan, David and Sally M. Promey, THE VISUAL CULTURE OF AMERICAN RELIGIONS . NEW copy. TRADE PAPERBACK. University of California Press. Illustrated, 427 pages. "Contemporary artists have often clashed with conservative American evangelicals in recent years, giving the impression that art and religion are fundamentally at odds. Yet historically, artistic images have played a profound role in American religious life. This superb collection of essays on visual culture in American religions challenges the apparent tension between religion and the arts by illustrating and investigating their longstanding and intriguing relationship from the early nineteenth century to the present day. This superbly illustrated book looks at a spectacular diversity of religious imagery and demonstrates the importance of visual culture for the historical understanding of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Native American beliefs in architecture, painting, graphic media, and television."


Nelson, John K., A BLESSED COMPANY: Parishes, Parsons, and Parishioners in Anglican Virginia, 1690-1776 . NEW copy. Hardcover with dust jacket. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001). Illustrations, appendices, extensive notes, index, 477 pages.
~~~ "In this book, John Nelson reconstructs everyday Anglican religious practice and experience in Virginia from the end of the seventeenth century to the start of the American Revolution. Challenging previous characterizations of the colonial Anglican establishment as weak, he reveals the fundamental role the church played in the political, social, and economic as well as the spiritual lives of its parishioners. Drawing on extensive research in parish and county records and other primary sources, Nelson describes Anglican Virginia's parish system, its parsons, its rituals of worship and rites of passage, and its parishioners' varied relationships to the church. All colonial Virginians—men and women, rich and poor, young and old, planters and merchants, servants and slaves, dissenters and freethinkers -— belonged to a parish. As such, they were subject to its levies, its authority over marriage, and other social and economic dictates. In addition to its religious functions, the parish provided essential care for the poor, collaborated with the courts to handle civil disputes, and exerted its influence over many other aspects of community life. ~~~ A Blessed Company demonstrates that, by creatively adapting Anglican parish organization and the language, forms, and modes of Anglican spirituality to the Chesapeake's distinctive environmental and human conditions, colonial Virginians sustained a remarkably effective and faithful Anglican church in the Old Dominion."
~~~ Currently in print at $49.95.


O'Connor, Thomas H., BOSTON CATHOLICS. NEW copy. Hardcover. Northeastern University Press. 357 pages. "The often difficult but always fascinating and colorful experience of Boston Catholics is recounted in this lively history of the Archdiocese of Boston. Thomas H. O'Connor, the dean of Boston historians, traces the remarkable growth and development of the Church over the course of two centuries, from the early days as a missionary dependent of the See of Baltimore, through times of struggle and success, to the current administration of Bernard Cardinal Law. Placing his account of the Archdiocese within the context of national and regional events, O'Connor discusses Puritan Boston's animosity toward all things Roman Catholic, describes the inevitable clashes between native Bostonians and waves of Irish Catholic immigrants, and examines the rise of Catholics from oppressed minority to influential players in shaping the character of twentieth-century Boston. He also analyzes contemporary problems of ethnic diversity, declining attendance, diminishing vocations, and divisive social issues."



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