Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Faith and the Founders of the American Republic

The editing team of Daniel Dreisbach and Mark David Hall are at it again.  Dreisbach and Hall have now edited several books related to the religious beliefs of the founding fathers.  (My personal favorite so far is The Forgotten Founders on Religion and Public Life).  Their latest is Faith and the Founders of the American Republic (Oxford University Press).  Here is a description of the text, followed by a table of contents:

The role of religion in the founding of America has long been a hotly debated question. Some historians have regarded the views of a few famous founders, such as Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and Thomas Paine, as evidence that the founders were deists who advocated the strict separation of church and state. Popular Christian polemicists, on the other hand, have attempted to show that virtually all of the founders were pious Christians in favor of public support for religion.

As the essays in this volume demonstrate, a diverse array of religious traditions informed the political culture of the American founding. Faith and the Founders of the American Republic includes studies both of minority faiths, such as Islam and Judaism, and of major traditions like Calvinism. It also includes nuanced analysis of specific founders-Quaker John Dickinson, prominent Baptists Isaac Backus and John Leland, and Theistic Rationalist Gouverneur Morris, among others-with attention to their personal histories, faiths, constitutional philosophies, and views on the relationship between religion and the state.

This volume will be a crucial resource for anyone interested in the place of faith in the founding of the American constitutional republic, from political, religious, historical, and legal perspectives.

Table of contents:
PART I:  Religion and Political Culture in the American Founding
1. “Deism and the Founders,” by Darren Staloff
2. “Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos: The Influence of the Reformed Tradition in the American Founding,” by Mark David Hall
3. “Jews, Judaism, and the American Founding,” by David G. Dalin
4. “The Founders and Islam,” by Thomas S. Kidd
 5. “Religion and the Loyalists,” by Robert M. Calhoon and Ruma Chopra
 6. “The Antifederalists and Religion,” by Donald L. Drakeman
 7. “The Bible in the Political Culture of the American Founding,” by Daniel L. Dreisbach
 8. “Religion, Race, and the Founders,” by Jonathan D. Sassi
PART II:  Faith and the Founders
9. “Gouverneur Morris and Theistic Rationalism in the Founding Era,” by Gregg Frazer
10. “John Hancock: Congregationalist Revolutionary,” bGary Scott Smith
11. “Elias Boudinot, Presbyterians, and the Quest for a ‘Righteous Republic,’” by Jonathan Den Hartog
12. “The Quaker Contributions of John Dickinson to the Creation of the American Republic,” by Jane E. Calvert
13. “Isaac Backus and John Leland: Baptist Contributions to Religious Liberty in the Founding Era,” by Joe L. Coker