Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Tuesday Tome - The Bible Cause

I'm looking forward to reading this new arrival...

by John Fea
Publisher's Description...
Endorsed in its time by Francis Scott Key, John Jay, and Theodore Roosevelt, the American Bible Society (ABS) is a seminal institution for American Protestants. The group was founded in 1816 with the goal of distributing free copies of the Bible in local languages throughout the world. Today, the ABS is a Christian ministry based in Philadelphia with a $300 million endowment and a mission to engage 100 million Americans with the Bible by 2025. In The Bible Cause, noted historian of American religion John Fea demonstrates how the ABS's primary mission - to place the Bible in the hands of as many people as possible - has caused the history of the organization to intersect at nearly every point with the history of the United States. 

For the last two hundred years, the ABS has steadily increased its influence both at home and abroad, working with all Christian denominations in the US and internationally, aligning itself whenever possible with the gatekeepers of American religious culture. Over the years ABS Bibles could be found in hotel rooms, bookstores, and airports; on steam boats, college and university campuses; the Internet; and even behind the Iron Curtain. Its agents, Bibles in hand, could be found on the front lines of every American military conflict from the Mexican-American War to the Iraq War. However and wherever the United States developed, the ABS was there.
From Publishers Weekly...
This comprehensive history, written to commemorate the American Bible Society (ABS) bicentennial, explores the ABS's roots, guiding philosophies, evolving mission, and influence domestically and internationally. Founded in 1816 by prominent philanthropic nationalists to widely distribute the Bible "‘without note or comment,'" the ABS believed it "imperative that the United States be unified... around Protestantism and the social virtues that logically flowed from its teachings." American history professor Fea (Why Study History?) examines campaigns of different eras: the "General Supply," an early endeavor to give every family a Bible; the pre-Civil War emphasis on "defeating the Catholic threat"; efforts to bring Bibles to Native Americans, freed slaves, new immigrants, and interred Japanese-Americans; and the ABS's role in 20th-century ecumenical and evangelical movements. Fea references "sensational accounts of the struggles faced in Bible distribution" included in ABS publications, and highlights individuals such as Frances Hamilton, ABS's first female agent, who stayed in Mexico through the 1910 Revolution, and "Aunt Sue," an African American ABS volunteer who in 1943 boarded a bus full of whites to explain how the Bible would bring racial harmony. These stories put a human face on this national movement. (Apr.)

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