The Bible has been—by far—the single most widely read text, distributed object, and referenced book in all of American history. This talk draws on Mark Noll’s recently published In the Beginning Was the Word to explore the presence of Scripture from the era of Christopher Columbus through the American Revolution. As guidance for the first American colonies, a polemical prop for the expanding British empire, the source of personal empowerment during periods of revival, and then a much-bandied rhetorical weapon during the struggle for American Independence, the Bible remained ubiquitous in American consciousness. The lecture ends by suggesting legacies—for good and for ill—from this early history.
Free and open to the public; no registration required.