Book notice. Mark Noll, “In the Beginning was the Word. The Bible in American Public Life, 1492-1783” (OUP, 2015)

Mark Noll strikes again. 🙂

BARTHOLOMUSINGS

9780190263980Mark Noll’s most recent work promises to be a fascinating – a book of many ironies and complexities about the Bible in American public life. According to a reviewer, Noll shows how Americans have consistently regarded the Bible as being ‘on their side’, always legitimating their policies, their causes and their concerns and/or blessing the status quo. Of course, they’re not alone in this dangerous delusion, but considering the USA’s prominence in modern history, it makes for a darn good case study to bring up the dangers in handling the Bible.

“Though Noll writes as a believing historian who regards the Bible as divine revelation, he resists the urge to write a purely celebratory account of “America’s Book.” Instead, he writes a “cautionary tale” (his words) recognizing both the life-transforming power of Scripture for countless individuals and the “host of destructive or delusionary results manifest among those who believed in that power.”…

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