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Faithful NarrativesHistorians, Religion, and the Challenge of Objectivity$
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Andrea Sterk and Nina Caputo

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451829

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451829.001.0001

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Reflections on the Bible and American Political Life

Reflections on the Bible and American Political Life

(p.203) Chapter 12 Reflections on the Bible and American Political Life
Faithful Narratives

Mark A. Noll

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at the establishment of a powerful common discourse based on biblical language and motifs, both Jewish and Christian, that reinforced American public and political culture. It argues a point about modern American life: that the Bible can be used either “for the common good” or as a weapon that heightens conflict across the socio-political spectrum. The rich yet complex history of the Bible in America has revealed a potent force working to heal as well as to destroy. This account of Scripture in American life underscores several theoretical issues—most pointedly, the degree to which religious texts, beliefs, and practices are so naturally embedded in the fabric of history that they have become invisible or indecipherable to many contemporaries, whether they are scholars, students, or the general public.

Keywords:   biblical language, Bible, Christianity, American political culture, American life, religious texts, Jewish motifs

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