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The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (The Steven and Janice Brose Lectures in the Civil War Era) Hardcover – April 24, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
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A distinctive piece of Civil War scholarship. . . . This slim set of lectures greatly enhances the study of religion's role in the American Civil War and the study of Christian intellectual life during a crucial period of U.S. history. Scholars in both fields will profit especially from its pioneering research into Christian Europe's varied reactions to the American Iliad and its causes. Advanced students and discerning general readers will appreciate the book's lively prose and its suggestive conclusions.--Civil War Book Review
In The Civil War as a Theological Crisis, Mark A. Noll breaks new ground on pre-war theological disputes over slavery in scripture and on contemporary discussions of the providential character of the war.--Southern Partisan
Bound to spark major revisionist studies and challenge young scholars to explore its provocative and convincing theses. . . . [A] masterful analysis of Civil War-era religion.--American Historical Review
Insightful analysis. . . . Represents a remarkably thoughtful beginning and an excellent model for future scholars.--Anglican and Episcopal History
Raises momentous questions for the history of American Christianity while offering . . . intriguing insights into an understudied aspect of our nation's greatest civil ordeal.--Books & Culture
[Noll] grapples convincingly with one of the oldest arguments among theologians: their interpretation of what the Bible has to say about slavery.--Black Issues Book Review
By one of the premier historians of American religion. . . . It quotes and cites . . . voices on all sides of the issues.--Touchstone
Readers will appreciate Noll's extensive command of the literature relating to his subject. . . . Noll's book adds yet another important commentary to the war that still intrigues Americans.--North Carolina Historical Review
Intriguing. . . . Both those who pray for an Evangelical majority in America and those who fear the rise of the religious right will find something of importance in this book.--The Common Review
The book's particular force derives from its broad perspective. . . . More pathbreaking still is his delving into foreign critiques.--Civil War History
[A] well-written and insightful work. . . . Noll makes every word count.--BYU Studies
Mark Noll has for several decades been leading an effort to take seriously the religious and theological complexities of America's antebellum and Civil War experience. This concise book . . . both summarizes this scholarship and, in several important respects, advances the conversation.--The Journal of Religion
The description, contextualization, and analysis of various viewpoints is comprehensive and profound.--Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society
An informative account of the theological dramas that underpinned and were unleashed by the Civil War. . . . This book's substantive analysis belies its brevity. . . . This slim work of history is surprisingly timely.--Publishers Weekly
Displays the care and moral seriousness historians have come to associate with Noll's work. . . . Of unusual interest.--Journal of Illinois History
[The Civil War as a Theological Crisis] was deeply satisfying and profoundly disturbing at the same time. It is to his credit that Noll's evangelical scholarship could raise such intellectual complexities and question such moral scandals.--Presbyterion
Noll has such religious insight. . . . Religious historians and Civil War readers will find this an important book and should read it.--Register of Kentucky Historical Society
The best account and interpretation of how Christian ideas shaped, and were shaped by, the Civil War.--Christianity Today
Top Customer Reviews
Another novel aspect of the work is that it dives into European sources in search of Continental reactions to the war from European religious thinkers. This aspect helps readers to understand that the problem of race and slavery was not unique to American clergy alone but something that leaders in all corners of Christendom had to deal with. This book is highly recommended for four readers: 1) Someone looking for a highly specialized book on the theological battles that took place during the Civil War 2) Someone who is interested in the history of Christian responses to violence and/or war 3) Someone interested in the connections between slavery and Christianity and 4) The armchair historian who reads everything about the Civil War and is looking for a fresh angle on their favorite subject.
Mark Noll, for over twenty-five years a professor at Wheaton College and now at Notre Dame, examines a broad diversity of religious viewpoints-- mainly American Protestant, but also foreign Protestant, Jewish, and Catholic (both American and foreign) -- about the theological crisis provoked by slavery. This was a question partly about what the Bible said (how to interpret the Bible), and partly about what God was doing in history (providence). Disagreements about what the Bible said about slavery, Noll demonstrates, were deeply influenced by American assumptions about common sense rationalism, economic individualism, race, gender, and political democracy (which is why his two chapters on Protestant and Catholic opinions abroad are so helpful). Even worse, the far deeper issue of racism was barely broached; people separated "the slavery question" and "the negro question.Read more ›
If you're looking for a rousing or moving narrative, this isn't the book for you. But if you'd like to understand why American theology was paralyzed in the face of the slavery crisis, this little book is ideal.
That it's a "little" book is also nice. Noll says a whole lot in only about 160 pages.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Noll makes a few errors, mainly, but not entirely, in setting the framework for this book.
Other than a semi-coda chapter on Catholic opinions, he tries to make the... Read more
I read this for a class and although it was a little difficult for me to get into it, I ended up really liking the book and I think it covers an important aspect of our history. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
A must read for any student of the Civil War or theology. A magnificent look at changing perceptions and consciences but not over the heads of lay readers like myself. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Peach Tea
We all know both the North & South thought God was on their side...Mark Noll explains how culture and the economy informed theology in 3 areas: providence, slavery, and authority. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Robert G. Leroe
There are great number of lectures and dissertations, but none of them have ever been handled like this before. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Matthew Bartlett
Don't let the small size of this book fool you. It contains enough provocative material to fill at least a couple hefty bound volumes. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Amazon Customer
I read the book, purchased from Amazon, twice just to make sure I understood Noll’s premises and arguments. Read morePublished 18 months ago by kernelp
Among the books I read late last year was The Civil War as a Theological Crisis by Mark Noll, a historian of American religion at Notre Dame. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Tim Hoiland