Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers


Product Details

Oxford University Press, USA
Publish Date
December 01, 2016
6.4 X 1.3 X 9.4 inches | 1.35 pounds

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About the Author

Daniel L. Dreisbach is a professor in the Department of Justice, Law, and Criminology at American University in Washington, D.C. He received a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar, and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia. He has written extensively on the intersection of religion, politics, and law in the American founding.


"With the contest over America's heritage intensifying since the election of Donald Trump, the need for better understanding of the relationship between religion and politics in the founding era of the United States has never been greater. As Americans enlist past events in partisan disputes, we are more painfully aware of the fractured nature of historical memory. In this fraught situation, Daniel Dreisbach's deeply researched investigation into how the founders imagined America's republican government is most welcome."--Amanda Porterfield, Journal of Church and State

"One of the many merits of Daniel Dreisbach s book is to show how misleading this picture [of the Founding Fathers as cool to religion] is. Against this popular image, the Bible was referenced more often than any other text, or even writer, during the Revolutionary period...Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers is a scholarly book, drawing on an abundance of source material and demonstrating an admirable familiarity with the period and the Bible."--Church Times

"Well-researched and beautifully written, Daniel Dreisbach's Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers immerses readers in an era when American culture was greatly influenced by the Bible. One of the book's chief strengths is demonstrating how the Scriptures informed the thinking of both devout Christians and religious skeptics during America's early years. While Dreisbach wants us to appreciate the Bible's role as a practical guide and source of inspiration for America's founding generation, he also wants us to take action. As Bible engagement steadily declines in our own day, Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers uses history to stretch our cultural imagination: How might the Bible inspire a new generation of Americans to tackle the crises facing our republic today?"--Roy L. Peterson, President and CEO, American Bible Society

"For far too long, scholars have neglected the Bible's influence on America's founders. In this elegantly written book, Daniel L. Dreisbach argues convincingly that the Holy Scriptures 'shaped the world of the founding fathers in profound and manifold ways.' Exhaustively researched and judiciously argued, this volume makes it impossible to ignore the Bible's central role in the founding era." --Mark David Hall, Herbert Hoover Distinguished Professor of Politics, George Fox University

"For several years Daniel Dreisbach has been publishing extensively researched articles on specific aspects of the Bible's presence in Revolutionary America. Now he has expanded that research, added to the subjects considered, and provided a rich interpretive context. Although the resulting book does not answer all questions concerning how Scripture was put to use, it does represent a landmark investigative triumph and a splendid contribution to early United States history." --Mark A. Noll is the author of In the Beginning Was the Word: The Bible in American Public Life, 1492-1783

"This book can be read in an evening but mined for a lifetime. The elegant prose and the enticing topics of liberty, justice, virtue, authority, and faith in the American founding era make it hard to stop reading. But beneath the text, the voluminous notes and quotes are a treasure trove that scholars of many fields will be mining for a very long time. A brilliant achievement." --John Witte, Jr., Director, Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University

"Daniel Dreisbach's fascinating Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers is a model of compelling research and sound judgment. It convincingly demonstrates just how deeply the Bible shaped the Founders' writings, speeches, and ideas." --Thomas S. Kidd, author of God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution

"The resulting contribution of this book is that the sheer wealth of material adds abundantly to our knowledge of how pervasively, profusely, and profoundly the Bible was invoked, for rhetorical and edifying purposes, throughout the founding era...The author s style is clear and accessible. Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers is easy to read, informative, and enjoyable. Modest in its purpose and scope, this book is recommended for university and public libraries alike."--Reading Religion

"Daniel Dreisbach s Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers undercuts theories that America s founders emphasized Enlightenment thinking over Biblical wisdom."--World Magazine