What role did the Bible play in the development of British North America and early United States?
How did the settlement of numerous religious groups in the thirteen American colonies affect the politics and religion of both the colonies and early United States?
Today, we address these questions by exploring the place of the Bible in early America. Our guide for this exploration is Mark Noll, the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame and the author of In the Beginning Was the Word The Bible in American Public Life, 1492-1783.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
In this episode, we explore the place of the Bible in early America with Mark Noll, the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame and the author of In the Beginning Was the Word: The Bible in American Public Life, 1492-1783.
During our exploration, Mark reveals the role the Bible played in the lives of British American colonists; Details about the bibles Europeans brought to North America; And, how the settlement of different religious groups in British America affected the politics and religion of the thirteen colonies and early United States.
What You’ll Discover
- The role the Bible played in the lives of American colonists
- How Americans in different regions interpreted and used the Bible
- The bibles European immigrants brought to and used in North America
- Details about the Geneva Bible
- The separation of church and state and why it happened in the United States
- Religious pluralism of the thirteen British American colonies
- How colonists adapted biblical scripture to fit their North American environment
- The role the Bible played in the public lives of Puritans and Pilgrims
- How American Protestants’ reliance on the Bible affected American literacy rates
- How historians measure literacy rates in early America
- Protestant groups that settled in North America
- How religious pluralism affected how colonial Americans interpreted scripture
- The First Great Awakening
- Participation in the Great Awakening by African Americans and Native Americans
- African American interpretations of scripture
- Women and scripture
- How early American men incorporated the Bible and scripture into their lives
- How the Bible fit within Americans’ conceptions of the British Empire
- The American bishop controversy
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Mark Noll
- Mark’s University Webpage
- In the Beginning Was the Word: The Bible in American Public Life, 1492-1783
- Catherine Brekus, Sarah Osborn’s World: The Rise of Evangelical Christianity in Early America
- Eran Shalev, American Zion: The Old Testament as a Political Text from the Revolution to the Civil War
- Episode 39, Eric Nelson, The Royalist Revolution
- John Winthrop, “City Upon a Hill”
In your opinion what might have happened if England had not had a monopoly on the publication of the King James version of the Bible? Would colonial Americans’ ability to print their own bibles have changed the role and place of scripture in early American society?
Questions, Comments, Suggestions
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