Archives For Awakenings

Marsden PhotoProfessor of History Emeritus at Notre Dame, George Marsden is one of today’s foremost historians and award-winning authors who has written extensively on the relationship between Christianity and American culture—especially American Evangelicalism and Fundamentalism (Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism, Reforming Fundamentalism, Fundamentalism and American Culture, etc).

He is most well known for his award-winning biography of Jonathan Edwards (Jonathan Edwards: A Life), a prominent 18th century American pastor, theologian, and philosopher who played a critical role in the First Great Awakening and Christian revivals in Colonial America.

Marsden has recently written another groundbreaking book reflecting on how American public life might better accommodate the rise of religious pluralism. In The Twilight of the AmericaMarsden Twilight Bookn Enlightenment (Perseus Books, Feb 2014) he seeks to explain why Christianity has become increasingly excluded from the public sphere, resulting in an assortment of religious crises and “culture wars.” Marsden offers an insightful analysis of the decline of culture in America since the 1950’s along with thought-provoking ways to consider applying Protestant principles from the early republic to today. For more, read the Amazon summary below:

In the aftermath of World War II, the United States stood at a precipice. The forces of modernity unleashed by the war had led to astonishing advances in daily life, but technology and mass culture also threatened to erode the country’s traditional moral character. As award-winning historian George M. Marsden explains in The Twilight of the American Enlightenment, postwar Americans looked to the country’s secular, liberal elites for guidance in this precarious time, but these intellectuals proved unable to articulate a coherent common cause by which America could chart its course. Their failure lost them the faith of their constituents, paving the way for a Christian revival that offered America a firm new moral vision—one rooted in the Protestant values of the founders. A groundbreaking reappraisal of the country’s spiritual reawakening, The Twilight of the American Enlightenment shows how America found new purpose at the dawn of the Cold War.