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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Although the Bible in many ways continued to reign supreme in American culture through the American Revolution, there were changes at work that rendered its status and meaning much more equivocal by the end of the eighteenth century. New intellectual challenges arose to the authority of scripture, and its reach over the increasingly differentiated spheres of society diminished. Also, biblical interpretation (and the right to engage therein) became deeply contested as colonial religion was transformed by the Enlightenment and the evangelical revivals. Moreover, its entanglement with the discourses of British imperialism and later Whig republicanism had ambiguous effects on the traditional biblicism.

Keywords: American Revolution, anti-Catholicism, Charles Chauncy, apocalypticism, biblical criticism, evangelicalism, Jonathan Edwards, Enlightenment, Cotton Mather, revivalism

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