"Biblical history, enriched by many religious and cultural traditions, flows into and is intertwined with our nation's epic, both for better and for worse. To ignore that history is to cut ourselves off from our roots and to deny the ancestral experiences that forged our individual and collective identity."
—from the prologue
This substantial work explores the interplay of religion and politics throughout the history of the United States. Paul D. Hanson traces American history back to colonial times, paying close attention to the role that biblical tradition has played in shaping the national story of the United States. He then presents a detailed study of politics in the Bible that is framed by the challenges and crises in American history. Students will learn how deeply religion has influenced both domestic and international policy and contributed to the nation's sense of identity and purpose. After laying these biblical-historical foundations, Hanson considers a method of biblical interpretation that can speak to the diverse nation of today. He proposes an inclusive form of public moral discourse that invites full participation by members of all religious and philosophical groups.
"Paul Hanson is a world class biblical scholar who is fully aware of both the use and the misuse of the Bible that have continued for many years. Here he takes a steady and clear look at Scripture itself and at its applications and delivers a wise and balanced assessment in an engaging readable style. I plan to assign this book in my classes and recommend it to specialists and non-specialists alike."
—Harvey Cox, Hollis Research Professor of Divinity, Harvard University
"One of America's pre-eminent biblical theologians provides a powerful and compelling picture of American history through the lens of the Bible and theology. But Hanson does not stop with his rich depiction of American religious history. Drawing on years of study, he delves even more deeply into the Bible to lay out what it has to say about politics in the human community. Those who care about American history will want to read this book. So will all those who believe our political life can—and should—be informed by the stories and teaching of the Bible. For learning how we think and how we should think about these matters, the prologue and epilogue alone are worth the price of the book."
—Patrick D. Miller, Charles T. Haley Professor of Old Testament Theology Emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary