By Daniel L. Dreisbach
Dreisbach exhibits that the Bible used to be the main often referenced e-book within the political discourse of the yankee founders. Drawing on probably the most established rhetoric of the founding period, 'Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers' examines the founders' assorted makes use of of the Bible and the way scripture expert their political culture.
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Extra info for Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers
15 Most people were excluded when the Bible was available only in the original tongues or in Latin. ”16 Access to the Bible in the vernacular threatened the unity of Christendom insofar as it produced new and diverse understandings of the Sacred Text and the faith. The Protestant Reformation’s assertion of “the right of individuals to interpret the Bible for themselves rather than be forced to submit to ‘official’ interpretations handed down by popes or other centralized religious authorities” was, in Alister E.
As Boorstin observed, “Scholarly dispute as to whether early New England law was primarily scriptural or primarily English is beside the point. ”111 The Scriptures contain explicit legal codes. The Decalogue is the most influential of these codes (Exodus 20:3–17; Deuteronomy 5:7–21), and early colonists apparently framed their legal codes with a copy of the Ten Commandments before them. The Puritans, however, were not alone among early colonists in their attraction to these passages. Even before the Pilgrims and Puritans set foot on New England’s rocky coasts, the Virginians wove the laws of Moses into their “Articles, Lawes, and Orders, Divine, Politique, and Martiall for the Colony in Virginea” (1610–1611).
One such defender of the Bible was Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He had a well-earned reputation as a social reformer, including a reputation as a thoughtful advocate of education reform. ”89 He believed no man was ever early instructed in the truths of the Bible “without having been made wiser or better, by the early operation of these prejudices upon his mind. ” he asked rhetorically. “Its morals are pure, its examples captivating and noble. ”95 In addition to cultivating pure and effectual morals in the youth while they are still of a tender age when such morals can be easily implanted and take hold, Ames thought the Bible could be an eminently practical and engaging school book for inculcating a pure and elegant English language, grammar, and rhetoric that would unify, refine, and elevate the community.