A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada

A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada

A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada

A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada


Broad in scope yet written from a well-defined perspective, this book provides a superb narrative survey of Christian churches, institutions, and interactions with culture in the United States and Canada from the colonial period to the present.

One of the foremost authorities on the history of Christianity in North America, Mark Noll has intentionally made this history a comprehensive, balanced one-volume work: the book covers the great variety of Christian experience throughout all of North American history, sensitively encompassing the story of many contrasting groups and regions--elite and common people, whites and blacks, Catholics and Protestants, men and women, North and South. Adding a personal dimension to the narrative, numerous biographical profiles further enrich Noll's multifaceted exploration of major movements and events.


This is a history of christianity in the United States and canada. As a history, it is intended to provide certain basic information about some of the most important themes, events, leaders, and changes in the Christian churches that have populated the upper two-thirds of the North American continent over the last four centuries.

Historical studies, however, are always more than just sources of information. Authors must select what to include and not to include, they must decide how to slant what is written, and they must highlight certain themes at the expense of others. Even textbooks constitute arguments, embody prejudices, and sometimes even preach sermons. These implicit arguments, prejudices, and sermons usually communicate what the author considers to be some kind of current consensus about the subject of the text, but they also express the author’s personal point of view. This book is no different.

Its presentation is self-consciously influenced by important recent currents in the study of American religious history. in particular, the fresh attention being paid to the experiences of women, nonwhites, and “ordinary” people who did not leave extensive written records has left its mark on the pages that follow. It may still not be entirely clear how to integrate such groups fully into the written story of Christianity in America, which until recently has been dominated by leaders of elite groups who did leave extensive published records. But this text is written under the conviction that it is important, nevertheless, to strive toward that goal. in addition, although the book deals extensively with what might be called “high culture” — public ecclesiastical, political, or intellectual aspects of religious history — it also attempts to recover the experiences of common people. It benefits especially from recent studies of the hymns ordinary people sing, what it has meant for them to go to church, and how private individuals have . . .

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