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Lecture: “The Bible and the Civil War: Before, During, and After”

Charles Jackson Memorial Lecture
Wednesday, October 21, 5 pm
Alumni Memorial Building 210

Disputes involving Scripture contributed a great deal to the poisoned sectional controversies that led eventually to the Civil War. Whether the Bible did or did not permit slavery featured prominently in those disputes. Yet during the conflict itself, the Bible was most prominent for the spiritual support its pages offered to both combatants and those at home. After the war, and in many cases because of the war, the place of Scripture in American life changed significantly. The Bible remained an important cultural presence, but it did not loom as large in debates over Reconstruction and the nation’s rapid industrialization as it had appeared in the antebellum era. This lecture summarizes a complex history, but also tries to explain how events in public life affected private use of Scripture, and vice versa.

Mark A. Noll is the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame and one of the foremost interpreters of the history of Christianity in America. He is the author of numerous books, including America’s God, From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln (2002), The Civil War as a Theological Crisis (2006), The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (1994), and most recently In the Beginning Was the Word: The Bible in American Public Life, 1492-1783 (2015). Professor Noll has been awarded the National Humanities Medal and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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