Theology in America Christian Thought from the Age of the Puritans to the Civil War E. Brooks Holifield

Publication date:
11 Mar 2005
Yale University Press
640 pages: 235 x 156mm
Sales territories:

A magisterial work of American theological history—authoritative, insightful, and unparalleled in scope

This book, the most comprehensive survey of early American Christian theology ever written, encompasses scores of American theological traditions, schools of thought, and thinkers. E. Brooks Holifield examines mainstream Protestant and Catholic traditions as well as those of more marginal groups. He looks closely at the intricacies of American theology from 1636 to 1865 and considers the social and institutional settings for religious thought during this period. The book explores a range of themes, including the strand of Christian thought that sought to demonstrate the reasonableness of Christianity, the place of American theology within the larger European setting, the social location of theology in early America, and the special importance of the Calvinist traditions in the development of American theology. Broad in scope and deep in its insights, this magisterial book acquaints us with the full chorus of voices that contributed to theological conversation in America’s early years.

E. Brooks Holifield is Charles Howard Candler Professor of American Church History, Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He is former president of the American Society for Church History and the author of several books on American religious history including Era of Persuasion: American Thought and Culture, 1521–1680.

“Holifield’s magisterial survey of American theology from the 1630s to the 1860s . . . will remain for at least a generation the definitive chronicle of an essential aspect of American religious and intellectual history.”—Benjamin Schwarz, Atlantic Monthly

“The writing is elegant. The treatment is comprehensive, authoritative, and judicious. And the analysis is fair-minded and impartial.”—Bruce Kuklick, Books and Culture

“Monumental. . . . A brilliant exercise in historical theology . . . [and] a comprehensive survey of the most distinguished kind.”—David Hempton, Times Literary Supplement