Skepticism and American Faith

from the Revolution to the Civil War
Oxford University Press
  • 1. Auflage
  • |
  • erschienen am 4. Juni 2018
  • |
  • 496 Seiten
E-Book | PDF mit Adobe DRM | Systemvoraussetzungen
978-0-19-049438-4 (ISBN)
Between the American Revolution and the Civil War, the dialogue of religious skepticism and faith shaped struggles over the place of religion in politics. It produced different visions of knowledge and education in an "enlightened" society. It fueled social reform in an era of economic transformation, territorial expansion, and social change. Ultimately, as Christopher Grasso argues in this definitive work, it molded the making and eventual unmaking of American nationalism. Religious skepticism has been rendered nearly invisible in American religious history, which often stresses the evangelicalism of the era or the "secularization" said to be happening behind people's backs, or assumes that skepticism was for intellectuals and ordinary people who stayed away from church were merely indifferent. Certainly the efforts of vocal "infidels" or "freethinkers" were dwarfed by the legions conducting religious revivals, creating missions and moral reform societies, distributing Bibles and Christian tracts, and building churches across the land. Even if few Americans publicly challenged Christian truth claims, many more quietly doubted, and religious skepticism touched--and in some cases transformed--many individual lives. Commentators considered religious doubt to be a persistent problem, because they believed that skeptical challenges to the grounds of faith--the Bible, the church, and personal experience--threatened the foundations of American society. Skepticism and American Faith examines the ways that Americans--ministers, merchants, and mystics; physicians, schoolteachers, and feminists; self-help writers, slaveholders, shoemakers, and soldiers--wrestled with faith and doubt as they lived their daily lives and tried to make sense of their world.
  • Englisch
  • Oxford
  • |
  • USA
40 hts
  • 21,39 MB
978-0-19-049438-4 (9780190494384)
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Christopher Grasso is professor of history at the College of William and Mary and was the editor of the William and Mary Quarterly. He is the author of A Speaking Aristocracy: Transforming Public Discourse in Eighteenth-Century Connecticut and the editor of Bloody Engagements: John R. Kelso's Civil War.
Note on Sources Introduction I: Revolutions, 1775-1815 1. Deist Hero, Deist Monster: On Religious Common Sense in the Wake of the American Revolution 2. Souls Rising: The Authority of the Inner Witness, and Its Limits 3. Instituting Skepticism: The Emergence of Organized Deism 4. Instituting Skepticism: Contention, Endurance, and Invisibility II. Enlightenments, 1790-1845 5. Skeptical Enlightenment: An American Education in Jeffersonian Pennsylvania 6. Christian Enlightenment: Eastern Cities and the Great West 7. Christian Enlightenment: Faith into Practice in Marion, Missouri 8. Revelation and Reason: New Englanders in the Early Nineteenth Century III. Reforms, 1820-1850 9. Faith in Reform: Remaking Society, Body, and Soul 10. Infidels, Protestants, and Catholics: Religion and Reform in Boston 11. Converting Skeptics: Infidel and Protestant Economies IV. Sacred Causes, 1830-1865 12. Political Hermeneutics: Nullifying the Bible and Consolidating Proslavery Christianity 13. Lived Experience and the Sacred Cause: Faith, Skepticism, and Civil War Epilogue: Death and Politics Appendix: Grounds of Faith and Modes of Skepticism Acknowledgments Notes References Index
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